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One size fits all
WHEN SELECTING training methods to meet a particular training need, our first consideration will be the likely effectiveness of the solution in providing the required knowledge, skills and attitudes. We may also be concerned about the likely cost of the solution and the feasibility of getting the training done in the time we have available, but the one criterion we cannot compromise on is effectiveness.

A number of factors come to mind when comparing methods for their effectiveness in particular situations:

  • the nature of the learning required: are we primarily looking to develop knowledge, skills or attitudes?
  • the preferred learning styles of the target audience
  • the facilities and the media required to deliver the training content and provide opportunities for practice

With each of these criteria, the tendency is to look for the single solution that best fits the bill. Ideally we will be able to find a solution that performs well against all three criteria - and that's the one we go for. Let's take an example. We're looking for the best way to provide training for telephone operators in a call centre:

  • we need to develop interpersonal skills on the telephone along with product knowledge
  • the audience prefers to learn by doing (using the Honey and Mumford model, they are 'activists')
  • we need a solution that can provide audio as a medium and allow us to role play telephone calls

Looking at this situation, we're quite likely to pick a classroom-based approach, perhaps even a multimedia-based method, if it can adequately simulate the calls from customers. But we're likely to go for a single approach, one method to meet the whole requirement. That's where we may be missing a trick.

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