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What should be considered when choosing instructional methods and strategies (Part I)?

When designing and planning training, trainers and designers need to consider a number of factors when deciding on what training and learning activities should be included. Here's a rundown of factors to think about:

Objectives to Methods Compatability

Instructional methods vary in their effectiveness depending on what is to be learned, or the objectives of the training. For example, psychomotor skills (e.g. typing) cannot be properly learned through a method that allows for no hands on practice, such as lecture. However, if the objectives are more knowledge based, lecture can be effective if it's done properly. Different methods have different capabilities.

Expectations of Learners

Learners enter training seminars with expectations of what they want in terms of activities. If you violate these expectations, problems can result. For example, (and this can vary) senior executives tend to expect they will spend very little time in training or learning in touchy-feely type exercises. They tend to want what they want to learn provided to them quickly, and without entertrainment. Games, icebreakers, etc, often alienate them. Knowing the expectations of the target group is important.

Expectations of Organization

Organizations (and clients) can also have expectations about how training will be conducted. For example, if you are hired (or answerable) to people who believe all training needs to involve group work, then providing something different, at least without discussing it with them, can cause dissatisfaction.

Your Own (Trainer) Comfort Levels

Trainers tend to have different comfort levels with different training techniques. Using a technique when the trainer is uncomfortable with it can be problematic, because the learners will tend to sniff out that discomfort. Or, the trainer will simply not execute the training activity effectively.

Go to part II of choosing instructional methods.

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