What is CBT?
CBT or Computer Based Training is a difficult term to adequately define because it encompasses various modes of instruction and has evolved from the simplest definition, "The use of computers and multimedia technology for training"(http://www.unn.ac.uk/~buu504/comp_bt.htm). The best definition for CBT is from a 1995 text called Making CBT Happen by Gloria Gery.
An interactive learning experience between the learner and computer in which the computer provides the majority of the stimulus, the learner must respond, and the computer analyzes the response and provides feedback to the learner (1995).
Although this definition is quite ...view middle of the document...
I would also add that along with the interactive learning experience CBT modules also have administrative qualities. Most CBT programs can register learners based on their status through particular career learning paths, as well as, store the learner's progress of the modules within a database. "There is a record keeping feature that can save time, maintain accurate training records, and diagnose training deficiencies" (Congram, 1995).
CBT Advantages and Disadvantages
Computer-Based Training modules have many advantages. First, there is the cost issue. For companies who have facilities on a national or even international scale, CBT is the most cost- effective way to train. Training employees by the conventional means (classroom instruction) requires that the company dole out high travel expense costs for hotel and air for either the trainer or the actual employees. Computer-Based Training modules would cut down on those travel costs because it can be delivered via snail mail (CD-ROM) or even downloaded off the Internet, hence there are no travel/housing expenses for the trainer or the trainee. "CBT constitutes for the first time a tool that enables internationally active companies to train their associates on a global basis, always to the same standard" (Heer & Samplin, 1997).
Another cost-effective factor is in the CBT's flexibility; it does not interrupt trainees' work schedules to train them. "CBT optimizes the time available for training, and affords flexibility since training can be taken by most employees on a 24 hr. basis without leaving the work site" (Congram, 1995). Having this type of 24hr accessibility allows the trainees to work their regular shifts and train on their off hours while not taking away from their production. "Field based employees can train via computer during their slow periods or after hours at home on laptops" (Forster, 1998). According to Rob Sandler, another company that offers their employees 24-hour accesses to mandatory and personal career development is Molson Brewing Company. Employees at Molson can log on to the computer to learn the latest company compliance course to getting a high school equivalency certificate (1998).
Finally, the highly interactive quality of the CBT modules allows the trainee to optimize his/her training time thus cutting time towards training, which also cuts costs of training. According to "Computer-Based Training: Is it the Next Wave?"
The Maul and Spotts research showed that there was a significant reduction in the amount of time needed to complete training. There was an 80.8 fewer minutes needed between the CBT group 159.2 minutes and the CI group 240 minutes. That is a 34 percent decrease on training time. If a company spent ten dollars an hour per employee and trained one hundred employees the company then saved 8,080 minutes training with the CBT, the company would save $1, 346.67 each time training was conducted. This isn't even figuring...