What is Instructor-Led Training (ILT)?

instructor-led training

Instructor-led training is any formal training scenario that is led by an instructor or trainer for the purpose of communicating learning concepts (theoretical or practical) to an individual learner or group of learners.

Traditionally, instructor-led training is held in classroom-style environments with the instructor/trainer leading the session. The duration of an ILT session can last anywhere from thirty minute presentations to multi-day courses. 

ILT Training Materials

ILT sessions come in many different forms and styles depending on:

  • The learning objective of the course
  • The learning preference of the audience
  • The complexity of the topic
  • The practicality level of the skills being learned

Some ILT sessions may consist of one-way communication where the trainer imparts knowledge by delivering a lecture. As technology has developed, most educators and trainers also incorporate visual aids such as slides or Powerpoint presentations. 

Rather than speaking to learners directly for the full session, many ILT instructors will also break up sessions with videos, break-out groups to discuss and apply concepts with practical activities, or encourage participation from learners with questions or interactive sections of the training session. Most trainers agree that this makes for a far more effective learning experience when it comes to ILT.

Do have the fundamental principles of instructional design down? Try this quiz to check your instructional design knowledge:
Quiz: How Well Do You Really Know Your Instructional Design Fundamentals?

The Evolution of ILT

As mentioned above, technology has played a big role in how instructors lead these types of training sessions over the years. Most of us are familiar with lecture-style sessions. They’re still common in many colleges and universities around the world, especially as these sessions tend to involve large groups of learners which can limit the potential for interactivity. 

In the last couple of decades, eLearning has been emerging as a more viable and cost-effective way of imparting vital learning experiences, particularly in the corporate training sector. But many instructional design experts agree that ILT still has an important role to play in a truly holistic and effective learning experience. 

Plus, the advance of technology means that ILT does not always have to be delivered in person. Many instructors make liberal use of webinars and virtual classrooms to conduct remote ILT sessions. The global pandemic of 2020 has placed this type of solution in the spotlight as many corporate L&D teams scrambled to transfer in-person sessions to an online environment. 

If your virtual classroom training needs a revamp, check out this recent webinar recording with virtual training master Kassy LaBorie and her top five tips for delivering effective virtual ILT:
5 Keys for Effective Virtual Classroom Training with Kassy LaBorie

5 Factors for Successful Virtual Instructor-Led Learning Infographic

Criticisms of ILT

There are crucial reasons for the recent swing towards eLearning. ILT can present some costly disadvantages and challenges.

For one thing, it’s time consuming. Both the development and delivery of quality ILT takes a lot of time and instructional design expertise. Plus, it places a high time demand on both facilitators and the learners who are taking the training, which means taking employees away from their day-to-day responsibilities to make time for training.

Closely associated with time is the cost associated with ILT. From travel expenses to renting out training spaces or maintaining an in-person training facility, ILT can consume a lot more budget than eLearning.

In a time where millennials are beginning to dominate the workforce, traditional ILT is quickly being seen as an outdated and out of touch method for training. Most employees prefer self-paced online learning to marathon in-person training sessions.

Lastly, ILT is often not conducive to training for practical on-the-job skills, especially for more physical roles where learning is focused on the use and maintenance of machinery or equipment. 

Recent Trends

Despite the perceived disadvantages of instructor-led sessions, there is still an important place for ILT in the world of training. Many organizations are finding ways to combine ILT from expert instructors with online assessment and follow-up learning to ensure skills are learned and implemented in the most effective way possible. 

This is known as blended learning and it’s particularly popular with today’s educational institutions, although lots of corporate training programs are making use of it, too. 

The benefit of blended learning is that it takes the most important advantages of both ILT and eLearning and combines them to provide as effective a learning environment as possible. 

The Future of ILT

Many experts believe that, despite the rise of eLearning there will always be a place for instructor-led training at the L&D table, even in a virtual environment. ILT provides the opportunity to learn from experienced and effective instructors as well as interact with other learners and achieve a solid understanding of important concepts before the practical application begins. 

Learn how one organization moved from marathon ILT sessions to effective microlearning modules quickly and efficiently:
Solenis Uses Synapse To Build 1,000+ “Learn It Now” eLearning Modules

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