Training in this category may include a trainer facilitating a course of instruction. This may occur in several formats, some of which may involve a central training facility, others may employ technological means whereby students can participate at their local sites.


DESCRIPTION - Students travel to a single training location to attend a formal/structured course of training in a classroom environment led by an instructor(s). Most NWS residence courses occur at NWSTC located in Kansas City Mo. . Many of these courses have prerequisites and employ written or laboratory exams for certification. (See NWSTC course administration)

BEST SUITED FOR - Training which requires hands-on labs and/or training of a very high technical level where an instructor is needed to deliver very detailed/difficult topics. Number of students from 8-20 (typical for NWS) with information being somewhat static.


DESCRIPTION - Students travel to a single location annually/bi-annually to receive training/information on new/updated knowledges and techniques. This could be done as follow-on training to already delivered material or as a delivery mechanism where the subject matter is expected to change on a regular basis.

BEST SUITED FOR - Large audience delivery of broad non-hands-on material where there are major subject matter changes on a routine or periodic basis. Also topics which include a large open-discussion aspect.


DESCRIPTION - Student connects via modem or Internet to an instructor-led broadcast of instructional material. The material is delivered in a structured format and facilitated throughout by an instructor. Training sessions which allow live instructor annotations, the ability for students to ask questions, etc... are considered "live"; Whereas the term "Web-cast" means the presentation is downloaded/started when students log in, but the communication is one-way (from the instructor). Many times the training falls somewhere in between, e.g. the material is presented remotely on the student's own computer monitor with audio transmission. Training sessions can be delivered at multiple times allowing flexible student scheduling. Examples of this include audiographics(Audio-Teletraining), MicroSoft NetShow, Avalon Bright-Light, and others which use .html pages for the display. Multi-media use is limited by bandwidth, but can be downloaded ahead of time. (See NWSTC course administration)

BEST SUITED FOR - Large audiences where travel savings is a big concern. Also best suited for knowledge-based material and/or material that is too difficult to master as self-study only. Segments should be kept short because of comms costs and student attention span with the remote delivery.


DESCRIPTION - Sometimes called Distance Learning this training method uses Video-teleconferencing equipment. The students log onto a structured VTC training session of live visual/audio (has multi-casting capability).

BEST SUITED FOR - Broad knowledge-based topics with much open discussion. Also short succinct topics, especially those that have a short delivery time-frame. Note only those sites equipped with VTC circuits/equipment could participate. Note also it is a somewhat costly medium.


DESCRIPTION - Students are taught a skill or knowledge at their own work-site. The instruction is presented by a peer, or supervisor, or a tiger-team trainer (see Train-The-Trainer & Tiger teams below) who is a subject-matter-expert or at least is familiar/qualified enough with the task to present it correctly. OJT can be highly structured with a training plan and schedule, or done very informally with short demonstrations of specific tasks. Typically there are hand-ons functions to be performed and the student is "walked through" a procedure and/or given the opportunity to practice via trial-and-error under the guidance of the onsite trainer.

BEST SUITED FOR - Relatively small tasks that are very procedural in nature and require very little background knowledge. They can be highly detailed although not overly complex. Equipment must be made available for the training session.


DESCRIPTION - Rather than training the staff who need the knowledge or skill in the field, a much more select group of students would be given formal training (e.g. residence, self-study, etc...); and then they in turn would conduct training out in the field to the end-audience (known as Train-the-Trainer). Where a small group of trained trainers were utilizied, they would singularly or as a group make rounds to the field sites to conduct the field training (Tiger Teams). If the trained trainer is to subsequently teach subordinates or peers it takes on the characteristics of OJT (See above).

BEST SUITED FOR - Topics that are best taught on site (due to cost, scheduling, unique equipment, etc...) where a fully trained and qualified instructor is needed to facilitate (organize, demonstrate, answer questions, etc...) the training.

(See also More detail on the Train-the_Trainer concept)


Training in this category involves a student doing self-study at their local site with training documents. These materials are designed with learning in mind. They contain appropriate examples and exercises to reinforce the content of the tutorial, and a set of review questions to challenge the learner. No formal end-of-tutorial examinations are routinely available for tutorials. A record of completion, if required, is tracked at the user level only. There is, however, an exception to this general rule. Many times tutorials serve as prerequisites to other training and in some cases tutorials have been incorporated into courses and testing .


