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7 Effective Training Delivery Methods and When to Use Them

Training delivery methods

We’ll guide you through common training delivery methods and their use cases so you can choose the one that meets your organization’s workplace training goals the best.

Over the past 20 years, technology has transformed the workplace, making us more mobile and digitalized than ever before. But with more ways to deliver training to learners, finding out which method will work best can be challenging.

Can a video course beat on-the-job coaching? Is it OK to replace an instructor with a computer? Are live workshops really effective? These are all good questions. But first, you’ll have to decide on one important thing — the type of training you’re going to have.

Keep reading to discover six popular training delivery methods, the pros and cons of each, and how to choose the right approach for your organization. Plus, we’ve added real-life use cases to inspire you.

First up: What is training delivery?

What Is a Training Delivery Method?

Training delivery methods are the different ways you deliver knowledge to learners. Also known as learning modalities, they can significantly impact the effectiveness of training and the overall learning experience. 

The right delivery method will depend on several factors, including your training objectives, budget, organizational structure, and learners’ needs.

Regardless of which method of delivering training you choose, all training programs fall into one of three categories:

  • Synchronous learning: Training happens in real time through workshops, live webinars, on-the-job coaching, or classroom sessions.
  • Asynchronous learning: Learners work through self-paced training materials, such as online courses, training videos, podcasts, email courses, or articles. 
  • Blended learning (aka hybrid learning): A combination of synchronous and asynchronous learning activities that can include self-paced eLearning courses, live sessions, and on-the-job training.

Next, we break down the best training delivery methods for employees.

Common Training Delivery Methods

The proper training delivery method can make all the difference, engaging employees and adapting to their goals, needs, and schedules. As a result, choosing the best approach for your programs is a big undertaking.

Here are some of the most common types of training delivery methods, the pros and cons of each, and an example use case.

1. Live classroom training

According to the 2019 Training Industry Report, instructor-led training remains one of the most popular training delivery modes, accounting for around 30% of all corporate training.

Whether delivered in person or via virtual classrooms, live training gives employees a chance to interact with their instructors and peers in real time. In the process, they benefit from social learning and can get immediate feedback during the session.

Live classroom training

The rise of fully remote working environments and online training may have reduced the popularity of traditional classroom training, but the advantages outweigh the disadvantages.

Let’s look at the pros and cons of this training delivery method:


  • Instructors can convey practical experience and broadcast corporate culture.
  • Learners build stronger relationships and improve communication skills.
  • Instructors can tailor training to the individual needs of the group.
  • Learners receive immediate feedback.


  • Lacks scalability.
  • It’s challenging to meet the needs of the most and least advanced learners at the same time.
  • This approach is expensive compared to other training methods, especially if it occurs off-site.
  • It requires careful planning and scheduling to ensure that all learners can attend.

Real-world example:

Live classroom training is an excellent choice for supporting employees as they learn technical skills.

Take the Amazon Technical Academy, for instance.

As part of Amazon’s $1.2 billion Upskilling 2025 program, the company is helping employees upskill to fill in-demand job roles. The Amazon Technical Academy is a virtual instructor-led training (VILT) initiative that provides employees with the technical skills they need to begin a career in software engineering.

The virtual classroom learning program encourages trainees to work on projects with an emphasis on learning and applying real-world skills.

2. Webinars

Webinars are like classroom training’s little brother. It involves the same lectures, presentations, or workshops, but delivered online.

They don’t require the physical presence of all participants in one location, so they’re a convenient and cost-effective way to reach all employees of a large company.

Typical interface of a webinar

You can record a webinar once and then re-use it as part of an eLearning course.

At a webinar, speakers can appear via a webcam, demonstrate slides, or share their screens. Learners, on the other hand, have limited capabilities for interaction: they can often only use the chat section to send their questions and comments, and it’s up to the speaker to manage them.

Webinars ​​are one of the best workshop delivery methods for organizations with dispersed workforces or large numbers of employees.

Let’s explore the advantages and disadvantages of webinars as a training delivery option.


  • Scalable method for training large groups
  • Valuable delivery mode for remote employee training
  • An effective way to demonstrate product training
  • A flexible training option for employees


  • It’s challenging to keep learner engagement high
  • Learners face many distractions during the experience
  • Limited opportunities for learner interaction compared to other training methods
  • Difficult to assess the success of knowledge transfer

Real-world example:

Webinars can be an excellent way to build community in your company, as well as to promote learning.

