Individual and small group approaches to delivering patient education have differing potential advantages, and various criteria can be used to determine which is "better". Individualization of education is possible in either delivery format, as is its absence. Limited evidence regarding the relative effectiveness and cost-effectiveness of different delivery modes is available from direct comparison and meta-analyses of studies comparing either of the approaches with no education or the patient's own pre-education status. This evidence supports the conclusions that: (1) both individual and group education can improve patient outcomes, (2) it is not possible to conclude that the two delivery formats are essentially equivalent in effectiveness, and there is some evidence that group education may more effective for some outcomes, and (3) wide variation in effectiveness exists among programs in both delivery formats. A model continuum of asthma education is presented that takes advantage of the respective strengths of individual and group delivery.