Delivery methods consist of the techniques and materials used by trainers to structure learning experiences. Different training delivery methods are better or worse at achieving various learning objectives. During the design phase the different methods are examined to determine their appropriateness for the learning objectives. Once appropriate methods have been identified, they are applied to the training plan in the development phase.
There are three categories of learning objectives: knowledge, skills, and attitudes (KSAs)
Knowledge objectives are of three types: declarative, procedural, and strategic. Declarative knowledge is the person’s store of factual information. Procedural knowledge is the person’s understanding about how and when to apply the facts. Strategic knowledge is used for planning, monitoring, and revising goal-directed activity.
Skill reflects one’s proficiency at specific tasks such as operating a piece of equipment, giving a presentation, or making a business decision. Attitudes are beliefs and/or opinions about objects and events and the positive or negative affect (feelings) associated with them.
Attitudes affect motivation levels, which in turn influence a person’s behavior. Most training programs have learning objectives for knowledge, skill, and attitudes; these programs need to combine several methods into an integrated whole because no single method can do everything well.
The various training delivery methods can be divided into cognitive and behavioral approaches.
Cognitive methods provide information orally or in written form, demonstrate relationships among concepts, or provide the rules for how to do something. They stimulate learning through their impact on cognitive processes and are associated most closely with changes in knowledge and attitudes. The lecture, discussion, e-learning and, to some extent, case studies are cognitive methods. Though these types of methods can influence skill development, it is not their strength.
Behavioral methods allow the trainee to practice behavior in a real or simulated fashion. They stimulate learning through experience and are best at skill development and attitude change. Equipment simulators, business games, role plays, the in-basket technique, behavior modeling and, to some extent, case studies are behavioral methods. Both behavioral and cognitive methods can be used to change attitudes, though they do so through different means. On-the-job training is a combination of many methods and is effective at developing knowledge, skills, and attitudes, but is best at the latter two.