Tip #643: Skill Sets for Classroom Versus Web-Based Training

“Specialization, concentration and consistency is the key to outstanding performance…Love your zone!”  Israelmore Ayivor

I constantly see recruitment notices for organizations seeking individuals with expertise in classroom curriculum design and delivery, as well as web-based training design. This is understandable, since blended learning is a training method that can capitalize on the strengths of both instructor-led and web-based training.

However, it seems to me that the classroom trainer and the web-based training (WBT) designer require very different knowledge and skill sets.

Let me compare and contrast the required skill sets for the stages in the training cycle, so you can see what I mean. (For the purpose of honest disclosure, I specialize as a classroom trainer).

Needs Assessment:

Both the classroom trainer and the WBT designer need to know how to conduct a training needs assessment.


Both the classroom trainer and the WBT designer require knowledge of adult learning principles and the ability to obtain the necessary content from reference materials and/or subject matter experts.

However, the classroom trainer must have a working knowledge of Bloom’s Hierarchy and the various learning activities that can be used to achieve different learning levels.

The WBT designer must have a working knowledge of the capabilities and limitations of specific e-learning software.


The classroom trainer must be able to write participant manuals and create supporting audiovisuals, most typically PowerPoint slides.

The WBT designer must be able to use e-learning design software to create online learning modules.


The immediate audience for classroom training is a group of individuals. Thus, the classroom trainer must have presentation, interpersonal communication, facilitation and classroom management skills.

E-learning delivery only requires reliable software and hardware for an immediate audience of one. Once the WBT module is online, the work of the designer is done.


Both classroom trainers and WBT designers need to know how to evaluate training results and make changes or adjustments as needed.

However, a classroom trainer will need to know when and how to make adjustments to the content, timing and learning activities during the training program, if necessary.

A WBT designer will need to know how to revise the training module, but will be called upon to do this much less frequently.


To summarize the key similarities and differences in the knowledge and skill sets required of the classroom trainer and the WBT designer:

  • Both the classroom trainer and the WBT designer need knowledge of adult learning principles.
  • Both the classroom trainer and the WBT designer need to have analytic skills for the design and the evaluation stages of the training cycle.
  • However, the classroom trainer requires significant interpersonal communication skills for the delivery stage, while the WBT designer requires significant technical computer skills for the development stage of the training cycle.

The job requirements of a classroom trainer and of a WBT designer would seem to attract different personality types. It is certainly possible that one person could have both skill sets, but I can’t help thinking that there would still be an imbalance- with one skill set overshadowing the other.

What do you think?

May your learning be sweet.



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