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Learning & Development Blog

Improving Instructor-Led Training in the Classroom and Virtually

Improving Instructor-Led Training in the Classroom and Virtually

Instructor-led training (ILT) is a fundamental type of learning and development that is popular for a variety of reasons. It follows the traditional teacher-student model, which creates an environment in which learners are able to interact with each other and an expert on the subject in order to gain knowledge or proficiency. Beyond that, instructor-led training is a popular choice because it is a learning format that many are familiar with and can adapt to easily. In the realm of L&D, instructor-led training tends to require significant planning, buy-in, and funding, so it’s important that you work hard to get it right for your learners and your organization. Creating the most effective version of ILT can save you time and money and prevent learner burnout. First, let’s take a look at the differences between instructor-led training in the classroom and in a virtual environment.

In-classroom ILT is a tried-and-true form of training delivery that brings learners or trainees into a space with their peers and an instructor or facilitator. These classroom-like settings often accompany print materials with engagement activities and lecture-style presentations. For organizations that are able to bring learners into a classroom environment, this is a great opportunity to increase engagement and leverage social learning.

Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) is a more modern take on traditional ILT. It can take a variety of different forms, but most importantly can take place when not all learners or instructors are in the same place. One key quality of vILT, however, is that it must be synchronous—a key to creating a successful learning environment. This requires more planning than other types of training delivery and leaves more opportunity for technical issues and hiccups. Don’t let that discourage you, though. A properly planned and executed vILT program can offer some of the best results learners can get in a remote environment.

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When it comes to creating the perfect vILT or ILT program for your learners, there are a few things you should keep in mind. We’ve put together a few key points you should focus on when building a learning solution that meets the needs of your learners and your organization.

Curate & customize.

When developing a training solution for your organization, it’s important that you create experiences that are built for specific audiences. Different roles, departments, and regions will have different needs, and you need to curate and customize your ILT and vILT for their needs. For example, attitudes and proficiencies for similar roles in a global organization will look a lot different in Australia and the UK, even if learners speak the same language. If you truly want to maximize outcomes, work closely with various SMEs to distill exactly what information needs different groups of employees have, then build your custom training program to those needs.

Set goals.

Attainable goals are the foundation of any successful training program, and this is especially true for ILT and vILT. Other L&D models often include assessment tools that provide instant feedback to learners, but that is not always the most attainable or effective form of analysis for instructor-led training sessions. Before you begin building out your program, consider key proficiencies you want your learners to walk away with. Instructional designers can opt for a quiz-like check at the end of the session, but we usually see more success with less formal assessments such as problem solving activities or active listening and recall checks.

Make it a social event.

Having many unique learners from your organization in the same room (or Zoom meeting) is the perfect opportunity to build trust and teamwork. Consider building social learning into your sessions, focusing on cross-team collaboration and interaction. Humans are naturally more engaged in social settings, and no one is too old for gamified learning scenarios. One of the most important benefits of ILT and vILT training is its social element, so make sure you build in some type of interactive learning experience. This is especially important given how difficult it can be to get a group of employees in the same room these days.

Challenge your learners.

Modern learners are used to training programs that walk them through content before assessing their proficiency and sending them on their way. ILT and vILT can break that mold, especially when it comes to truly challenging your learners. Gamification is a great way for learners to explore team-based problem solving, which is a skill that is often hard to capture in other L&D formats. Furthermore, with an instructor on hand and ready to answer questions, you can create more challenging tasks for your learners without worrying about them getting stuck, confused, or unable to finish.

Leverage blended learning.

Blended learning solutions allow you to leverage the power of ILT and vILT alongside other training strategies. We understand that not all organizations have the ability to host multiple in-person training sessions, and blended learning is a great solution to busy schedules and expensive planning and developing. Consider creating a vILT or ILT program that is supplemented by materials that are available to the learners outside of the classroom. These could be in the form of supplemental videos, mobile learning, or microlearning modules.

Record and publish online.

Learning and development programs in 2021 are all about accessibility. The reality of ILT and vILT programs is that not all of your learners will be able to attend, no matter how well you coordinate and plan. Recording sessions can prevent the headache of attempting to coordinate another training initiative and can even be used as a resource for learners as a part of your performance support system. Furthermore, recorded training sessions can be analyzed for effectiveness to make your next program even more effective.

Instructor-led training is one of the best opportunity’s organizations have to create a strong learning environment and culture for your organization. In a business landscape that is continuously becoming more remote, it is important that employees are provided with opportunities to communicate, solve problems, and learn in social settings. When building your next learning and development program, consider vILT and ILT as models for a successful, effective employee development experience.