The first training method we will explore is the most traditional format, classroom training. By this, I mean training that is led by an instructor, not done on the computer in a classroom.
Techniques in a classroom setting
I find that face-to-face training can be very effective. You can see a person’s facial features and body language and hear the tone of voice, which are indicators as to how well he or she may be absorbing the information (or how bored he or she might be!).
Techniques you can use to engage your audience include:
- Blackboards/white boards give you the opportunity to write participants’ questions and/or answers on the board for all to see and be the foundation for a small group discussion.
- Video segments can be used so that a training is not all lecture.
- PowerPoint presentations are effective when done well; otherwise, your trainees may experience “death by PowerPoint.”
- Storytelling and/or role modeling can be used to demonstrate the right way and the wrong to do a task.
What are the advantages of Classroom Learning?
Face-to-face learning offers the opportunity to ask questions and get immediate responses. It is personal, allows for individual attention and enables participants to start a discussion so that they can learn from each other.
It can be engaging and interactive when incorporating different techniques as noted above.
In addition, classroom learning:
- Enables employees to focus on what is being taught, having fewer distractions such as the phone or email.
- Ensures everyone gets the same information at the same time or in the same manner.
- Allows for participants to practice the skills being taught.
- Allows for an efficient presentation of a large body of material.
- Can be cost effective when using your own staff as the training instructor.
One thing to note: It does require an effective trainer, someone who can adapt the training to the specific needs of the participants so that participants can retain and apply once finished.
What are the disadvantages of Classroom Learning?
I have to reiterate this point: Success of the training depends on the effectiveness of the instructor. Participants are at the mercy of poor instructors. In addition:
- Scheduling can be difficult when you have a large number to train, multiple locations and different work shifts, especially a nightshift or third shift.
- It requires employees to be off the job, which cuts into work time and production schedules, and can take longer than other modes of training.
- It does not always provide hands-on experience to test out the skills being taught for specific equipment.
- It is not always conducive to schedule make-up classes for employees unable to attend.