The nature of the training requirement or the learning goals is one of the key deciding factors for the format of delivery. By learning goals, we are not referring to specific performance objectives, rather a very high-level training requirement. Learning goals can be viewed in the light of typical learner stages of acquiring learning, having an opportunity to practice it, receiving feedback and further inputs to strengthen learning, followed by testing and further support and reinforcement of learning.
To identify the nature of your training requirement, classify your learning goals into the following categories:
- Acquire initial learning
- Acquire advanced learning
- Apply learning in simple situations
- Apply learning in complex situations
- Practice application of learning
- Test learning
- Support and reinforcement learning
If for example, your sales team needs to acquire sales training, you can either make it available through classroom presentations or through self-paced modules. Both can be equally effective, so in this case, your learning goal can be met through both learning delivery methods. In which case, your decision will be based on other additional considerations such as the nature of the content, the type of learners etc. as well. For instance, to take the above example further, for the product features part of the training, you can go in for online tutorials so that your sales team can get acquainted with the features.
Let’s look at a scenario when your learning goal is to assess or test learners. Again, if it’s a simple matter of procedural knowledge or conceptual knowledge, then online assessments are all that you need for this requirement. But if your assessment need is to test on the application of a skill, quite obviously, you’d have to create hands on exercises in a real-life situation. Say in situations where your sales team needs to be able to clinch or close a sale or your shop floor employees need to handle a piece of equipment correctly.
If it is practice of a skill, you can have a workshop or you can have online simulations or games that allow you to practice the skill in a learning environment that simulates the actual one. You could also have interactive eLearning modules that give you plenty of practice. This can be then followed by a hands-on session.