Delivery Media for Educational Material
by Ron Kurtus (revised 26 February 2001)
How do you deliver the content of your education or training material?
In order to educate students or to train workers, managers and customers, you must determine the best delivery medium to use that will provide the required information or achieve the desired knowledge and skills.
If this gets you curious, questions you may have include:
- What are the different delivery media?
- When are each of these used?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of each?
This lesson will answer those questions.
Training, instruction, or educational courses can be provided to learners through a variety of media:
- Personal instruction
- Classroom instruction
- On-the-job (OJT) training
- Written instruction
- Text books
- Teaching via computers
- Computer-Based Training
- Web-Based Training
- Teaching via audio tapes or video tapes
- Distance learning
- Or a combination of the above.
Uses of media
The following explains how each of the various delivery media is used, as well as discusses their pros and cons.
Personal instruction is the most common method to deliver instructional material, using a teacher, trainer, or facilitator. Although sometimes this is done through a straight lecture, it is usually performed with the assistance of several other instructional media.
Teachers or trainers may deliver their instructional material in a school environment through classes and one-on-one tutoring or in a company environment through in-house training classes, on-the-job training or off-site seminars.
Different types of written material that can be used for education or training include:
- Text books
- Instructional manuals
- User guides
- Policy manuals
Using written material, in conjunction with classroom instruction, has been the basis for learning in school for eons. Attempting to learn by simply reading manuals or guides by yourself is possible, although it takes much discipline.
Often several guides must be used in tandem in order to gain understanding. An example of this is when people buy "How to Use..." software books to supplement the guides they received when they purchased the software application.
Delivery through computer
Education and training that uses the computer includes:
- Online documentation
- Computer-based training
- Web-based training
- Intranet training
- Online help
(See Computer Delivery of Education or Training for more information.)
Distance learning usually implies some sort of teleconferencing method, where the teacher can be seen by the students, via television, and the teacher and students can verbally interact. A drawback is that the teacher can not tell if the students are getting bored or falling asleep during the class. Also, the technology if very expensive.
Audio and video tapes are popular media for teaching in special cases.
Using audio tapes to learn a subject matter has the advantage of easy access. Many will listen to the tape while doing something else or while driving their car. The down-side is that information is only auditory, this they cannot see examples and illustrations. Also, since the user is often doing something else while listening, the subject matter cannot be too intense or complicated.
Since most people have access to a video recorder, they can easily use a video tape as a learning medium. One advantage is that it is just like watching a television show. A major disadvantage is that video tapes are very expensive to produce.
Video tapes can be used both at home and in a training session at work. This is a big advantage over the audio tape, which is seldom used for in-house training.
Combination of the above
Often several of these training and educational forms are used together to increase effectiveness.
Selection of the proper medium for delivering training is important in order to be effective in the given situation. If possible, a combination of the various delivery media should be used to have the greatest effect.
People learn the best through using a combination of their senses
Resources and references
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