Training methods

Before considering specific training techniques, ask yourself these questions:
• What are your training goals for this session?
  • New skills
  • New techniques for old skills
  • Better workplace behavior
  • A safer workplace
  • A fair and equal workplace free of discrimination and harassment
• Who is being trained?
  • New employees
  • Seasoned employees
  • Upper management
• What is your training budget?
• How much time has been allocated for training within your organization?
• What training resources and materials do you have at your disposal?

Your answers to these questions begin the narrowing process for your training choices.
Now let’s examine those training methods, their pros and cons, and where they best fit in a training program.
The Choices
Even with the many technological advances in the training industry, traditional formats remain viable and effective.
Classroom or Instructor-Led Training
Instructor-led training remains one of the most popular training techniques for trainers.
There are many types including:
• Blackboard or whiteboard. This may be the most “old-fashioned” method, but it can still be effective, especially if you invite trainees to write on the board or ask for feedback that you write on the board.
• Overhead projector. This method is increasingly being replaced with PowerPoint presentations, which are less manually demanding, but overheads do allow you to write on them and customize presentations easily on the spot.
• Video portion. Lectures can be broken up with video portions that explain sections of the training topic or that present case studies for discussion. • PowerPoint® presentation. Presentation software is used to create customized group training sessions that are led by an instructor. Training materials are provided on CDROM and displayed on a large screen for any number of trainees. Employees can also use the programs individually, which allows for easy make-up sessions for employees who miss the group session. This method is one of the most popular lecture methods and can be combined with handouts and other interactive methods. [See page 37 for PowerPoint presentation tips.]
• Storytelling. Stories can be used as examples of right and wrong ways to perform skills with the outcome of each way described. This method is most effective with debriefing questions, such as:

o How does this story relate to training?
o How did the main character’s choices make you feel?
o What assumptions did you make throughout the story? Were they correct?
o What would you have done differently?
This technique makes communication easier since it is nonthreatening with no one right answer. It is cost effective, especially if trainers have their own stories to tell. Stories can also make sessions more personal if they involve people trainees know. You can also find many training stories online.
• Instructor-led classroom training is an efficient method for presenting a large body of material to large or small groups of employees.
• It is a personal, face-to-face type of training as opposed to computer-based training and other methods we will discuss later.
• It ensures that everyone gets the same information at the same time.
• t is cost-effective, especially when not outsourced to guest speakers.
• Storytelling grabs people’s attention.