DESCRIPTION - Instructional materials are written specifically for Internet/Web delivery in tutorial self-study fashion and are easily modified. Branching to various sources/pages of information can be easily programmed in. Use of multimedia is somewhat limited due to bandwidth constraints. Note that this is a portable medium whereby the material can also be placed on a CD-ROM, used with other remote delivery systems, or displayed to a live audience. Break-out self-study labs can be included as well as online quizzing. Some WBTs are credited (cr) - that is tested and the results tracked - while others are not, though they may still be used as prerequisites to other courses. Web-Based Training Modules are designed as training documents. They contain appropriate examples and exercises to reinforce the content of the tutorial, and a set of review questions to challenge the learner. To receive formal credit for completion of a WBT, the NWS student generally must pass an end-of-module test. A letter of completion is issued upon successful completion of module requirements. Web-Based Courses are essentially a series of modules and tutorials blended together to achieve the course goal. Each module or tutorial series is evaluated separately. In some cases the "total course" may combine requirements from several delivery modes (residence, web-based, computer-based, teletraining, and self-study training guides). Upon completion of course requirements, a certificate of completion is issued.

BEST SUITED FOR - Broad non-hands-on training topics that are subject to frequent/periodic change or where a portable medium is desired.


DESCRIPTION - Instructional materials are created programmatically (usually with a software system designed specifically for that task) and put in an executable format to run on any PC or workstation. The student working remotely at his/her own site goes through the course material as self-study at his/her own pace. The course materials are generally very structured and can include many elements of multi-media. Break-out self-study labs can be included as well as online quizzing. Supporting materials such as hardcopy or video can be included as reference. In some cases students taking NWSTC CBTs may be given credit upon completion of a final exam and/or printed exercises. Less tutorially-structured material takes the form of instructional presentations (see Presentations below). Most NWSTC CBTs are available for download from the NWSTC web-site (via Browser or anonymous ftp at Some CBTs are credited (cr) - that is tested and the results tracked - while others are not, though they may still be used as prerequisite to other courses. (See NWSTC course administration)

BEST SUITED FOR - Static broad knowledge-based topics that require no/little hands-on of actual equipment or the real software being taught (though some very fine and effective simulations are possible depending on subject matter).


DESCRIPTION - Digital instructional materials are created programmatically in a format for viewing (or for printing). Generally this format is used to run a sequential slide show on the local PC after download (anonymous ftp from or opened within a browser). These slide shows are created and run using presentation software such as Coral Presentations or PowerPoint. The material can include Multi-media(sound, graphics, animations, video, etc...). The material is tutorial to a degree and can include various exercises and quizzes. The student working remotely at his/her own site goes through the course material sequentially as self-study at his/her own pace, and may print it for later reference.

BEST SUITED FOR - Topics that require no/little hands-on of actual equipment or the real software being taught, and where great detail of instruction is not required, such as a quick introduction to a new topic.


DESCRIPTION - Textual instructional material which can be distributed to the student in prepreprinted hardcopy form. Or the material may be in a digital text format which can be downloaded for subsequent viewing or local printing, or viewed online within a browser session. The material need not be text alone but can include very intricate drawings/graphics and still photos. The material is tutorial in nature and can include various exercises and quizzes. Subsequently the material can also be used as reference material whenever needed. NWSTC tutorials for self-instruction or reference are in a printable/viewable form (usually Word-Perfect) to be downloaded to the local site (via Browser or anonymous ftp from, or may be opened within the browser session.

BEST SUITED FOR - Static material where delivery/development costs are to be kept low. Also where technology systems (PCs, workstations, equipment, Internet) are not available to enable the use of other technology-based training formats. Also well-suited for material which may be needed for periodic review or as reference/job-aides.


DESCRIPTION - A VHS recording is made of a training session either specifically narrated by an instructor or an actual recording of material being delivered as a residence course. If created specifically for tape breakout self-study labs can be programmed in. If an actual course recording the student would be expected just to watch the tape without completing any exercises, labs, etc...

