Four types of training are most often used in formal settings:
1. Receptive training is a variety of “telling” learners the information. It assumes, perhaps dubiously, that students will have the ability to digest the coursework into useable knowledge and workplace skills. While receptive training has limitations, it does make learners aware of the material to be learned. It is most effective when used sparingly for short instructional blocks.
2. Directive training depends on a leader/follower dynamic. The leader issues directions for the purpose of leading learners to new knowledge, but the students have little control. This method is most successful with a group composed of people with limited prior knowledge of the course materials.
3. Guided discovery training depends on a more equitable partnership between trainer and trainee. Learners plunge into hands-on or problem-solving activities right away. The teacher provides direction, but the learners are responsible for discovering what to do and how to do it.
4. Exploratory learning in this advanced-level training method, the trainer creates the learning environment and the learners take control of the experience, setting their own goals and strategies.
These four types of learning mirror a natural progression of learner sophistication. For best results, the creative trainer will mix and match the methods, remembering to use receptive training sparingly, if at all.