The A-Z of Training: L is for Learning Methods

Whatever method or tool you use, it should be remembered that learning is the goal.

I'm sure we can all remember a presentation where the speaker had used as many different effects as possible, embelishing their slides with a dizzying array of animation. At the time I probably spent more time watching the presentation than understanding it.

This is exactly the type of scenario we need to avoid when crafting experiences to deliver positive learning outcomes. It can be tempting to try out the newest technique or delivery method without giving proper thought to its suitability for the learning objectives.

Learning Methods

There are a huge number of potential learning activites which you could use all varying in suitability for a given task. A quick brainstorm here in the office gave us (in no particular order):

Choosing the most appropriate method

With so many methods and techniques it can be difficult to choose the best one for a task. There are clearly times when eLearning is unsuitable for example first aid techniques or building tours but there are times when it can come into its own for example easy access to self-directed material.

Simulation based training can be helpful when the topic has serious potential consequences- astronauts train for years before attempting a mission in space. The effectiveness of a simulation relates to how well it approximates the task, a porr simulation may be no help at all.

To choose the best learning method, you need to consider the merits of each method, and weigh them against the drawbacks. You will probably also have to consider the period for which training will be used and balance it against the budget.

Room for Blended Learning

With such a huge variety learning activities, blending a few of them together can help to keep you and your audience engaged however using too many can lead to additional mental overhead for your learners. In my experience a one hour session should have a minimum of two but no more than three different activities. If you have longer with your students then you may like to use more, but make sure that they are sufficiently spread out to allow the learner the best change to engage with the task.

Which methods are your favorite? What did I miss? Leave your comments below.

author photo

Dr Adam Chester is a cofounder of Prodeceo.

He is excited about empowering Training Managers and Learning and Development professionals with technology that is easy to use.

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