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Pros And Cons Of Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) is when an instructor facilitates a training session for a group of learners or an individual over a virtual setting. VILT is synchronous, collaborative, and happens in real-time on a virtual learning platform or software, such as Zoom or Teams

Pros of Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT):

  • Cost-Effective
  • Convenient Remote Learning Option
  • Access To Tools That Engage Learners

Cons of Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT):

  • Learners May Get Distracted
  • Facilitators Can’t Access Nonverbal Cues
  • Fewer Opportunities For Real-Time Application

Even before the COVID-19 pandemic halted in-person training, more than 50% of all learning hours were delivered with technology-based methods, with virtual classrooms growing the fastest. Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) has emerged as a new technology that makes training more scalable across organizations. 

At Roundtable Learning, we have 20+ years of experience finding the best learning solutions that fit our clients’ unique training needs. VILT, in particular, is a great solution for organizations in need of a scalable, convenient, and impactful training experience for remote learners. 

In this article, we’ll explain what VILT is, explore the different training topics it addresses, and dive into the advantages and disadvantages that come with its use.

What Is Virtual Instructor-Led Training?

VILT is when an instructor facilitates a training session for a group of learners or an individual over a virtual setting. This learning modality is synchronous, collaborative, and reaches remote learners in real-time through a virtual learning platform or software, such as Zoom or Teams

VILT can be held in several ways, including:

  • Webinar — 1 facilitator and several participants. Learners may be asked to complete polling, voting, or video conferencing
  • 1:1 — Similar to peer-to-peer training with 1 facilitator and 1 participant. 
  • Small Group — 3-5 participants with 1 facilitator in a virtual classroom setting and is often used to learn new processes or tasks.
  • Lecture — A large group of learners with 1 facilitator who leads the session. 
  • Workshop — Participants come together and learn a new software or task through hands-on training. Learners are able to walk away and have time to practice on their own, with additional homework or a follow-up session later on. 
  • Virtual Classroom — Similar to a lecture, learners are muted and simply watch the facilitator walk through the activity. 

Now that we know the basics of VILT, let’s check out the advantages and disadvantages that come with its use.  

Read More: VILT: 8 Ways To Make The Most Of It For Your Learners

Advantages Of Virtual Instructor-Led Training


If you have a team that is national or global, they have the ability to meet all together at the same time without needing to be in the same place. This means that your organization doesn’t need to worry about the following factors:

  • Travel costs
  • Accommodations
  • Renting a location
  • Taking time away from work

VILT ensures every employee has access to learning, keeping the overall training program cost down while still effectively developing employees’ skill sets. 

Convenient Remote Learning Option

Learners can participate in VILT from anywhere as long as they have a device, such as a smartphone or laptop, and a stable internet connection. An added bonus is that learners don’t need to worry about carving out travel time to a different location. 

To access their VILT, learners simply click the meeting link provided by their organization and join the session through a VILT learning software, such as Zoom or Teams. 

Read More: Moving the Classroom Online: 5 Tips for Effective Virtual Instructor-led Training

Access To Tools That Engage Learners

VILT gives facilitators access to unique tools that effectively engage remote learners. Each VILT platform comes with different opportunities to engage learners, but standard tools include breakout rooms, polling software, and Q&As. 

These tools give learners the ability to interact with their learning through hands-on tasks, which helps eliminate Zoom fatigue

Disadvantages Of Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Learners May Get Distracted

Much different from a classroom environment, instructors have very little control over their learners’ behavior and environment. With VILT, distractions are likely to occur, such as: 

  • The use of other technologies
  • Children interrupting
  • Interruptions from pets
  • Disruptions from other people

Solution — Instructors should set the ground rules for the session early on. For example, instructors could ask learners to keep their phones away and try to be in an environment with the least amount of disruptions. In addition, instructors should try to keep their learning material as engaging as possible through polls or breakout rooms so they can maintain learners’ attention. 

Read More: Does gamification really work?

Facilitators Can’t Assess Nonverbal Cues

With VILT, facilitators don’t have the ability to assess nonverbal cues. In a traditional classroom session, facilitators are able to adjust their instruction by reading the room and watching their learners. This is very difficult to do during a virtual session. 

Solution — Although facilitators can’t be with their learners in person, they can still pick up on learners’ reactions to their instruction in different ways. For example, if learners have their cameras turned on, facilitators can observe learners’ posture, facial expressions, eye contact, and more. In addition, different tools, such as hand raising and chat rooms, can help indicate how learners feel about the session. 

Read More: The importance of nonverbal communication in virtual meetings

Fewer Opportunities For Real-Time Application

With VILT, learners apply what they’ve learned after the session is completed. This limits opportunities for real-time application because learners can’t practice in the moment and learn from mistakes. In addition, a facilitator won’t be there in-person to correct mistakes if learners complete something incorrectly. 

Solution — To give learners ways to apply what they’ve learned, VILT can be paired with other learning modalities, like virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR), as part of a blended learning program. This provides learners with opportunities to solidify their understanding through hands-on, interactive activities. 

Virtually Connect With Your Learners Like Never Before!

As we’ve discussed, VILT comes with a wide range of advantages that make training more scalable, cost-effective, and engaging for remote learners. While these advantages are encouraging, it’s important to prepare for the disadvantages that may come with VILT. 

If you’re as excited about the possibilities of VILT as we are, reach out to one of our experts today and get started designing your dream training program!

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