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How To Select The Right Modality For Your Training: 5 Must-Ask Questions

52% of training providers use 3-6 modalities for their training programs to accommodate different learning styles and topics. 

This statistic indicates that it’s critical to select the right modality, which sometimes means utilizing multiple modalities in a blended approach for your program. 

We’ve generated a list of five questions that organizations should ask themselves when considering which modality to use for their training program.

  1. What are your desired business and performance outcomes? 
  2. What are your learning objectives?
  3. Who is the intended audience and in what context will they learn? 
  4. What is your training budget?
  5. What training content will most effectively instruct your learners?

When planning your organization’s training program, it can be overwhelming to pick between different modalities. You could choose one, two, three, even four! 

How do you know which modality is best for your training program?

We’re here to help you find out!

This article will explore five questions you should ask yourself when selecting a single modality or multiple modalities for your training program.

Learning Modality Options For Your Organization’s Training

There are several different modalities that organizations can choose to utilize for their training program.

  • eLearning — eLearning consists of training content, including interactive modules, videos, podcasts, slideshows, documents, webinars, and more, that are hosted online or through a local network.
  • Augmented Reality (AR) — AR uses interactive digital elements to add to reality and create a real-world environment that can be accessed through a tablet, phone, or headset.
  • Virtual Reality (VR) — VR simulates any real world you can imagine and allows learners to interact with true-to-life scenarios without real-world risk.
  • Instructor-Led Training (ILT) — ILT involves an instructor who leads a training session for individuals or a group of learners through one-to-one sessions, small-groups, lectures, or workshops.
  • Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) — VILT is ILT, except it takes place over a virtual setting like a webinar, online lecture or workshop, and virtual classroom. 
  • Video Learning — Video learning delivers workplace training content through video modules.

Of the above options, organizations can select multiple modalities as part of a blended learning approach. Blended learning brings together traditional and digital learning techniques to create a fully comprehensive program that can fit any learner’s needs. There’s no one-size-fits-all solution for learners, which is why a blended learning program may be the right option.

Read More: What Is Blended Learning? Everything You Need To Know

Five Critical Questions To Ask When Selecting Your Learning Modality

1. What are your desired business and performance outcomes? 

Training should have a defined purpose. Determining your desired business and performance outcomes will help keep your training initiatives in line with your organization’s goals. Desired business and performance outcomes could include:

  • Increased employee retention rates
  • Reduced training costs per employee
  • Increased profitability
  • Less frequent workers’ compensation incident rates

To determine these goals, we recommend conducting a training needs analysis. A training needs analysis identifies root causes of operational issues and sets the foundation for generating solutions. An effective training needs analysis identifies knowledge and performance gaps before they become bigger problems and uncovers approaches to training that you may not have considered before.

Take our work with Aspen Dental Management, Inc. (ADMI) for example. Their desired performance outcome was to have doctors and office staff more confidently consult patients on the dental implants process and provide top-tier client care. Keeping this outcome in mind, ADMI collaborated with Roundtable and decided on a blended approach that utilized ILT, VILT, eLearning, and 360° VR. 

These modalities were selected because they created a cohesive program that allowed for simulated conversations with patients, practice performing the procedure, and informational discussions with experts. A blended approach like this is not only convenient and personal to learners, but increases engagement through interactive learning materials. 

Read More: Is Your Training Program Effective? 3 Critical Steps To Ensure Strong Training ROI

2. What are your learning objectives?

Pinpointing your specific learning objectives will help you understand what new knowledge, skills, or abilities you’d like your employees to obtain. 

Learning objectives should be:

  • Concrete — Learning objectives need to be clear and concise. This ensures learners know what to expect.
  • Relevant — Learning objectives need to be relevant and align with organizational values and long-term objectives. 
  • Verifiable — Learning objectives need to be measurable through metrics. These measurements determine if goals are met and whether the return on investment (ROI) is positive or not. 

Learning objectives give structure to your training program by mapping out a clear path of what the training course will cover and how it will be structured. Objectives guide the instructor when leading the course and learners as they complete the course. 

For example, if you need to ensure organizational leaders can coach employees properly, you may select an AR program that walks learners through a role-playing, soft-skills exercise. Or, perhaps your organization needs to train retail employees on what to do in the case of a robbery. VR may be the best option to create a space for interactive learning that mimics the real-life scenario.

3. Who Is The Intended Audience And In What Context Will They Learn? 

Understanding the context in which your learners are completing the program, the number of learners you will have, and their technological fluency is critical. This will help you decide which modality makes the most sense to use based on scalability and accessibility.  

For example, if you anticipate that the majority of your learners will struggle with operating virtual reality (VR) software or equipment, it may be beneficial to provide how-to guides beforehand. Another example is if your learners need remote access from home, it would make sense to use a modality that can be accessed from anywhere, like eLearning.

Identifying your audience and the context in which they’ll learn can help you cater to your learners’ needs. Your program won’t have a conducive learning environment if you don’t consider your learners’ needs.

Read More: AR vs. VR Training: How to Choose the Best Technology

4. What is your training budget?

Determining how much your organization is comfortable spending on your training program is critical. Each organization develops training programs differently, but regardless of how you create a program, we recommend setting a budget early on. Additionally, designating personnel, like project managers, can be helpful in keeping track of expenses and maintaining a budget. 

Your organization can decide on a realistic budget for your program by considering the following factors:

  • Will we develop content in-house or outsource?
  • What equipment and software will our program require?
  • How much equipment do we need to purchase?

When deciding on which modality or modalities to use for your training, you need to consider costs for developing and updating materials, scalability, reusing training for better ROI, etc. For example, if more costly hardware, like VR, is out of your budget, it can be eliminated as a possible modality early on. 

Read More: How To Create Original VR Content: Everything You Need To Know

5. What training content will most effectively instruct your learners?

Based on your goals, you should identify what type of content needs to be included to teach learners successfully. This step is essential because your learning method needs to be compatible with the learning itself. 

Organizations need to consider the following factors to ensure their learning content is effective.

  • How much time do employees have for training
  • Is the learning content text-heavy?
  • Can concepts be accurately shown in video? 

Perhaps your learners prefer more gamified methods of learning, like eLearning, or maybe they enjoy hands-on activities, like ILT

Your learners’ preferences are critical to consider when selecting the right modality. Creating and distributing a survey that asks your learners about their learning preferences could help your organization make the best decision that aligns with your learners’ needs. 

Read More: Practical Tips to Select a Training Delivery Modality

Does The Shoe Fit?

A learning partner can help you answer the above five questions. By collaborating with a trusted partner, your organization can achieve real performance improvements through a comprehensive custom training program.

At Roundtable Learning, our team of expert developers are here to guide your organization every step of the way. We encourage you to centralize your training program needs by filling out our Quick Start form, or check out more of our resources on all things training and development.

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