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CBT Delivery Media

by Ron Kurtus (revised 17 July 2000)

Every type of training must be presented or delivered to the students or audience. Classroom training or education is usually delivered to the students by a live teacher and through the use of text books. Computer-Based Training (CBT) may be delivered on CD-ROM, floppy disks or other media. There are special considerations for each media.

Questions you may have include:

This lesson will answer those questions.

Delivery on CD-ROM

Since a large number of companies and users have computers with CD-ROM players, most CBT titles are now delivered on a CD-ROM. This allows the use of large amount of data, as well as audio and video effects to be included in the CBT.

A problem with using a CD-ROM with video is the slow throughput, resulting in jerky video pictures. One solution is to require the user to load the files to his or her hard drive. New, faster CD-ROM drives and enhanced video software is improving the video performance from a CD-ROM.

CD-ROM considerations

Factors to consider with delivering a CBT on a CD-ROM are:

Delivery on DVD

The new DVD medium has even greater advantages, since the disks hold seven times as much material as a CD-ROM. Since a DVD disk can hold a 2 hour video, its potential as a delivery medium for CBT is great. At the moment DVD players are not that common and DVD recorders are even less common. In a few years DVD will overtake the CD-ROM.

Delivery on floppy disks

CBT material is still being delivered on floppy disks, but there are considerations you must make both for and against using such a delivery medium.

Single floppy

It is possible to delivery a CBT on a single floppy disk, provided the material is not too complex, does not include many graphics and has no sound or video. This is very convenient, and the CBT can be run directly off the floppy. Some developers are still using DOS-based programs such as GRASP to make CBT titles that will fit on one floppy. Macromedia Authorware can be saved as an executable file (EXE) that can fit on one disk for a simple CBT.

Multiple floppies

Putting the CBT on multiple floppies that must be loaded onto the hard drive is no longer an acceptable route to take. Asymetrix Toolbook requires at least 3 floppies for their simplest CBT titles. With the prevalence of CD-ROM players, multiple floppies should only be used in an emergency.

LAN delivery

In some companies, the training material is saved on a central server and is distributed over the local area network (LAN). Speed and response time becomes an issue in such a situation.

Including books

Some CBT developers include a work book, a text book, or an exercise manual along with the CBT floppies or CD-ROM. This is not seen very often, but it can be an effective way to re-enforce the training. The user can gain understanding by reading material, as well as by doing written exercises.

Sometimes people become passive when dealing with visual information. Reading and solving written problems can get them more involved in the learning process.


The usual method to delivery a CBT is on a CD-ROM. DVD may be the medium of choice in a few years. Some are still using floppies, since they are convenient. Using extra material such as manuals and books is an option that is not used as much as it could be.

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