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Explore Different Types of Corporate Technical Training and Their Benefits and Drawbacks

Maintaining a competitive edge is challenging in a rapidly changing marketplace. One day, a company’s on top; the next day, it’s all downhill.

But what makes the difference between success and failure?

One differentiating factor that can lead to success is training employees well. One realm where employees always need training is in company technology. That’s why corporate technical training is essential to every company’s success.

Technical training is an indispensable tool for every organization’s success. But what’s the best way to train employees in company technology?

That is going to be unique for every organization. That’s why it’s helpful to work with an instructional design consultant to help figure out the right approach to your company’s technical training.

This post doesn’t provide the exact guidance you need because there are many subtleties. However, it does provide some options available for corporate technical training, as well as their benefits and drawbacks.

Not all types of training are effective for corporate technical training.

There are more traditional approaches and digital training solutions. There are simple solutions and complex ones. Some companies will thrive with one technical training solution, whereas that same solution will flounder at another company.

Each approach comes with its own set of challenges that demand strategic planning and foresight. This post will equip you with the basic knowledge of available technical training solutions. Some of them may resonate with you, while others do not.

Sometimes it comes down to gut feeling and knowing an organization. However, corporate technical training often comes down to what works best for the topic.

Technical topics can be more demanding, and real practice is sometimes necessary. That’s why we often focus on digital training solutions rather than traditional methods. Learning a software process by watching a trainer show you disjointed slides is difficult.

Before we jump into the different types of training, it’s important to understand why corporate technical training is important in the first place.

The Importance of Corporate Technical Training

We told a story about what happens when new employees get no training. It’s not good, and these bad things can happen to new employees and everyone. If employees aren’t supported with training in their jobs, then they’re unhappy and more likely to jump ship.

Digital innovations at an organization won’t be effective and could waste money without training that effectively trains employees. According to a Gartner survey, employees use 11 applications to do their job on average. Do they know how to use them all correctly and seamlessly when necessary?

If employees aren’t trained, there’s also the risk of not using the software correctly. That could lead to data issues, security issues, or broken processes that don’t get the job done properly. Knowing how to use the software correctly and having effective training is critical to business.

Companies that throw money at new technology but then skimp on training might as well throw their money in the trash. There are many different options for training employees in company technology. Now it’s time to get into everything so you can see your options.

Types of Corporate Technical Training

When it comes to corporate technical training, you’ve got options. There are the traditional, modern, self-service, and resource-intensive routes. There are many different options, and most standard training options can also be used with technical training.

However, not all options for technical training are as effective as others. So, let’s get to it!

Hands-On Workshops

Hands-on workshops provide employees with experience that aligns with the real work they’ll do. This one is hard with some types of corporate technical training because enough computers must be available.

When was the last time you saw a computer lab at an office?

Probably never.

A hands-on workshop might be possible online with some creativity, but it would likely turn into a traditional virtual instructor-led training. We’ve seen this happen with the best of intentions but not working out in reality.

Getting to do the work with the technology and having someone available for questions is valuable. This is the strongest benefit of a hands-on workshop.

On the downside, hands-on workshops can be time-consuming and require significant resources to organize. Additionally, not all topics can be effectively taught through this method alone. Therefore, it is important to carefully select the topics that are best suited for hands-on workshops.


This one is a favorite of ours for training. While it’s not universally great, it provides many benefits if employees are receptive to this format.

Most employees prefer it, but not all of them do. They prefer it typically because it’s flexible for where, then, and how long it takes you. It’s sometimes called a self-paced course precisely because employees can learn the content at their own pace.

If an employee has access to a computer where they can take training. The required resources for eLearning are minimal, as most employees already have everything they need. It eliminates geographical barriers and time constraints.

eLearning is one of the best methods of training for company technology.

For technical training, eLearning especially excels. That’s because they’re the perfect format to deliver realistic software simulations that integrate scenario-based learning. It’s also quite easy to track basic levels of interaction, and with a more complex setup, track more detailed interactions.

There are negatives to eLearning, though, as it’s not all roses.

Because of its self-paced and computer-based nature, it does lack an in-person touch and the listening skills of a real trainer. Try as we may, eLearning never answers if we ask it questions.

Some employees may struggle with self-discipline or feel isolated without direct guidance from an instructor. Some of this can be alleviated at least a little bit with a well-written script as well as engaging activities that are relevant for employees.

Performance Support

Performance support provides on-the-job assistance when employees need it most. A simple job aid can offer quick access to the relevant steps an employee needs when they need it. Performance support tools can be in the form of job aids, checklists, or mobile applications.

Performance support is almost always necessary but rarely should be the sole training method. The good part is that performance support is one of the most affordable types of corporate technical training.

The biggest problem is getting the job aids in front of employees when needed. If help is buried in a knowledge base that’s not easily searchable, it’ll never do anybody any good.

Performance support is challenging to do well. A wall of text with steps that are hard to follow isn’t helpful. There’s also minimal context that can be provided in performance support.

It’s important to balance just-in-time support and comprehensive training to ensure employees have a solid foundation of knowledge and the resources for what they forget when they need it. Also, training is a great place to let employees know where they can find additional support and a general idea of what’s available.

Up next is a form of performance support, but we broke it out because it’s vast and complex.

Contextual Help

Contextual help refers to assisting within the context of an application or software. It’s often an overlay on top of the software that can provide walkthroughs, tooltips, and more. This type of training offers immediate guidance when employees encounter challenges and can surface help without ever leaving the software.

