I have been involved with the the training of individuals in many different trades for some time now. Most trainers and mentors will agree that adult education, quite obviously, has its positives and its negatives. Beyond that, developing and executing effective training can be quite complex. It becomes very apparent that everyone learns differently, and everyone teaches differently to a certain extent. In addition, training technology can be a double-edged sword. Time and cost are also always considerations.
Two two primary areas where I have trained individuals are in the electrical trades arena, and in thermography (for use in various trades). For individuals who focus upon, or utilize this information, I have personally found that a "hands on" approach is considerably more effective than "book learning" in a classroom (Carnegie Unit) setting or "online only".
There is definitely a place for books and articles and whitepapers... and now that communication technology has become more pervasive worldwide, online training, blogs, forums, and live webcasts and webinars also have a place and a role to play.
There is probably no single correct answer or fully-effective method. In my opinion, however, based upon my experience as both a student and an educator, nothing beats the good, old-fashioned, "hands on" training methods as a primary mode of delivery! (Obviously, I also would not be online writing about thermography if I did not also believe in the utility of online communication toward this goal, however. I never discount any method for education... but I have my favorites.)
When you learn something in a "hands on" way, you are able to reinforce what you may have learned in a book or presentation in such a way that it is committed to a different part of the brain than mere reading and watching can afford. This leads to more confidence, more experience, and more learning further.
This is the way that I prefer to learn and to teach.
I would love to hear feedback from others on this subject. What do you find is most effective? What are the benefits? What are the drawbacks? Where do you think we go from here?