Factors to Consider
While general guidelines are important, no one training method works in every situation. In selecting the most effective way to train workers on a particular topic, consider not only the characteristics of the workforce, but also factors relating to the subject matter of the training. Some workers might be better than others at absorbing training that is largely self-directed. On the other hand, some topics might be harder for workers to grasp, and therefore require a more intensive training method. External factors might also play a role: For example, training on a topic that is in high demand might raise training costs, but this type of training might also take a higher priority over other topics. Several areas to consider include the following:
1. How much will training cost?
In addition to cost of training delivery (e.g., space rental, instructor fees, etc.), be sure to consider the following:
- How much employees are being paid while they are attending training.
- Cost to your organization of work that is not getting done while training takes place.
- Additional costs such as travel, food and drink, equipment, materials, room rental, etc.
A number of training providers offer a sample budget to help you accurately gauge training costs. For instance, see the NAMI Crisis Intervention Team toolkit’s sample budget
. Online HR Training provides an Interactive Training Calculator
where you can plug in "what ifs" for your training ideas and discover "hidden costs" of live training versus online training. Also, many hotels offer interactive budget calculators
on their Web sites that help you calculate costs for an off-site training event.
2. How important or urgent is the training need?
Sometimes, you might need to get your employees trained quickly and effectively. Often, a training need is dictated by changes in policy. In recent years, training in Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act
(HIPAA) compliance and electronic medical records
(EMR) implementation has been in high demand.
3. What type of skills do employees need to learn? How complex is the subject matter? How much material needs to be covered?
A simple presentation might be fine for fairly basic concepts or topics that require a general understanding rather than practical skills. However, adults generally do not learn well when simply presented with information, and therefore a complex topic or one that requires the participant to develop specific skills or behaviors will benefit from interactive or self-directed training. An article by experts at two Oklahoma universities offers Twelve Tips for Teaching Business Professionals
4. Are experts on the topic easily accessible?
For an established concept, trainers might be easy to find. However, for new or emerging practices, finding an in-person trainer might be more difficult, and alternatives such as distance learning may be more appealing.
5. How many people need to be trained, and where are they located?
If staff members who need to be trained are dispersed geographically or have complicated schedules (e.g., day, night, weekend shifts), then e-learning might be a way to address concerns both about training costs
and logistics of bringing staff together for training.
6. Are CEUs needed and does training need to meet certification requirements?
Many professionals require various forms of continuing education units (CEUs) in order to maintain certification. Training can be a more efficient use of resources if participants can receive CEUs for participating. Often, credentialing bodies maintain lists of providers approved to offer such training. For example, see the National Association of Alcoholism and Drug Abuse Counselors Approved Education Provider Program
and the National Board for Certified Counselors
. Also, many reputable organizations offer e-learning opportunities that have been certified by third parties and offer CEUs.
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