Assessing the pros and cons of various educational methods

December 18, 2018 By    

Editor’s note: This is a continuation of Randy Warner’s November column.


Each educational method has its own unique benefits and shortcomings.

To ensure employees absorb their safety training, it is important to know the pros and cons of each method in order to make the right choice for your teaching situation and to troubleshoot potential problems that may arise.

Pros of instructor-led classroom training: This educational method can efficiently allow a large body of material to be presented and is a personal, face-to-face setting, ensuring everyone gets the same information at the same time. It is also cost-effective, especially when using in-house trainers.

Cons of instructor-led classroom training: Sometimes it is not interactive, and the success of the training depends on the effectiveness of the trainer. Additionally, scheduling for large numbers of employees can be difficult, especially if they are at multiple locations and have to travel to attend. This can increase the cost to provide training.

Pros of e-learning: These programs are effective for training across multiple locations and reduce or eliminate travel expenses. They can be useful for refresher training, self-directed learning, and developing and practicing new skills. They are self-directed and are easy to update with new company policies or procedures, federal regulations and compliance issues.

E-learning also offers trainers a growing array of choices for matching training programs to employee knowledge and skill levels and can be cost-effective because the same equipment and program can be used by large numbers of employees. They also provide flexibility for employees to learn at their own pace and at a time that’s convenient for them. No matter which shift an employee works, training is always available.

Some newer e-learning programs are interactive, requiring employees to answer questions, make choices and experience the consequences. This interaction generally results in greater comprehension and retention. Education is uniform, measurable, easy to track and provides feedback on employee comprehension that can help to improve the training programs.

Cons of e-learning: This educational method requires employees to be familiar with a computer. Also, some employees may not like the impersonal nature of this training, may be intimidated by the technology or may not ask follow-up questions.

Lack of equipment or insufficient access to high-speed internet connectivity may restrict or preclude the training.

These programs are not effective at teaching “soft skills,” such as customer service, sales or sensitivity training, and they may not be the best choice for new or one-time training. Trainers need live interaction to ensure new skills or concepts are being communicated. Poorly designed programs can be “boring” and result in employees having a poor retention rate of the material as well as a low finish rate.

Pros of blended learning: Blended learning saves time and money since this training process is an efficient use of resources to help employees develop sufficient levels of knowledge retention. Blended learning offers employees a well-planned session that is custom-designed for them, the subject and the learning environment.

Once you’ve identified your educational needs, you should answer these questions about each situation:

What are the educational conditions?

Do you have a classroom?

How many people will it hold?

How many computers do you have
access to?

What resources are available?

Who is your target audience?

What are its demographics?

How many employees need this
training?

How quickly do you need to accomplish this training?

Your answers will point you to the optimal delivery method. It is important to remember that part of the overall educational process is to ensure the employees can perform the task you have trained them on efficiently and safely. This should not be overlooked during the educational program.

*Featured Photo:  Propane Education & Research Council

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About the Author:

Clara Richter is the managing editor at LP Gas magazine. Contact her at crichter@northcoastmedia.net or 216-363-7920.

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