For example, the event software company Bizzabo uses webinars to host “Lunch and Learns” as part of its employee training initiatives. These are lunchtime webinar sessions aimed at sharing knowledge, building new skills, and spotlighting your company’s thought leaders.

Bizzabo also offers attendees a gift card so they can order their own lunch to eat during the event. That way, employees can ensure the food meets their dietary requirements, and they feel 100% comfortable.

3. eLearning courses

An eLearning course can be anything from a PowerPoint presentation to a role-play simulation with complex interactions for web-based training.

The beauty of online courses is that you can incorporate a number of training content formats to engage learners. These can include games, videos, role-plays, interactive quizzes, infographics, and voice-overs.

Role-play simulation created with iSpring Suite

eLearning also combines well with other delivery techniques, like a flipped classroom model (online learning, offline application).

Learners can move through the training content at their own speed, controlling how, when, and where they train.

The latest trends also offer mobile learning, which includes all of the activities mentioned above, but is adapted for smartphones and tablets.

One of the biggest advantages is that your organization can create tailored employee training courses in-house with an easy-to-use authoring tool such as iSpring Suite.

iSpring Suite authoring tool

eLearning content examples

As a result, you can offer bespoke training courses that are always up-to-date and relevant.

Working in a familiar PowerPoint interface, you can build interactive training activities, role-plays, quizzes, and video lectures, even with no design experience. It’s a cost-efficient, robust solution for course creators with different needs and levels of expertise.

Here’s an example of a course made using iSpring Suite.

iSpring Suite demo course

eLearning courses are most commonly delivered via a learning management system (LMS). This centralized platform allows you to create, manage, deliver, and measure staff training across your organization.

For instance, with the iSpring Learn LMS, you can deploy online learning courses across your company, segmenting employees based on their roles or experience levels. You can also use it to track live classroom sessions and host webinar training.

iSpring Learn LMS

Robust analytics and reporting capabilities make it easy to closely track employees’ progress and skill gaps in your organization. This is especially important for compliance training and onboarding, where specific processes are a must.

You can upload any eLearning content to iSpring Learn, from product training videos to software training courses to job aid PDFs. 

Then, choose your settings, assign learners, and launch your course in just a few minutes. Or, if you prefer, there’s an option to allow employees to enroll themselves in the eLearning courses of their choice.

Gamification in iSpring Learn

Gamification features, like badges and leaderboards, enable you to create an overall fun and collaborative training experience in your learning management system.

Get a free iSpring Learn trial today →

eLearning is one of the most popular training delivery techniques, so let’s weigh up its pros and cons.


  • Scalable delivery mode for organizations with large or dispersed workforces.
  • Reduces traditional training costs related to travel, accommodation, and instructor fees.
  • Online learning has 25-60% higher knowledge retention rates than traditional classroom training.
  • Offers learners a flexible, self-paced training experience.


  • Not ideal for team building and motivating social interaction.
  • Requires an initial investment in essential eLearning software and tools, such as an LMS.
  • Less interaction with instructors, which may not be ideal for complex training topics.
  • There are fewer options for hands-on learning and the practical application of knowledge.

Real-world example:

Online courses are ideal for compliance training because the LMS reporting functionality gives your organization a clear idea of the training’s effectiveness.

This is the case with Forever Direct (FD), the regional distribution center of Forever Living Products, a multi-level marketing company operating in the health, wellness, and beauty product industries.

FD uses online courses to train 350 employees and external suppliers entering its facility on health and safety best practices. 

Using iSpring Suite, FD creates safety training courses in-house, reducing warehouse accidents by 50%.

Compliance eLearning courses created with iSpring Suite

A screenshot from one of the compliance courses created with iSpring Suite

4. Blended learning

We touched on blended learning briefly at the start of this article, but we’re now going to dissect the pros and cons of this delivery approach.

Blended learning combines self-paced (asynchronous) training activities with live (synchronous) sessions to create a complete education program.

Blended learning

Since blended programs give learners access to two training environments, many organizations consider it to be the best training delivery method out there.

For example, employees could complete on-demand eLearning courses to learn the theory and then attend live workshops, virtual instructor-led training (VILT), or on-the-job coaching to put the theory into practice.

This “best of both worlds” approach has made blended learning a popular staff training method. Employees benefit from a social learning experience and immediate feedback but still have the flexibility to move through training materials at their own pace.

Although these benefits are substantial, blended learning can be difficult to implement. Compared to other learning modalities on this list, it takes extensive planning and organization to make sure everything runs smoothly.

Here’s a closer look at the advantages and disadvantages.


