Once you have determined the focus for your firm’s training, deciding on training delivery method is the next critically important step. Selecting the correct training delivery method ensures you can then go on to source the right training content and knowledge (as we discuss in the next section).

When thinking about training delivery methods, you will no doubt encounter the various debates about which method is best. This debate has raged among training professionals for many years as technology continually opens up new methods beyond face to face training.

The simple answer is: there is no ‘best’ training delivery method. Every training delivery method has its uses, and a modern training manager will embrace every possible option. The debate only continues because of vested interests from training providers, or professions which holding onto traditional views. We see the result of this in the ongoing bias held for certain training delivery methods.

In our first article in this series, we examined three initial training delivery methods.

  • Face to face training
  • Large group webinars
  • Small group webinars

Now in our second article, let’s examine online training delivery methods to compare and contrast the complete range of training delivery options.

Training delivery method: Customised eLearning

The next choice for training delivery method is eLearning; online learning delivered via prepared modules. Participants work through modules at their own pace by reading content, watching videos and completing online activities. In this style of training delivery, content is customised and developed internally or externally by a professional eLearning designer to suit exact requirements.

  • Customised eLearning: Strengths
    • Content can be highly relevant and customised to suit the business.
    • Content can be branded to reinforce company values and improve engagement.
    • Content is presented consistently to every participant.
    • Participants explore content at their own pace, and have the option to repeat parts of the training if desired.
    • The experience can be highly engaging when developed by professionals using modern eLearning authoring tools.
    • Content is available for participants at any location and any time assuming there is access to a learning management system to host the content.
    • Content can be self-directed, with self-enrolment or auto-enrolment (again, assuming there is access to a learning management system to host the content).
    • Participants have the flexibility to complete the content at a time that is convenient.
    • Easy to track and report on completion.
  • Customised eLearning: Weaknesses
    • Can be extremely expensive to create. Creation is time-consuming and requires internal staff with specialist skills or the ability to outsource to an external consultancy.
    • Updating the content can be difficult and expensive. While the saved file for eLearning (typically a SCORM package) can be hosted by any learning management system, the actual eLearning file can only be edited by the original software which created it. It must then be resaved and transferred back to the hosting platform.
    • While the experience can be engaging, it can also be disengaging if poorly created. Potentially, the eLearning experience may be passive for the participant, feeling like nothing more than watching a series of slides.
    • Data capture is limited and commonly can only offer completion rates and possibly assessment results. More valuable Kirkpatrick Level 2, Level 3 and Level 4 data is typically not available.
    • Most eLearning does not support any social or peer learning, so group discussion is difficult or impossible.
    • Most eLearning requires a separate learning management system to host and deliver the content.

Training delivery method: SME developed eLearning

This version of eLearning involves the development of content via your own internal subject matter experts. This method is customised to suit your organisation, and differs from customised eLearning as development is done directly by internal experts, rather than a third-party eLearning designer. This is one of the newest methods of training delivery. It includes Tribal Habits, but also similar platforms like Coursera or Udemy.

  • SME developed eLearning: Strengths
    • Content is highly relevant and customised to suit the business.
    • Content can be branded to reinforce company values and improve engagement.
    • Content can be presented consistently to every participant.
    • Participants explore at their own pace, and have the option to repeat the training if desired.
    • The experience can be highly engaging, depending on the tool or platform used.
    • Content is typically created in the platform that distributes the learning, removing the need for a separate learning management system.
    • Content is easy to update and maintain.
    • Content is available in any location at any time.
    • Content can be self-directed, with self-enrolment or auto-enrolment.
    • Participants have flexibility to complete the content at a time that is convenient.
    • Easy to track and report on completion.
    • Costs can be very low. Typically, the most significant cost will be the time spent by internal staff to create the content.
    • Data capture should be better than SCORM based eLearning, but this will depend on the platform.
    • Social and peer learning should be possible, but will depend on the platform.
  • SME developed eLearning: Weaknesses
    • While the experience can be engaging, it can also be disengaging if poorly created.
    • Many of these platforms do not integrate with existing learning management system currently in use.
    • Your internal experts will need to set aside time to create the content. A culture which is supportive of capturing and sharing knowledge is required.

Sitting firmly in this space is Tribal Habits which offers all of the above features and addresses the weaknesses commonly found in SME developed eLearning:

  • Tribal Habits’ learner UI is highly engaging and intuitive
  • Tribal Habits integrates with other learning management systems
  • The creation process for your internal experts is guided and rapid

Tribal Habits offers ready-made topics as well as the ability for internal expert designers to create their own content, making Tribal Habits a solution that meets the needs of organisations looking for both customised eLearning and generic purchased eLearning.

Training delivery method: Generic purchased eLearning

This version of eLearning is the method of ready-made eLearning modules purchased from a third party, your learning management system, or other platforms. Typically, you cannot edit the content supplied or brand it to your business. The content is professional but is usually generic as it must be useful across a range of industries.

  • Generic purchased eLearning: Strengths
    • Content is presented consistently to every participant.
    • Participants explore content at their own pace, and have the option to repeat parts of the training if desired.
    • The experience can be engaging, depending on the tool or platform used to create the learning.
    • Content is available in any location at any time.
    • Content can be self-directed, with self-enrolment or auto-enrolment.
    • Content can be completed at convenient times for the participants.
    • Easy to track and report on completion.
  • Generic purchased eLearning: Weaknesses
    • Content may not be relevant or practical, unless specifically designed for your situation.
    • Content typically cannot be branded to your organisation.
    • Content cannot be updated.
    • A learning management system is usually required to host the content (unless you are using an integrated platform like LinkedIn Learning).
    • The experience can be engaging, but can also be disengaging if poorly created.
    • Many of these platforms will not integrate with existing learning management systems.
    • Can be low cost, but this is dependent on the contract.

Training delivery method: Micro or Just-in-time eLearning

Micro-learning tends to take the form of very short, focused pieces of content, available instantly on a mobile device. As such, it is also just-in-time eLearning – learning which is accessed as it is needed. The delivery is small but frequent, often accessed by participants on the go and can fit in around other tasks.

  • Micro-learning: Strengths
    • Quick and easy to complete, with low barriers to entry.
    • Available anywhere and at any time.
    • Often achieves high engagement as participants access information when they need it, so they have an immediate context to use the content.
    • Can be relatively easy and low cost to create but requires careful design in order to be effective. Cost can add up given the number of micro-learning modules required.
    • Usually has some aspect of social or peer-based learning.
    • Can be self-directed, with content accessed by engaged participants.
  • Micro-learning: Weaknesses
    • Doesn’t suit all topics, particularly those that require a deep dive or need to be learnt in advance.
    • Potentially a superficial method as there is limited time to drive behavioural change. A few tips are picked up, but success relies upon self-motivated participants.
    • Participants can achieve completion even if they are disengaged during the process. Can be many distractions for the participant or they can ‘just get it done while sitting on the train’.
    • Is better used as a reinforcement or reference tool alongside other delivery methods.