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Selecting Your Training Method: When to Use Live, Webcast or On-Line Delivery

Wendy BaileyEmployment Practices Solutions’ attorney-consultants have provided highly customized training for more than 20 years covering a myriad of topics from sexual harassment to diversity, communication skills to the fundamentals of effective management. During that time, we have continued to stay abreast of technology, followed best practices and standards, and assisted our clients in their efforts to remain compliant and to create respectful workplaces. EPS has offered a number of different training formats throughout the years and during that time, we have learned how best to guide clients in choosing the training format that best fits their needs and objectives. In this article we will share our hard won wisdom and provide guidance on when employers might consider live training with an on-site trainer, a webcast with a live trainer or via a pre-recorded webcast session, or on-line training delivered via the internet.

Live Training
Research shows that live training is almost always the optimal way to convey information to trainees.1 Live training courses offer many advantages; they can be delivered onsite, can be uniquely customized to include company policies or other necessary information that is specific to a particular employer, can contain hypotheticals specific to a particular workplace and can include videos filled with scenarios designed to promote discussion, interaction and mostly importantly – retention of key concepts. In addition, a live trainer can work closely with the client to understand the organizations’ culture, training objectives and the challenges they face that are particular to the clients’ workforce and embed those objectives into the class. 

An on-site trainer can not only engage with trainees directly, but experienced instructors also bring a breadth of real world experience in employee relations issues and legal aspects of the training topic. The ability of the trainer to convey their practical experience to trainees in an interactive way creates an environment that optimizes retention of key concepts. 

Live Training Delivered Via Webcast 
If an employer has employees that are unable to attend a live training session, a webcast version of the live class is an option. A webcast is essentially a presentation, often in a PowerPoint format, distributed over the Internet using technology to “stream” the media. The technology is a single content source, in this case a training session, to be viewed/listened to by many trainees simultaneously. A webcast may either be distributed live or on demand. 

EPS training courses conducted via webcasts offer the same unique customization as the in-person training sessions, but allow attendees to participate in live sessions delivered by our attorney-consultants from their office or home. Webcasts can be useful for make-up sessions for those employees who miss a live session, new hires that need the information from a session that occurred before they were brought on board, employees working in remote locations or in time zones that prohibit attendance at a live session. Sometimes, organizations find that conducting training via webcasts is the best solution to deliver a consistent message during training to employees spread throughout multiple locations. 

Webcasts are not simply passive delivery options for training. Webcast technology allows attendees, who are sitting at their desk or even in a classroom, to have the ability to participate by answering questions during activities or to ask their own questions during the live session. Live webcast training sessions can be recorded and organizations can provide the recorded sessions to employees on demand at times and locations that are convenient to the trainee. 

Online Training/ E-Learning
Online training or E-Learning courses are a third option for employers to consider. These courses are conducted via electronic media, typically over the internet, and do not involve a live trainer. While online training can be effective in certain scenarios, EPS has determined that online courses are best when used in conjunction with live onsite training due to the highly interactive nature of live training and its impact on retention of the material. Organizations do find however that on-line training can be effective in certain situations such as requiring new employees to complete a generic, online training course upon hiring that brings the employee up to speed on basic requirements regarding policies and compliance issues. 

Training, in any format, requires significant investments in dollars, time and energy. Selecting the right training option to maximize retention and understanding of critical concepts can provide a foundation for creating a respectful workplace – a goal from which every organization can benefit.