Call us today - (703) 920-0893

What’s the best course of action with several hundred people in the country that you need to train? If you were living in the 1980s, the answer would be simple: Fly employees from different locations to a central point and offer face-to-face traditional training. 

By the end of the 20th century, the answer to this question was blended learning. For easy content, companies would deliver a PowerPoint presentation via CD or the Internet. Only more complex material would warrant in-person training methods. 

And now? The answer seems to be a combination of self-study, web-based training, and webinars to reach everyone. 

But, is this the most effective and cost-efficient approach to training? 

While a virtual classroom might save money on travel and printing, that doesn’t necessarily make the solution cost-effective. Just because training providers are delivering the right training content doesn’t mean trainees are learning the material. Sometimes, bringing back in-person training instead of opting for remote learning methods can give more bang for your buck.   

This article examines the five employee training delivery methods and helps you choose the right one for your needs:

5 Training delivery methods for employee training

The training method you choose to teach employees plays a pivotal role in achieving your organization’s goals and meeting your employee’s needs. Here are the five main employee training methods for your organization to consider.

1. Face to Face Learning (F2F)

Face to face learning has traditionally been the go-to training method. It’s your standard classroom set-up, in which an instructor teaches a group of learners through a structured curriculum in a classroom training environment. 

The F2F method is beneficial because it leaves ample room for hands-on interactions and immediate feedback to help employees reach learning objectives. F2F can be especially helpful in core skills training, technical equipment training, and company process training.

While F2F can be highly beneficial for complex subject matter due to the ability to have immediate feedback to questions and practices, this training delivery method is resource-intensive. Factors like venue organization, printouts, and travel can make it costly, with limited flexibility when it comes to scheduling that works for everyone. 

Ask yourself: 

  • Is this content so complicated that the nuances might be lost if real-time, in-person conversations were not available to the learner?  

If so, F2F might be the better solution for your training programs.

2. Self-study distance learning (SSDL)

Self-study distance learning is any training in which learners study on their own, including read-ahead articles, videos, web-based self-study training, or homework assignments.

SSDL is highly flexible and allows learners to develop skills and reach objectives at their own pace. Quality materials are the basis for ensuring this training method is successful. To keep engagement high, you may need to set up clear time frames for training to progress.

While easy to implement, it requires high levels of self-motivation and lacks the in-person support many learners desire.  

Ask yourself: 

  • Does the audience for this course have the needed motivation to complete this without the influence of peers or an instructor?  
  • Is the content sufficiently straightforward that it could be understood without significant interaction?  

If so, SSDL might be a good alternative.

3. Webinar distance learning (WD) 

Webinar distance learning is a remote learning method in which employees learn in real time with other participants and the instructor via video conferencing software. It’s a flexible and scalable way to reach a wide audience remotely. 

If you’re looking for a cost-effective and efficient way to teach employees in different geographical locations, WDL can be particularly advantageous.

However, WD learning isn’t without its own unique set of challenges. It can be especially difficult to maintain engagement using this method, as there’s less personal interaction between your instructor and participants. 

Reading body language also becomes very difficult, especially if learners opt to turn off their cameras. Additionally, research has found that 2 hours is the maximum that people have attention in a virtual, online format. Anything longer loses their attention and even their willingness to join in the first place.

You’ll also need to consider participant time zones for this training method. Having learners all over the globe requires you to find a time that works for everyone—which quickly gets complicated. You might need to offer the same session multiple times to catch learners in different zones. Recording the session and making it available to others is an option, although that removes the interactivity for later viewers.

Technology is another crucial consideration for this method. Do participants have computers, headphones, and a steady internet connection? Do they even know how to use computers? In some parts of the world, this is a very real question!

Ask yourself: 

  • Do the learners have enough technology and technological skills to enable using this method? 
  • Can the content be covered at sufficient depth in no more than 2-hour blocks? 