Contextual help can include tooltips, pop-up messages, guided walkthroughs, and more. We’ve written several posts about the types of contextual help. This is our big specialty, but it’s not always the right technical training solution.

Contextual help can be expensive but extremely effective at training employees.

While contextual help can be highly effective in addressing immediate needs, it may not provide a comprehensive understanding of an entire process, especially if it spans more than one application or goes outside the application entirely.

Supplementing contextual help with additional training resources is helpful. While we specialize in contextual help, it does not replace more structured training. Employees don’t know what they don’t know, and contextual help is limited in effectiveness in those cases.

It’s also helpful to note that contextual help can be expensive and complex. You must consider that contextual help typically requires an application itself to deliver. Yes, an application is needed to help employees use an application.


Videos are popular; there’s no doubt about that. However, contrary to their popularity, they’re not always the best solution for corporate technical training. If they’re done well and with the intention to fill in gaps, then they can be beneficial, though.

When they’re done with intentional and broken into small tasks (similar to a job aid), then they can be beneficial. We worked on a project to create videos for popular tech support issues. These videos were sent to employees by the help desk to shorten calls and enable employees to fix problems themselves.

They can be effective at demonstrating complex processes or concepts concisely and engagingly. They get too complex with bigger processes but are amazing for short tasks.

Videos also allow for easy distribution and are typically easy for employees to access.

Videos do lack some things that are essential to training. Interactivity and hands-on practice opportunities are two biggies. Employees passively watch videos and might not do anything with them.

Training without action is useless.

Also, have you tried watching a video and performing the task on the same screen? It’s a pain in the butt toggling between the task and the video!

Videos shouldn’t be a primary training resource to maximize their effectiveness. They’re similar to performance support in that they shouldn’t ever be the only training solution.

Traditional Classroom (Conference Room) Training

Yes, traditional classroom training still exists for companies. They didn’t bring people back into the office for nothing, did they? They want to make you sit for four hours and stare at the trainer.

The benefit of traditional training is that it’s face-to-face with a real person. You can even ask them questions, and they’ll respond, unlike eLearning!

Employees get immediate feedback, group discussions, and sometimes personalized attention. Traditional training makes creating a collaborative environment among employees easier and provides a structured learning environment where employees must step away from their work.

Traditional classroom training is one of the least effective for most technical training.

Traditional training isn’t the perfect option, though, for technical training. It can be costly in terms of time and resources required for organizing sessions. It may also pose logistical challenges when dealing with geographically dispersed teams.

Not only that, but employees don’t get to practice what they’re learning very well. It’s mostly just watching the trainer and trying to pack everything into their brain. We think traditional training methods are the most vulnerable to train brain.

Consideration should be given to the specific training needs and circumstances before opting for this approach for corporate technical training.

Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT)

Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) allows participants to join remotely, eliminating the need for travel and reducing costs. That’s where it’s better than traditional classroom training. It’s also nice that it can provide a more collaborative environment.

Anyone up for a breakout room?

Employees can ask questions easily to a real person, and they’ll answer, too. I know, shocking. It’s also nice that vILT blocks employees’ time, so there’s less chance of disturbance. With a good trainer, vILT can be extremely engaging and effective.

But it’s not always all it’s cracked up to be. One of the main reasons we don’t do vILT at all is because it doesn’t easily allow all employees to practice as they learn. Watching an instructor perform a task in an application, no matter how engaging they are, isn’t very helpful.

Social Learning

Learning doesn’t always have to be accomplished formally. Sometimes it’s okay to set employees up with a place on the enterprise social network (ESN) to share what they’ve learned. This method is a great secondary option to create better coverage in training than any single department could do.

Employees can share with each other and even help each other out.

A big problem is that sometimes it’s difficult to get people to take the time to share with others. There’s also the problem of misinformation being shared. A wrong process that harms the system could run away and mistrain many employees before it’s caught.

On-the-Job Training

On-the-job training involves learning while performing the job task but with guidance from an experienced colleague or mentor. This method allows employees to acquire practical skills through hands-on experience and observation.

Here’s the big problem. Do those employees have enough time to train people properly? Are they doing processes correctly or training new employees on poor behaviors? My last question is, is it effective to train every employee individually?

That’s all we need to say about what’s wrong with on-the-job training, where employees are often thrown into the work without being sufficiently prepared.

Blended Learning Approaches

A blended learning approach combines multiple training methods to create a comprehensive and customized learning experience. The most common form of blended learning is putting eLearning and some form of instructor-led training together.

You get flipped learning if employees take an eLearning course first and then go to a training session with an instructor, either virtual or in-person. We think giving employees eLearning is easier than scheduling office hours for them to ask questions.

Designing and implementing a blended learning program requires careful planning and coordination. It also eliminates eLearning’s cost and time savings while adding minimal benefits. For corporate technical training, there’s often not enough benefit to implement blended training, but it shouldn’t always be ruled out.

Wrap Up

Corporate technical training is a must for any organization that wants to succeed. By understanding the different types of training available and their respective advantages and drawbacks, informed decisions can be made that align with the goals and resources of the organization.

Remember, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate technical training. Each organization is unique. It’s a must to evaluate unique requirements, consider the nature of its workforce, and choose the most suitable training methods.

By investing in continuous learning and development, companies can empower employees with the skills to drive innovation, enhance productivity, and achieve long-term success. If you want to explore the best technical training solution for company technology, schedule a free consultation, and we’ll help you figure it out.

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