There can be various training needs in an organization and the number of people to be trained. However, the challenges arise when people in an organization are spread across, within a country, or worse still across the globe. The question then is how do we efficiently reach these employees to effectively impart the desired knowledge. The article attempts to answer this question.
There are various training needs in an organization which has to reach a good number of people or employees. This matrix is as shown in Table 1.
|Training Needs||Example||Number of People to be Trained?|
Communication, Interpersonal skills, etc.
Varies between 50% to 80% of total employees
Advanced Behavioral Training
Project Management, Team Management, etc.
Varies between 10% to 40% of total employees
SAP, Java, etc.
Varies between 10% to 70% of total employees
What needs to be done?, Who needs to do it?, etc.
Almost all the employees in the company
Installation, Network, Routers, etc.
Varies between 2% to 80% of total employees
Training for Physical Security
Fire Safety, Mock drill, etc.
All the employees in the company
Training for Internet Security
Anti-Virus installation, What to download? Which sites are prohibited, etc.
All the employees using computer or laptop in the company.
Disposing wastes, Pollutiion, etc.
Varies between 10% to 80% of the total employees
How to use Microsoft Outlook? How to use SAP Vendor Portal?, etc.
Varies between 30 - 80% of total employees
So, having understood the needs of the people we need to identify the ways of reaching them. There are two main types of medium which are used for training and they are:
- Web Based Training (WBT) or Online Training
- Classroom Based Training (CBT) or Instructor Based Training (IBT)
- Train the Trainer (TT)
- Direct Training (DT)
1. Web Based Training Module (WBT) or Online Training
Web Based Training (WBT) is a mode of training whose foundation hinges on the availability of computers and internet, across an organization. In today’s highly connected world, the WBTs are emerging as a faster and effective way of reaching the employees. The WBTs are effective even in an environment where the employees to be trained are spread, across the globe. It additionally provides a solid base to track and evaluate the quality of training.
Where can the WBTs be used?
WBTs can be used for all the training needs mentioned in Table 1
What are the advantages of WBTs?
- Easy to install and get started
- Investments go down with recurring training needs
- Any number of employees can log-in at the same time to go through the WBT (limited only by the internet or network speed)
- Possible to speed up the training cycle
- Exceptional reach as compared to any other training module
- Training material remain standardized, until changed by an authorized personnel
- Training effectiveness can be tracked and computed
- Employees’ grades from the training can be linked to their Performance Appraisal System
What are the challenges of using WBTs?
- High Initial Investment
- No personal touch - especially in behavioral training where some aspects need to be demonstrated or explained with a human touch
- May not be effective in an environment where internet access or internet speed is poor
- Difficult to stay focused on the training, if the WBTs are too long or are not interesting enough
- Not all queries from trainees can be addressed on the spot
2. Classroom Based Training (CBT) or Instructor Based Training (IBT)
Classroom or Instructor Based Training is the traditional way of conducting training. It is the oldest way of imparting knowledge, starting from the vedic time when a guru used to teach his pupils. The intention is to have a first-hand flow of information from the instructor to the people being trained. The obvious assumption being that the instructor is an expert on the topic, on which the training is conducted.
One major challenge was the reach of this kind of training and also the speed of training. The maximum number of pupils or employees who can be allowed in a training class is only 30-40. Too much increase in the number would decrease the effectiveness of the training. To counter this, there was an additional mode introduced which was known as the “Train the Trainer”.
a. Train the Trainer (TT)
Train the Trainer mode is still a CBT but with a difference. Here, the expert trainer trains a group of people, who in turn go out and train the employees. Basically, it helps to increase the reach and speed of training dissemination. The groups of people being trained by the expert are also assumed to be good trainers and hence are chosen for the job.
b. Direct Training (DT)
Direct Training is the one where the expert trains the pupil directly. Here the assumption is that the number of people to be trained is less, as also the speed at which the training needs to happen.
Where can the CBTs be used?
CBTs can be used for all the training needs mentioned in Table 1
What are the challenges of CBTs?
- The investments tends to grow over a period of time, especially with recurring training needs
- The training effectiveness is solely dependent on the expertise of the trainer
- Standardization of content is possible but standardization of training style is not entirely possible
- Train the trainer mode carries with it the possibility of decline in the quality of training
- Even with the same trainer, the effectiveness may vary from one class to another
- Even with the Train the trainer mode, the speed of training dissemination cannot match the WBTs
- There are neither any clear ways of identifying the training effectiveness of the trainees nor can it be linked directly to their performance appraisal
What are the advantages of CBTs?
- Investments are low as compared to WBTs
- It has the personal human touch in training
- All queries from the trainees can be addressed by the Trainer
- It is an appropriate mode of training in environments lacking electricity or internet services. For example - Courier services employ people from the remotest part to deliver couriers around their residence. In such cases, any process training needs to be conducted by a trainer in person only.
- Training and Learning can be interactive and mutual. The trainer also is learning while he is training.
Training being an integral part for the success of any organization, it becomes imperative to choose the best mode suitable for the organization. There can also be an environment where an organization chooses both the WBTs and CBTs, depending on the technical (low human touch) and behavioral (high human touch) aspects of training, respectively. This ensures that the organization takes advantage of both the modes, while eliminating the challenges.