If the answer is yes, this might be a good alternative to F2F training.  

4. On-the-job training (OJT)

On-the-job training is not a formal training delivery method but it is one of the most common and most effective.. It involves learning by doing—which allows employees to learn in the normal work environment and enables peer-to-peer knowledge sharing at your organization. 

OJT typically lacks traditional learning materials, but strong documentation can take this training delivery method to the next level. Employees learn by doing, but can also revisit and reinforce learning with additional learning resources. For example, Comprehensive Learning Solutions specializes in providing knowledge management solutions, which look to formalize the collective knowledge of peers into manageable documentation. 

OJT is especially beneficial for hands-on situations and immediate skill application. It’s inexpensive and allows employees to efficiently take on new tasks with guidance. OJT happens whenever a more experienced person answers a question from a co-worker on how to do something.  The biggest challenge, however, is harnessing that learning for the future.

Ask yourself:  

  • Is the training we need to provide on the work that happens 80% of the time or on the exceptions that happen 20% of the time?  

If it is the latter, then OJT might be a good option.

5. Mentoring and coaching

Coaching is a tailored, individualized approach that focuses on building awareness and exploring possibilities that lead to change or a desired outcome. It’s an individual activity that consists of a coach who asks probing and reflective questions that enable the individuals to determine an appropriate path for themselves. Topics are based on the individuals’ needs and desires, rather than a predefined set of topics.

Mentoring is another long-term option. In this relationship, a highly experienced professional provides guidance, support, and advice to employees.

Forming coaching and mentoring relationships are beneficial because they are mostly personalized and highly focused. Oftentimes, they lead to a long-term professional relationship between coach and student, facilitating change and desired results over time.

However, these relationships, especially mentorship, offer less structure than traditional options and may not be the best choice if you aim for tangible change over a short time period. Instead, they’re best reserved for support and gradual change for reaching long-term goals. They are often an effective complement to initial formal training.

Ask yourself:  

  • Would coaching or mentoring enhance the learners’ ability to better implement what they learned in the classroom?  

If so, either might be worth considering as part of a post-training support strategy.

How to choose the right training delivery method

With so many training methods available, choosing the most effective option for your organization and employees can be challenging. To streamline the process, begin by assessing your learner’s conditions, content nature, and organizational circumstances with the table below.

We’ve included the three main training delivery methods, as OJT, and mentoring and coaching can support the other three.

Identifying the appropriate training method is only one step in finding corporate skill solutions for you or your employees. Whether you’re looking to build foundational knowledge or hands-on skills that take workplace efficiency to the next level, training, coaching, and mentorship can help make a massive difference. 

If you need help in determining an appropriate training strategy for your organization, contact Comprehensive Learning Solutions today


Employee training delivery methods FAQs 

1. What is the best way to deliver employee training? 

The best type of training depends on your organization’s goals and your employee’s needs. For example, core skills training might be more effective with face-to-face learning, while webinar distance learning might be a more cost-efficient method. 

2. Is it possible to combine multiple training delivery methods?

Absolutely. Hybrid learning or training delivery methods may be necessary for fulfilling more complex learning objectives. For example, a curriculum might start with a short, online self-study program to introduce the topic, then continue with F2F training for the more intensive content, and conclude with coaching sessions to answer learners’ individual questions and provide guidance to implement what they learned in the class.

3. How can I measure the success of different training delivery methods?

One effective way to measure the success of different training delivery methods is to assess them following course completion. The Brinkerhoff method is a great way to do this. It involves analyzing your top performers and your low performers to find out what worked and what didn’t. This enables you to gauge the effectiveness of different training delivery methods in different circumstances.

Karen Feeley
Karen Feeley

Instructional designer

Karen Feeley is a seasoned professional with over 25 years of experience in workplace learning and development. She is a published author, trainer, instructional designer, editor, and project manager with a proven track record of success in the private, public, and non-profit sectors.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *