Posted On January 24, 2019

It can be a daunting task to determine which learning delivery method, or combination of methods, is best to equip your employees to succeed. To help, here’s a quick review of the pros and cons of the main techniques available today.


Traditional Classroom

  • PROs: High-quality face to face delivery, consistent learning content can be revised easily, ideal method for both soft and technical skills training, suitable for both small and large groups of learners, highly measurable, engaging, can be highly interactive, high retention of learning
  • CONs: Travel/accommodation costs, time away from the job, possible variances from class to class, degree of success rests on effectiveness of instructor

Virtual Classroom

  • PROs: No travel/accommodation costs, developed quickly, supports multiple sites, portable, consistent learning content, can be interactive, cost effective for large numbers of employees, highly measurable, limited overhead expenses
  • CONs: Requires a device, no face-to-face contact, success can depend on effectiveness of instructor

Videoconferencing, Webinars and Video Online

  • PROs: No travel/accommodation costs, supports large groups, supports multiple sites, rapid development, low development cost, consistent learning content, limited overhead expenses
  • CONs: Equipment costs, logistical challenges, no face-to-face contact, poor interactivity, high levels of learners feeling isolated, success often depends on effectiveness of instructor

On-the-job Coaching

  • PROs: Effective knowledge transfer, face-to-face contact, highly interactive, highly measurable, ideal for both soft and technical skills training, high retention of learning
  • CONs: Variances from coach to coach/session to session, costly instructor-to-trainee ratio, can be disruptive to the coach’s productivity


  • PROs: Effective knowledge transfer, effective learner development, face-to-face contact, highly interactive, ideal for both soft and technical skills training, high retention of learning
  • CONs: Variances in communication styles, potential personality conflicts, possible over-dependence, possible micro-management

ONLINE SELF-DIRECTED (e.g. eLearning, Internet/technology-based, virtual/augmented reality)

young woman working on computer with headphones on
  • PROs: Consistent learning content, convenient access to learning, learner sets their own pace, easy to use, supports complex multimedia, portable, easy to modify, suitable for safety, technical etc training, can include interactive capabilities such as real-time video and recording, no time away from the job, supports multiple sites, reuse does not require trainer participation, cost effective for large numbers of employees, highly measurable and can be linked to LMS
  • CONs: High development cost, long development time, requires a device, bandwidth issues, no face-to-face contact/impersonal aspect, not well-suited to soft skills/team training


Printed material

  • PROs: Consistent learning content, portable, learner sets their own pace, no time away from the job, supports multiple sites, easy to use, reusable and transferable, cost effective for large numbers of employees
  • CONs: Less engaging, high development and modification costs, impersonal aspect, no face-to-face contact


Electronic Performance Support System

  • PROs: Available when needed, directly related to learner’s job, supports multiple sites, highly measurable
  • CONs: Costly to develop, requires device, no face-to-face contact, software often cannot diagnose the actual cognitive problem and arrives at wrong conclusion, requires ongoing dedicated maintenance

Continuous Improvement

  • PROs: Promotes employee participation, promotes creative solutions, highly measurable
  • CONs: Requires learning resources that are constantly available, variances from instructor to instructor

Computer-mediated Asynchronous Collaboration (e.g. Social, SMS, email, online forums etc)

  • PROs: Available at learner’s convenience, promotes creative solutions, promoted learner participation, supports multiple sites, cost effective for large numbers of employees, limited overhead expenses
  • CONs: Requires device, can require software, no face-to-face contact

Any list of potential solutions is only as good as the problems it’s meant to solve, so before we go your answers to questions like these will help you zero in on the delivery method or methods best for you:

  • What are your training goals for each session? Is it all about skills or behaviour?
  • What is your L&D budget?
  • Who are your learners – new or seasoned employees, upper management? How many, and where are they?
  • What are the training conditions – do you have a classroom? How many people will it hold? How many computers do you have access to?
  • When do you need your training delivered?
  • What training (and IT) resources and materials do you have at hand?

Whether the answer you arrive at is stand-alone learning delivery, a blended solution or a true 70:20:10 solution, one component of learning remains unchallenged for its ability to deliver high levels of knowledge transfer, engagement, retention and collaboration – and that’s human interaction.


MCI has designed and delivered all kinds of learning programs to meet the unique needs of every type of organisation. From ready-to-run or customised classroom courses, held either on your premises or ours, to eLearning, virtual classroom and virtual reality, we have the L&D industry’s widest portfolio of learning solutions underpinned by more than three decades of success. And still going strong. 

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