What Are the Types of Training Environments?

Training environments are the overall setting and conditions used for teaching and learning. While each type of training environment has different elements, they all aim to provide an effective learning experience

An ideal training environment supports student learning by helping them retain and apply the material. The type of environment you choose depends on the material, students, and the most effective way to impart the necessary knowledge and skills. 

What are the different types of environments, and how can you enhance them? Keep reading as we explore the importance, unique elements, and ways to optimize different types of training programs.

Understanding Training Environments

Any type of training plays a crucial role in effectively imparting new skills and knowledge. Training environments directly affect student engagement, influencing retention and the ability to use new skills in real-world scenarios.

While training environments may seem like a specific location or virtual training environment, there is also a psychological component in how they are designed so students can absorb the information and skills. You’ll need to choose the right teaching methods and environments that work for the material.

Different learning styles benefit employees, new hires, and managers. The environment you develop and refine should use a combination of techniques to help all attendees have an effective experience.

The Types of Training Environments

Which training environment should you choose? The answer depends on the material, students, and ideal outcomes. For example, teaching employees how to use a new platform will likely be best in a virtual environment. Still, other skill-based topics may benefit from meeting in a physical classroom.

Let’s review overall categories of learning environments to help you hone in on the best choice for your organization and students.

Physical Environments

On-site workshops, traditional classrooms, or hands-on laboratories are all common physical environments that benefit from providing students with a tangible, real-world space. This category allows students to learn and practice topics, like how to use new machinery, with personal guidance from the instructor.

Some students also learn more effectively in person, even if the material could be taught virtually. However, the opposite can also be true, so carefully evaluate student needs as you develop and refine a course.

Virtual Environments

There are a wide variety of virtual environments that each provide attendees with a digital learning space, available wherever they are, such as:

  • AR/VR
  • Virtual machines and simulations
  • Learning Management Systems (LMS)
  • Video conferencing

These technologies are often used to teach knowledge or skills that will be used in a virtual situation or do not require a physical space. 

Hybrid Environments

A hybrid learning environment combines the above two categories, blending physical and virtual learning spaces in ways that support business and student needs.

Hybrid courses take many forms; some may provide both options simultaneously, have some on-demand videos and in-person lectures, or offer any other combination that blends virtual and physical training environments.

Specialized Environments

While not typically found in corporate settings, you may need a specialized environment. These can be high-risk environments, like teaching a skill involving hazards that need to be controlled or creative environments focusing on the arts. 

A specialized environment can be any of the above categories with the necessary changes to provide effective training.

Optimizing Training Environments for Performance

You’ve chosen an environment, developed training material, and held your first session. How can you enhance the experience for better performance? There are a few key ways to continuously improve the environment and how it’s used. 

So, let’s break down the best ways to optimize your training environment so students can retain and utilize the course material:

  • Continually assess training needs: What are the specific business goals you wish to achieve? Do you know your students’ needs? What environment and teaching methods support both? When developing the program, these questions should be asked and revisited with each session, making changes as necessary.
  • Leveraging new technologies: Tech never stands still, so it’s valuable for trainers to stay aware of new advancements that might optimize their training environment. For example, virtual training environments with modular components that allow configuring reusable courses were not common only a few years ago. Now, they’re readily available and highly valuable for learners.
  • Regularly soliciting feedback: What do graduates think about your course? How did it affect their performance in real-world applications? Take the time to ask them, and then return a few weeks or months later to evaluate the retention and application of the material. You may discover the need for other types of training for employees to optimize the learning experience.

Virtual, physical, and hybrid environments will use the optimization methods differently, but each method is universally applicable. Keep striving for continuous improvement to give students the best possible experience.