  • Learners have access to instructor support.
  • Instructors can provide a personalized learning experience for each group.
  • Enables extensive collaboration.
  • Learners have access to different modalities (multimedia, in-person lessons, etc.), boosting engagement.


  • Challenging to coordinate and manage – requires more hands on deck.
  • Lacks the full flexibility of asynchronous training styles.
  • Less face-to-face interaction than 100% instructor-led training.
  • Requires more work and organization for instructors, with more ‘moving parts.’

Real-world example:

Bank of America’s leadership development program is an excellent example of the power of blended learning.

Its Women’s Executive Development Program is designed to develop and retain top female talent in the organization. It achieves this with a program comprising virtual sessions, leadership coaching, networking, and self-paced training courses. 

That way, staff have access to different training delivery methods, including virtual classroom learning, classroom-based training, and training videos.

Some managerial programs also include virtual communities and capstone events.

This is just one of many blended programs in Bank of America’s award-winning Academy. It offers staff members access to different structured development programs so they can upskill and further their careers.

5. On-the-job training

Training doesn’t always have to be in the form of a course. On-the-job training (or job shadowing) is a good example of learning by doing. 

With this method, there’s usually no formal instructor, since experienced employees are assigned to take newbies under their wing. It’s sometimes called the master-apprentice model.

Newly hired employees learn how to do something by being guided through progressively more challenging tasks until they’re ready to work on their own.

On-the-job training

On-the-job training is perfect for mastering practical skills in a real-world environment.

Not only is it a cost-effective way to teach employees new skills, but it can also improve collaboration and build a strong culture of learning.

The downside is the lack of consistency. The success of this approach hinges on how well the employee who is showing the ‘apprentice’ the ropes performs. And if they’ve picked up bad habits, they’re likely to pass those on to new staff.


  • It’s an effective way to onboard new hires and make them part of the team.
  • Staff learn practical skills by doing.
  • Encourages collaboration and peer-to-peer learning.
  • It’s cost-efficient compared to other delivery methods.


  • Its success depends on the ability of another employee to be a good mentor.
  • It’s challenging to ensure consistency and quality.
  • It takes a considerable amount of time away from your high-performing employees, affecting KPIs.
  • Not all great professionals are good teachers.

Read-world example:

Peer-to-peer learning is an incredibly effective way to upskill your workforce with minimal resources. 

That’s why Google runs 80% of its tracked training through its g2g (Googlers-to-Googlers) program.

The initiative encourages staff members to dedicate time to helping their colleagues learn; this can be through 1-to-1 mentoring or running sessions.

Not only is it scalable, but it has helped Google create a culture that values learning. The tech giant has an easy way to identify and promote top SMEs in the company and ensure that the workforce stays motivated and engaged.

Google gives staff opportunities to grow with on-the-job training and to pay it forward by helping others upskill.

With over 6,000 participants, it has been a resounding success.

6. Mentoring

There are many different types of staff mentorship programs, but the most common is between an experienced employee (mentor) and a junior staff member (mentee).

The goal is to transfer key knowledge and skills from the seasoned staff member to the novice. In the process, the pair will form a meaningful working relationship that helps them both develop professionally.

While the focus is on helping the mentee progress, mentors can also benefit significantly from this type of training mode.

Interestingly, a study revealed that 87% of mentors and mentees said their relationship made them feel confident and empowered. This can create a more engaged workforce and a better company culture.

That’s probably why mentoring schemes make up 57% of mature career development initiatives, according to this year’s LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report.

We rounded up the big wins and drawbacks below.


  • It fosters a strong working relationship between mentors and mentees.
  • Mentees gain insight into the company culture and the way things are done.
  • It helps new or junior staff members boost their confidence and learn from seasoned pros.
  • It ensures that key knowledge is transferred across the company.


  • It requires time and resources to develop quality mentors.
  • Mentors have to spend time away from their main duties, affecting their performance.
  • Some mentees may become too reliant on mentors, affecting their ability to solve problems autonomously.
  • Pairing the right mentor and mentee is crucial to the success of the initiative.

Real-world example:

Randstad, a global leader in human resource consulting, is a prime example of how successful a staff mentoring program can be.

It offers several mentoring initiatives, including the #ReloadYourStrengths program, which is designed to develop leadership skills. As part of the program, highly promising talent is matched with a senior employee to empower them to grow into future leaders.

Randstad has realized excellent results, discovering that employees who participated in a mentoring program were 49% less likely to leave the organization. 

7. Virtual Reality

Virtual and augmented reality tools are fast becoming one of the most cutting-edge eLearning solutions to deliver training to employees. 

