Pros And Cons Of Instructor-Led Training And Solutions To Be Successful
Read Time: 6 minutes
Did you know that instructor-led training (ILT) is still the primary form of learning for 94% of organizations?
ILT is when an instructor facilitates a training session for an individual or group of learners with the opportunity to have meaningful discussions and learn from each other. ILT, just like other training modalities, has pros and cons that are ideal for some training programs and not for others, including:
- Allows For Open Dialogue
- Builds A Learning Network
- Distraction-Free Environment
- Engaging And Interactive
- Takes Time Away From Work
- Fewer Learners At One Time
Are you looking for ways to engage your employees during the training process? ILT may be the answer to your learning needs.
Let’s explore the pros and cons of ILT!
This article will define ILT, explore the multiple ways it can be held, and examine the pros and cons of ILT.
What Is Instructor-Led Training?
Instructor-led training (ILT) is when an instructor facilitates a training session for a group of learners or an individual.
While ILT can be conducted in person or online, the most important aspect is that the learners have real-time access to the instructor for feedback and discussion. ILT includes presenting material, holding discussions, individual and group activities, and hands-on skills practice that maintains high levels of engagement.
There are multiple ways ILT can be held, including:
- 1:1 — One facilitator and one learner.
- Small Group — One facilitator and multiple people within a classroom.
- Lecture — A big lecture hall with one facilitator and a large number of learners.
- Workshop — Workshops are more hands-on and active.
The best ILT sessions are led by true facilitators. Successful facilitators lead the session by engaging the learners through discussion, encouraging the sharing of ideas, and asking open-ended questions. Facilitators are responsible for meeting the sessions learning objectives, which are met best when learners are engaged and actively involved in their learning.
Read More: eLearning vs. ILT: What’s Better For Me?
Advantages Of Instructor-Led Training
Allows For Open Dialogue
ILT provides a space for open dialogue. Throughout an ILT, learners can collaborate with others through open discussion and activities that enhance their training. When learners feel comfortable in their group, they’ll be more willing to openly communicate and participate.
Additionally, facilitators can read the body language of the group and respond to learners’ needs in the moment by pivoting or changing direction. For example, learners may have confused expressions on their faces, indicating that part of the content didn’t make sense to them. In return, a true facilitator will read the room and learners’ expressions, then clarify or review the material in a different way.
Tip — To create a space for open dialogue, facilitators should encourage discussion by asking open-ended questions and digging deeper into the thoughts of learners. Also, there may be a learner who is already experienced in a particular topic, so the facilitator should encourage them to share their ideas and knowledge with the group.
Builds A Learning Network
When learners are in a classroom setting, whether it’s for two hours or three days, organic relationships will build.
These relationships that form create a learning network for participants that they can rely on before, during, or after their training occurs. Within these networks, learners can:
- Share ideas, resources, and tools that encourage deeper learning
- Gain a wider perspective on various topics by listening and collaborating with others
- Maintain personal relationships with participants and connect on other networks
This is a major benefit to ILT over more individualized learning methods, like eLearning, that don’t allow learners to interact and learn from each other.
Tip — Facilitators have the ability to encourage participants to build their networks by assigning learners with various experience levels to different groups where they can share stories and complete learning tasks together.
ILT provides a great opportunity for flexibility. A facilitator can provide additional clarifications when needed or stay at a higher level depending on the participants’ needs.
When leading a session, facilitators have the ability to see if learners have grasped a concept or are struggling with it. If learners are struggling with a particular topic, facilitators should adapt in the moment by spending more time on that particular topic.
Tip — To meet the needs of learners, facilitators must adapt in the moment. By asking open-ended questions and creating a friendly environment, learners will feel comfortable participating and asking questions when they don’t understand. Additionally, facilitators must be open to feedback and reflection in order to improve their instruction and apply it to their next section.
Read More: The 4 Steps To Conduct An Effective Training Needs Analysis
How frequently do you check your phone or laptop when you know you shouldn’t? Digital technologies distract roughly 49% of learners for reasons not related to learning.
Luckily, ILT can provide a more distraction-free environment for learners. When facilitators create an engaging atmosphere, learners are less likely to be distracted and will in turn retain more of the information.
Tip — A meaningful approach is for a facilitator to share guiding principles or ground rules for the session. For example, they could let learners know that phone use will be limited to use only during break times.
Engaging And Interactive
ILT is engaging and interactive because there are learning activities that participants can work together to complete. To create this interactive environment, facilitators should:
- Ask open-ended questions
- Create activities where participants collaborate
- Redirect questions back to the group to encourage sharing of ideas and knowledge
- Vary the delivery approach and ensure a variety of activities are used for both individual learners and groups
By having learners actively participate in the training, they’re more likely to retain information in the long-run and form deeper connections with their colleagues.
Tip — Facilitators can create active participants by mixing up presentation methods. For example, you could start the course with a presentation, then show a video, and then assign a role playing activity.
Read More: ILT: How To Make It Safe During COVID-19
Limitations Of Instructor-Led Training
A disadvantage of ILT is cost. Here are some factors you may want to consider:
- Renting out a venue
- Travel costs (flight, gas, lodging, food, etc.)
- Equipment costs
These costs are recurring for every ILT session. If you intend to scale an ILT program or use it as your primary vehicle for every training topic, costs can add up.
Solution — To stay within your budget, you may want to consider utilizing your own office space, which will certainly help keep costs down and avoid rental fees.
Read More: How To Select The Right Modality For Your Training: 5 Must-Ask Questions
Takes Time Away From Work
ILT takes time away from work, whether you’re traveling halfway across the country or even staying local. ILT sessions could be as short as a few hours to a few days or even weeks depending on the program.
Solution — Learners and facilitators need to plan ahead for being out of the office and ensure they have meetings covered, deadlines met, and responsibilities taken care of before the ILT begins.
Fewer Learners At One Time
Ideally, ILT sessions have a smaller number of participants to allow for an engaging and interactive experience. This means that facilitators may need to conduct sessions multiple times to get to all the learners.
Unfortunately, this can also affect the consistency of the training content because it’s difficult to completely recreate the same session twice.
Solution — Each ILT session, even with the same facilitator that references the same facilitator guide and has attended the same train-the-trainer training, will vary depending on their participants. This is to be expected with ILT. With each session, facilitators should expect to learn from their participants, which may lead to programs changing and evolving into something even better.
Do The Pros Of ILT Outweigh The Cons?
We’ve covered all that instructor-led training has to offer your organization, from its adaptability and interactivity to its cost and time commitment.
Ready to start building your own ILT? Curious about other modalities? Check out our resource center or get started developing your own custom training program today!