While implementing employee training and development (ET&D) strategies, decision-makers have the option to choose from several traditional and new-age training approaches – instructor-led training, coaching/mentoring, on-the-job training, online training, and social learning. Instructor-led training is one of the conventional and popular workplace training methods. As the name suggests, this training method emphasizes training sessions to be conducted by instructors or facilitators.
What is Instructor-Led Training?
According to Wikipedia,
“Instructor-led training or ILT is the practice of training and learning material between an instructor and learners, either individuals or groups. Instructors can also be referred to as a facilitator, who may be knowledgeable and experienced in the learning material, but can also be used more for their facilitation skills and ability to deliver material to learners.”
In the age of digital communication, a for-profit or nonprofit organization can conduct instructor-led training in a variety of ways – lectures, workshops, webinars, and video-based classrooms. Also, it can make a single instructor train only one learner or a group of learners. However, the decision-makers must remember that instructor-led training, like other workplace training methods, has its own pros and cons. Also, they must adopt a slew of best practices to make instructor-led training (ILT) more effective.
What are the Major Advantages of Instructor-Led Training?
ILT scores over other workplace learning approach in the category of face-to-face interaction. It enables employees to understand concepts, clear doubts, and answer questions by interacting with an instructor in real-time. Also, the instructors can promote open dialogue and discussions by asking questions and sharing feedback in real-time.
Networking and Collaboration
Many organizations these days make a single instructor train a group of employees. ILT creates a learning environment where multiple employees can acquire knowledge and skills as a group under the guidance of instructors. Hence, the employees can gain knowledge deeply through communication, interaction, networking, and collaboration.
Better Learner Engagement
No organization can make employees acquire and retain knowledge without focusing on learner engagement. While implementing online training programs, decision-makers have to look for options to keep the learners engaged and motivated. But ILT helps organizations to boost learner engagement through interactions, hands-on activities, and open dialogue.
Most employees these days acquire knowledge and skills using their smartphones and tablets. They find it difficult to stop themselves from accessing social media apps, opening emails, and checking instant messages while accessing digital content and training materials. ILT helps organizations to promote knowledge acquisition and retention by setting up a distraction-free learning environment.
Content Delivery Customization
The online training programs allow learners to access content and materials in a variety of digital formats – ebooks, documents, presentations, infographics, videos, and audio clips. But ILT allows instructors to customize and manipulate content delivery. While delivering content and instructions, the instructor can customize content delivery according to the knowledge and understanding of individual learners. They help slow learners to retain knowledge by paying special attention.
Real-Time Feedback Sharing
As mentioned earlier, ILT facilitates face-to-face interaction between instructors and learners. Hence, the instructors can measure learner progress by asking questions and conducting tests. Also, they can observe the progress of individual learners through regular interactions. That is why; ILT keeps employees motivated and engaged by facilitating real-time feedback sharing.
Both students and working professionals cite the lack of human touch as one of the major shortcomings of online learning. Many companies still prefer ILT to online training to add a human touch to their ET&D programs. The human touch motivates employees to acquire knowledge and helps them to retain knowledge.
What are the Important Disadvantages of Instructor-Led Training?
Escalated ET&D Costs
This traditional employee training approach requires organizations to deploy instructors and set up a learning environment. An organization can curtail upfront and ongoing costs by delivering ILT through webinars and virtual classroom software. But it still needs to incur more resources than online training methods.
While implementing ILT, an organization can make a single instructor train a group of employees. But it cannot get all employees trained simultaneously. It needs to divide the employees into small groups to deliver common ET&D like compliance training and product training.
Training during Working Hours
Online training methods enable employees to get training at their own pace and convenience. Many employees acquire knowledge and skills after working hours. But ILT requires employees to attend training programs during working hours. Hence, ILT often impacts the performance and productivity of employees adversely.
As a conventional employee training approach, ILT emphasizes on delivery of training documents and notes. The employees lack the option to access the content or materials after the training sessions. Hence, they need to refer to external learning resources to review the concepts and retain the knowledge.
Emphasis on Physical Presence
ILT requires employees to understand concepts, clear doubts, and discuss ideas through face-to-face interaction. If an employee did not attend a training session due to some reasons, he will miss out on the training completely. He has to refer to external sources to cover the topics or concepts.
How to Implement Instructor-Led Training Effectively in the Age of Elearning?
In addition to being a conventional workplace training approach, ILT has a slew of shortcomings. The decision-makers focus on leveraging the benefits of this popular employee training method along with overcoming the major disadvantages of ILT. While evaluating workplace training methods, decision-makers often consider ILT as an alternative to online training. But they can leverage ILT more effectively by integrating it with online training in two distinct ways.
Implementing Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
Unlike ILT, VILP emphasizes on conducting training programs in a virtual environment using video conferencing tools and virtual classroom solutions. Hence, the instructors can conduct virtual training regardless of the geographic location of learners. Also, the advanced virtual classroom software enables learners to access a variety of digital content and materials on computers and mobile devices over the internet.
VILP helps organizations to overcome some of the important shortcomings of ILT. Also, it boosts ILT by adding some of the important features or benefits of online learning. However, the decision-makers have to focus extensively on personalizing learning experiences and improving learner engagement to prevent the VILT sessions from becoming boring and unidirectional. They need to ensure seamless interaction between instructors and learners to make VILT effective.
Adopting Blended or Hybrid Training
Many organizations these days adopt blended learning to leverage the benefits of ILT and online training simultaneously. The blended training or hybrid training approach promotes self-paced training while allowing employees to attend online classes and interact with instructors. The employees can understand concepts and clear doubts by interacting with an instructor while attending online training programs.
At the same time, they can revise and recall the information and instructions at their own pace by accessing the digital content after the training sessions. An organization can adopt a blended training approach to transform ILT completely by leveraging cutting-edge technologies like artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), augmented reality (AR), and virtual reality (VR). Also, blended learning helps organizations leverage the benefits of ILT without escalating costs.
The cloud-based LMS platform developed by Mintbook overcomes the shortcomings of instructor-led training by supporting blended learning. While configuring and customizing the LMS software, the decision-makers can integrate instructor-led training and self-paced learning approaches seamlessly. Also, they can leverage the robust features provided by the LMS solution to make ET&D an ongoing process by implementing instructor-led training effectively.