Training in the 21st Century

Training Survey Says: Part I—What Methods Work

In September, Training in the 21st Century™ posted an on-line survey on Training to learn more about what kinds of training methods companies are using, which seem to be most effective, and what new methods are planned for implementation. We’d like to thank all those who participated in this study. We hope the information we gathered will provide insights and ideas to each of them, as well as to our other readers.

Many respondents to this study are using a blend of methods for training: 45% use four or more of the training methods listed in the graph below,  and 50% use 2 or 3 methods. Face-to-face training is still the most widely used of all methods, and also the one that was most consistently selected as effective for training:

  • 90% said they are currently using face-to-face training
    • When asked to indicate which of the methods used were most effective, all those using face-to-face training listed it as one of the most effective.

Given the long time humans have been using face-to-face training, it makes sense that trainers today have a wealth of information about best practices that contribute to success.  The same can’t be said for two other training methods that were also seen as particularly effective by those using them—due to their newness, only a small number of our respondents have currently implemented these methods:

  • 3D (Virtual) Training
  • Communities of Practice.

The strongly positive attitude of current users suggests 3D Training and Communities of Practice offer real benefits to learning and development programs, and both seem poised for significant increases in use next year, compared with this year. Both methods, like face-to-face, enable person-to-person interactions, collaboration, knowledge sharing and opportunities to practice/apply. To learn more about 3D training, please watch our video/machinima.

Two more widely used and established methods, Webinars and Self-Paced E-Learning, received only moderate nods for effectiveness: 52% of Webinar users and 40% of Self-Paced E-Learning users saw them as particularly effective. Since they are still relatively new, trainers are grappling with the best ways to use them. Several of the respondents who did select these methods as among their most effective, commented that Webinars and Self-Paced E-Learning play important roles as prerequisites for face-to-face training events or for follow-up and reinforcement of learning afterward.

One respondent summed it up well, “All are effective in different ways, depending on the materials being presented.” Fitting the material to the method is both the art and craft of effective training. We at Training in the 21st Century™ focus on creating blends of learning methods and tools tailored to the specific topic, the needs of the organization, and of its culture to provide optimal outcomes.

In next week’s blog (Training Survey Says: Part II—What Topics Are Most Beneficial) we’ll highlight what respondents saw as the most beneficial types of training their companies provide to employees.

What are your thoughts on the best blends of training methods? Please share your thoughts, insights and questions on the multitude of training methods available today, and the best ways to use them.

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One Comment

  1. Bob JamesOctober 13, 2011 at 11:00 am

    Interesting survey and confirms some of out thinking over the years. We conduct classes in speed reading to professionals including engineers and other technical professionals. Our classes require that the participants begin to break long standing, ineffective reading habits. We have always maintained that to be successful in lerning to be a more efficienct reader that you “need a coach” to break old habits and impart the new skills; e.g., instructor-led , face to face training. That said, we also have introduced a self-paced learning module for our class graduates and are finalizing an online basic class to introduce in January. I guess we are watching the market and hedging our bets.

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