Why? Because it offers employees an unparalleled immersive learning experience.

Employees can simply don a VR headset and become entrenched in a training experience, whether that’s navigating a customer service simulation or performing life-saving surgery.

Everyone from Home Depot to Delta Airlines to Siemens is now using VR to train on technical and soft skills.

The result is a memorable experience that allows employees to develop their skills in a highly realistic but risk-free scenario.

That said, the high investment means it’s not the best delivery option for product training, which needs to be constantly updated.

Here’s a closer look at the strengths and weaknesses of virtual reality training.


  • It creates a safe environment for staff to develop their skills.
  • VR training offers memorable and experiential training.
  • You can easily gather and track key training metrics.
  • Simulation training is a scalable way to deliver technical training to large numbers of staff.


  • It’s the most expensive training delivery method.
  • Some learners may experience physical side effects when using VR headsets.
  • It’s costly and time-consuming to build and update.
  • This training modality requires regular maintenance and technological updates.

Real-world example:

Virtual reality has been making waves in the training world, especially for its ability to train staff in customer service and other core soft skills.

This is the case for Walmart, which has been using VR simulation training since 2017.

The Walmart Academy is a VR employee development program that trains staff on customer service skills.

Learners participate in VR simulations in which they practice interacting with customers, de-escalating difficult situations, and operating warehouse equipment. 

In this way, staff can build their confidence and soft skills without damaging customer relations or brand reputation. Walmart says the VR program is so successful that it plans to expand it.

How to Choose a Delivery Method

When it comes to planning a training program, choosing the right delivery method is paramount. But when should you make this decision? And how do you choose the best approach?

That’s what we’ll dive into now.

The first steps when mapping out your employee education program are to analyze your training needs and goals and get to know your target audience.

Once you’ve done this, you’ll have a sound idea of how the training will reach the masses. 

Of course, budget and time constraints will also play a big role in this decision — it’s probably not realistic to roll out a VR simulation if you only have a few weeks.

Now that you know when to schedule your delivery approach, let’s look at how to choose the best method. Ask yourself these four questions.

1. What are the training goals of the program? 

Consider your learning objectives and desired learning outcomes. For instance, is the goal to boost employees’ public speaking skills? In this case, you should definitely include live sessions. 

On the other hand, mastering a tool or gaining product knowledge could be best delivered through an eLearning course or another computer-based training modality.

In short, think about the method that will best help your learners master the topic and offer them the right level of support and flexibility.

2. What’s the timeline?

As any L&D pro knows, you sometimes have to launch a training program in record time. In this case, you’ll need to be realistic when planning your choice of delivery.

Start by calculating how much time you have to create the learning content, then come up with a realistic roadmap with the budget and resources you have at your disposal.

You should also do an inventory of the resources you have to develop the training. For example, will you create it in-house? Does your team have the expertise to do this? If relying on a third party, do you have time to factor in delays on their end?

Short eLearning courses and webinars work well with tight timelines. On the other hand, if you have a substantial amount of time, a high-production video course or blended learning program are excellent, sustainable options.

3. What’s the topic?

The course content will have a substantial influence on how you choose to deliver the training. So, begin by mapping out the topics you’ll cover.

While doing this, consider if learners need discussion time, hands-on practice, or real-time feedback to master the topic. If so, live classroom or blended learning programs make the most sense.

4. What’s best for your learners?

We touched on the importance of knowing your audience in question one, but now it’s time to dig a little deeper.

When choosing how to deliver staff training, think about where your learners are and what will be required for them to find time in their schedule to attend.

In some cases, it’s just not feasible for your employees to attend live events (especially those who are on the front lines or in the field). Therefore, asynchronous sessions will work best because staff can learn at their own pace. Think of mobile learning, video courses, or microlearning modules.

On the other hand, if your team is small and everyone is located in the same office, a live session could work well.

You should also carefully consider how many learners you have and what the cost per learner is for each delivery method.

It really comes down to one thing: the learner. What offers them the maximum value and engagement (that fits within your budget and time frames)?

Wrapping Up

As people, companies, and training all vary greatly, it’s no wonder there are many ways to reach your learners. Choosing the right one is a tall order, which is why it can’t be a standalone task treated in isolation from the entire training program development process.

None of the popular training delivery methods described above can be a silver bullet forever, even if they worked in the past. The best instructional designers have all those methods and more in their toolbox and are always seeking out new solutions that could work better in a given situation. Since you’ve read this article, you’re probably one of them.

Which training method works for you? Please share your experience in the comments below!

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