Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Ordering Training is Not Like Ordering Pizza

All too often people request training and have already determined the delivery medium they want. Their decision is usually for various reasons, such as convenience or cost, but not because it is the most effective way to teach the content.

To borrow a phrase from a former boss,  "ordering training is not like ordering pizza." It is crucial to step back and begin with a need analysis, identifying the audience, their training need(s),  the learning objectives, etc. We must also conduct a content analysis. Only then can the best medium(s) of delivery be determined with confidence.  It may be e-learning, classroom training or blended learning.

In regards to using content analysis to make this determination, here is a very helpful article by Seung Youn Chyung and Armi Stephanie Treñas, published in Learning Solutions e-Magazine - Content Design for Performance-Oriented Reusable Blended Learning. You will need to log-in to access it. If you are not a member,  joining as an associate member is free.

The authors provide a practical approach to analyzing instructional content with the purpose of determining the best media to deliver the content. They focus on teaching content in the cognitive domain. Here is a rule of thumb they provide that I agree with "As a rule of thumb, it would be cost-effective to use self-paced e-Learning for delivering declarative knowledge and some of procedural knowledge that can be codified fairly easily. On the other hand, it may prove rather difficult, although not impossible, to facilitate the development of situated knowledge via e-Learning alone."

If you want to get a better handle on determining what is best taught online, in the classroom or blended, this article is a great start. If clients are telling you the delivery medium instead of asking what the best delivery medium will be, follow the article's advice and you will save yourself a lot of time and trouble. And don't forget to tell them "ordering training is not like ordering pizza."


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