Online Instructor-led Training – More Critical Than Ever?

Everyone has sat through an instructor-led training class before, whether they have flashbacks to high school or a yearly safety training course, complete with outdated VHS tapes. Instructor-led training has always been one of the most traditional ways to teach, and even in today’s mobile world, it’s still massively beneficial. That’s why at ReadyTech, we believe instructor-led training will always have a place in learning and development; you need to do it right, however. In this article, we attempt to explain how you can offer a great learning experience that keeps everyone safe and engaged in today’s world.

Did you know that most people forget what they learned in training shortly after a training event? How effective therefore is an instructor-led training session going to be if it’s one-and-done, and there’s no way to refer back to the training materials? Not very.

Can You Achieve Great Results Virtually?

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

As a training modality, the bad news was that virtual was only historically used on average for 10-15% of training, with in-person instructor-led training being the most common and even self-paced e-Learning more commonly used at many organizations. So, while some were well-prepared in terms of skills, technology, and processes, to ramp up their existing VILT operations when the Covid-19 pandemic hit, far more were caught flat-footed and had to pivot quickly. An instructor-led training approach was not new to the industry—it had been around for two decades or more. Those established experts and authors had long shared the best practices for making virtual classroom training interactive, engaging, and ultimately effective via their books, articles, and conference presentations.

VILT is held in several ways, including:

  • The webinar – this is where there is one facilitator and several participants. These students may be asked to complete polling, voting, or video conferencing.
  • 1:1 — This is Similar to peer-to-peer training with one facilitator and 1 participant.
  • Small-Group — 3-5 participants with one facilitator in a virtual classroom setting and often learn new processes or tasks.
  • The lecture — Is simply a large group of learners with one facilitator who leads the session.
  • The workshop — participants come together and learn new software or tasks through hands-on training. Learners can walk away and have time to practice independently, with additional homework or a follow-up session later on.
  • The Virtual Classroom — Like a lecture, learners are muted and watch the facilitator walk through the activity.

With an instructor leading the session, we come to hybrid or blended learning solutions. These begin with workers watching an eLearning course. Going to an instructor-led training session to ask questions and cover essential details more thoroughly is becoming the de facto model for corporate training.

Even Your eLearning Course Needs Instructor-Led Online Training

Learners can’t focus online the same way that they focus in a classroom. If your training previously took place over a whole day (the corporate default), don’t expect the identical learners to spend 8 hours in front of a screen – they won’t learn! Many folks still think online training is cold, faceless, and automated. And the idea of training without an authentic human element, an actual person-to-person connection, is too much to bear. However, we know something they don’t: online training can go hand-in-hand with an Instructor-Led Training course. Blended training comes in different forms. Mostly, it’s about the tools and environment you choose to use when introducing an instructor into your online training program.

Partner With Expert Producers Who Can Help Manage the Technology and the Learner Experience.

In Summer 2021, the most common approach is Virtual Instructor-Led Training. Virtual Instructor-Led Training software allows you to bring the instructor into the online classroom. Webinars and video conferencing tools connect personnel online, enabling real-time training from anywhere in the world, connecting them with a subject matter expert. But don’t mistake a webinar for a classroom; you can’t run a class with 50 people and expect it to be successful.

If you want your VILT to work, you’ll have to limit the number of people in your online classroom.

Now that it’s clear that ILT and online training can be combined, here are a few reasons why pairing the two is a good idea.

You Have Access to Expert Advice Across Different Channels

Asking for help during training can be challenging and even embarrassing at times. For some learners, typing a question on a chat forum is easier because they feel anonymous. For others, it takes in-person access to a subject matter expert before they’ll raise their hand.

Either way, combining your online training program with Virtual Instructor-Led Training lets learners decide when and how they ask for guidance. Not to mention that ILT will allow learners to benefit from instant responses, too.

Personalized Reinforcement of New Knowledge and Skills

The most significant advantage of classroom training is that learners can access subject matter expertise in real-time. But remembering everything that’s discussed during a training session can be tricky. And attempting to take notes and listen to the instructor simultaneously can be even more problematic. Luckily, Virtual Instructor-Led Training holds the answer.

After learners attend a webinar or lab, they can return to the online recording to recap any missed or forgotten points. Throughout the online ILT session, learners can also ask the session leader for further resources if there’s a concept they don’t understand or a subject matter that they are especially interested in. These resources can be retrieved online as part of the eLearning side of the training program.

Learning as an Immersive Experience

Today, learning is about so much more than pure information recall. It’s about understanding, practicing, and experiencing new knowledge and skills in a meaningful and relevant way. And surveys show nothing beats instructor-led online training when it comes to an immersive learning experience.

Whether virtual or classroom-based, ILT allows learners to participate in their learning actively. This is done through Instructor-Led Training activities like brainstorming, problem-solving, or role-playing. Learners then can return to the online learning platform to practice their new skills on quizzes and interactive video simulations.

All in all, this offers learners more opportunities to learn, practice, repeat and explore new knowledge and skills. More opportunity means a deeper understanding, and deeper understanding often leads to better recall and application in the workplace. Those are a whole lot of positives!

Learning as Part of a Community

We all want it: a learning organization. These are characterized by corporate cultures and values that put continuous learning at the forefront of everything. Because online learning connects members from different teams, offices, and even countries, it goes a long way towards creating a connected learning community. Even if just via discussion forums on the platform.

But throw an instructor into that mix, and you’ve got an even better community than before. Why? Because instructor-led online training places learners in the same room simultaneously and gives them a voice. The same students get the chance to learn from each other, interact with an expert instructor and build personal relationships with colleagues. One of the greatest benefits of pairing ILT with your online training is that the combination caters to different learning styles. Staff members can learn online in whichever environment suits them best. But they also have access to virtual or traditional classroom training, where instructors adapt their speed of delivery and teaching and approach to the particular needs of their audience.

When To Use Instructor-Led Training?

It’s beneficial when the skills are complex, or the job involves high-risk tasks and responsibilities. For example, complex soft skills required for leadership or customer service might be taught through live training activities, like role play. Doctors, nurses, pilots, and police officers are clear examples of high-risk and high-responsibility jobs that require Instructor-Led Training and in-person practice and feedback.

Summing up, we believe online instructor-led training is more critical than ever; VILT comes with a wide range of advantages that make learning more scalable, cost-effective, and engaging for remote learners. While these advantages are encouraging, it’s essential to prepare for the disadvantages that may come with VILT. Why not empower your instructors with the training solutions and technologies to deliver excellent online training?

Let’s Talk

With ReadyTech, you get easy setup, global reach, instructor features, and 24/7 live support. Make classroom and lab setup easy while providing instructors with industry-leading features to optimize the learning experience. Our customers report significant improvements in learning speed, reduced system downtime, less dependence on internal IT, and noticeable gains in training image performance. Contact us today by clicking here.