BEST SUITED FOR - For material which needs to be mass delivered very quickly, would only require passive participation, and retention of detail is not critical. Also used to archive training delivery.


Documents that provide information and contain a mixture of text and graphics designed to be read and viewed by the web users. These documents are not intended as training documents. They provide a one-way transfer of knowledge and do not contain the evaluation and feedback mechanisms that make training documents unique.


DESCRIPTION - The material (hardcopy, web-based, video-tape, etc...) is designed principally as reference guides or job aides and is not tutorial in nature. This can include such things as FAQs, User-guides, text & schematics, etc... . Self-study quizzes, exercises and labs can be added separately to the text but the materials do not lend well to this use. As support references these material however can be looked upon as Just-In-Time-Training, available to a novice employee to accomplish specific tasks. Many times references are available commercially in the form of user guides and text/ref. books. At NWSTC reference materials may be online - that is, available via browser from the NWSTC web-site and also may contain numerous hyper-links to related material, or they are downloadable (dwnld) - via browser or anonymous ftp from

BEST SUITED FOR - Task-Oriented information which need not be retained and is not needed often. However when needed the material needs to be very detailed helping to accomplish specific tasks.


DESCRIPTION - Textual materials are sent to students/staff on a periodic or routine basis which includes updates to previously delivered training or is used to deliver "TIPS AND TRICKS" type of information. The information is not generally presented as self-study tutorial but rather is intended to adsysinformation to existing knowledge or skills sets. The material can be hard-copy, E-mailed digital copy or posted on a bulletin board or web-page.

BEST SUITED FOR - Subjects where there is a vast wealth of information available (too much for a single training session) or where the information is rapidly changing. Information is to be delivered to enhance existing knowledge or skills in non-urgent/non-critical piecemeal fashion.



DESCRIPTION - Subject matter experts (SMEs) and students/staff exchange information (digitally) on specific topics. This is done by creating E-Mail groups/maillists/bulletin-boards or "online chat rooms". Topics and schedules may be determined in advance and staff requiring information in the topic area choose to have their names on the maillist or choose to participate in the "chat room". Students can pose questions to the SMEs who answer and relay detailed instruction.

BEST SUITED FOR - Small specific tasks/subjects. Also information which may be new/updated, beyond the scope of other curriculum, too complex to retain, or is suspected to be needed by a select few on rare occasions (perceived limited audience) . Also good for delivery of "Tips-and Tricks" type of information as follow-on for previous training, or for continued post-course follow-up/support of other training mediums (especially self-study).


DESCRIPTION - Any number of instruction delivery methods described above can be combined to meet specific needs. Examples could include combining pre-course self-study materials for some residence training; or combining residence training with follow-on "Tips-and-Tricks periodicals; or combining various forms of self-study with follow-up online chat, discussion groups; etc... The techniques used are selected and designed appropriate to the topics to be delivered. A very powerful technique utilizies CBI, WBT, hardcopy, video, etc... as self-study and in addition an instructor scheduled to be available in online session to review key points and answer questions. These online sessions can be telephone, Internet or VTC. The combination of self-study materials and a live instructor represents a hybrid training solution called Hybrid Interactive Training by NWSTC Engineering Division. H.I.T. describes a training environment whereby various instruction delivery techniques and media are employed to achieve optimum training at a reasonable cost.

BEST SUITED FOR - Any topics where a single delivery medium does not represent the best form in which to facilitate training in that topic. Also material created for self-study (for any number of reasons such as cost, portability, ease of scheduling, etc...) which, because of the complex nature of the topics, requires some instructor assistance.


DESCRIPTION - A vendor(s) is contracted to deliver a training course or materials. Examples include (but not limited to): tailored private residence courses, public courses, COTS CBIs/CBTs/WBTs, tailored CBIs/CBTs/WBTs, published tutorials, textbooks and other printed reference materials.

BEST SUITED FOR - Subject matter that is unique to a limited number of sites; or subject matter where the vendor is the only SME (Subject Matter Expert), or where it would be an expedient means to ramp up a new training program, or where public/private vendors offer a more cost effective solution and material is not unique to NWS.

* See also NWSTC Training Administration Page*


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NWSTC - Updated 07-25-01