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What is Instructor-Led Training? Everything You Need To Know

Everyone has sat through an instructor-led class before, whether they have flashbacks to algebra II in high school or a yearly safety training complete with outdated VHS tapes. Instructor-led training is one of the most traditional ways to teach, and even in today’s tech-savvy world, it’s still massively beneficial. That’s why we believe instructor-led training will always have a place in learning and development; you just need to do it right.

In this article, we will cover the basics of instructor-led training, including what it is, choosing a program design partner, and the advantages and disadvantages.

What is Instructor-Led Training?

Instructor-led training (ILT) is when an instructor facilitates a training session to 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 can be held in a few different ways:

  • Webinar – Online through video conferencing
  • One-to-One – One learner to one instructor
  • Small-Group – A small group of learners with one instructor in a classroom setting
  • Lecture – A large group of learners with one instructor
  • Workshop – Hands-on training

You can make your instructor-led training engaging for your learners by including activities throughout the training session. Switching between lectures, discussions, activities, and hands-on practices are the best way to keep your learners engaged and able to retain the information.

Read More: What is Blended Learning? Everything You Need To Know

Here are some examples to use with your ILT:

  • Icebreakers to acquaint learners with their instructor and peers
  • Immersive technologies (Virtual Reality and Augmented Reality) for activities
  • Supplying a workbook with writing activities
  • Open polling and response submissions
  • Group discussions and debates
  • Problem-solving in small groups or pairs
  • Role-playing
  • Quizzes and assessments

What Makes a Good Instructor?

Your instructor does not need to be a subject matter expert to facilitate successful training. Most instructors go through a train-the-trainer course to learn the material, learning objectives, activities, and how to ensure the learners are retaining the information.

This train-the-trainer model allows multiple instructors to facilitate training across multiple locations. It’s an excellent opportunity to elevate current employees to new roles and responsibilities.

While this seems to be a good model, it is only successful if you choose the right instructors. It would be best if you looked for the following qualities in a future instructor:

  • Good communication skills
  • Ability to lead a group of people
  • Open to feedback
  • Comfortable with public speaking
  • Well-respected/carries authority with their peers

Choosing a Program Design Partner

Investing in instructor-led training programs can be daunting, and it may be challenging to get buy-in from your leadership team. Success or failure depends on choosing the right partner to develop your training program. A program design partner will work with you to develop your objectives, build a train-the-trainer program, design activities, and measure results.

What to ask a possible Instructor-Led Training design partner:

  • Ask to see their portfolio
  • Ask for pricing information up front
  • Ask if they have won any awards for their work
  • Ask to see case studies of past projects or a reference list
  • Ask if they have any ratings or reviews

Pros and Cons of Instructor-Led Training


  • Open Dialogue – Instructors are able to leverage learner questions to ensure they are retaining information. Learners have access to their instructors for immediate feedback. There’s value in having instructors and students face-to-face to read facial expressions and body language.
  • Adaptability – When your instructor can see and evaluate their learners in real-time, they have the opportunity to adapt their curriculum accordingly. If they have a more advanced group of students, they can move faster; if their learners need more time on a subject, they can review the content.
  • Building a Network – By providing an environment for a group of people to learn together, you give them the opportunity to interact, build relationships, and grow as a team.
  • Distraction-Free Environment – When your learners are distracted, their retention rate decreases. By having a dedicated education area, they are not tempted to check their email, scroll through social media, or work on something else.
  • Engaging and Interactive – When your learners are sitting in their training, they can be engaged with hands-on activities, open dialogue, and interactions with the instructor and other learners.


  • Expenses – There are recurring expenses tied to instructor-led training such as venue rental, instructor fee, travel expenses, cutting into employee productivity, training materials, food, and drink, etc.
  • Time Away From Work – While it may be great to get your learners away from the distractions of the office, the downside is that…they are away from the office. Virtual learning tools allow learners to work around their schedule, but instructor-led training requires workers to block off a day (or a few days) to be away from the office and their normal duties.
  • Fewer Learners at a Time – Instructor-led training courses tend to be facilitated in small groups; this means that you are able to train fewer students at a time; virtual training, such as eLearning, can be used for large groups simultaneously.

Is Instructor-Led Training Right for You?

In this article, we covered the basics of instructor-led training, including what it is, choosing an instructor-led training partner, and the advantages and disadvantages of instructor-led training programs.Are you ready to include instructor-led training in your program?

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