Whether you're a leader, business owner, HR professional, or simply an employee interested in their own development, you may have wondered what kind of training will get you a better result - instructor-led training, or online training? This article aims to clear up some of the myths surrounding these two kinds of training.
A great place to start is to understand that ILT and OT are two very broad categories and there are many different ways to deliver both of these kinds of training. So which kind of training is right for you or your organisation, and what should you expect from your training service provider? As Ella Fitzgerald once sang, 'taint what you do, it's how you do it.' Continue reading to discover some answers to these questions…
What is Instructor-Led Training (ILT)?
When I talk about ILT in this article, I am referring to training that is held face to face, and is led by an instructor or facilitator. Most of us are quite familiar with this kind of learning environment as we spend our formative years in this setting in a school classroom. In the corporate environment, this kind of training is usually organised ahead of time and an ILT session can run anywhere from an hour long to several days of training.
So now you know the what of ILT, what about the how?
ILT sessions can be delivered in various ways. Some being more effective than others, depending on how the learner filters information. Have you ever sat through a training presentation and after walking out, the only thing you remembered was what you ate for breakfast that day?
In my years as a learner, one of my most common complaints about my own learning experiences were that there was too much theory and not enough practice. But that's just me, I learn best by doing. Now with my experience and training as a trainer, coach and enneagram facilitator, I understand the assortment of learning styles that exist in the world. I now know that my worst training day may just be someone else's ideal learning environment.
An instructor in the ILT environment may deliver the training content in a variety of ways such as;
At Modo, our facilitators are able to introduce and blend all of these content delivery methods to a single session for the most effective training for each learners development.
Pros & Cons of Instructor-Led Training
ILT is a tried and tested method of delivering new information to learners, and yet it is not without limitations. Here's some of the things to consider when investing in Instructor Led Training.
What is Online Training (OT)?
Well before the birth of the internet, distance education has been offered by numerous universities and other education institutions. Once upon a time, distance education involved mailing your assignments back to the learning institution and waiting for your grade to be mailed back to you. Thankfully, with the invention of the internet, distance education went digital and online training was born. OT is also sometimes referred to as Computer Based Training (CBT) or e-Learning.
Online training has gifted us the ability to learn and receive feedback on our learning in real time, at a time and place that is convenient to us. If you've started a new job recently, chances are that online training is familiar to you. It has become common place and practice nowadays for staff inductions and safety briefings to be completed by a series of online videos and tests.
Pros & Cons of Instructor-Led Training
Although online training is fairly new in the history of education, it is a hugely popular training delivery method and has proven its effectiveness in some areas, particularly for computer-based digital skills. Here's some of the things to consider when investing in online training.
A Myth About the Cost of Online Training
I was hesitant about listing the cost of training as a pro or con, because indeed it can be both. Typically, online training has been promoted and advertised as the low cost alternative. Whilst this is true in many cases, it's not always true. On average ILT requires a higher investment per employee, but we're not all average are we?
Small businesses might find it cumbersome to enter into a 3 or 6 month project to creating e-Learning material - which may only be used once per year. Alternatively if the business chooses to use publicly available training content and materials, they may find that it's not fit for purpose and not contextually relevant. Furthermore, some training topics are more effectively delivered face to face, such as interpersonal skills training, so delivering some training topics online may not get your your best outcome.
So, whether you're budget conscious or not (and especially if you're budget conscious) ask yourself a few questions before you jump into online training - and understand the real cost of your employee training.
Looking for Something Else?
Are you finding that neither instructor led training, nor online training will meet your needs? Well, don't despair, there are a range of other ways that you can support yours or your employees development. Let's take a look at your options.
This kind of training combines the best of both worlds. The flexibility and convenience of online training, with the support and engagement of an instructor. This kind of training can also be delivered in different ways. For example, it could consist of participants completing online modules, either with or without an instructor available in the virtual room. Another blended learning approach is to deliver face to face training or coaching sessions, followed by an online module which helps the learner transform their learning into knowledge even after the instructor has left the room.
Coaching & Mentoring
Technically, this isn't training at all. Whilst coaching and mentoring doesn't focus on teaching new technical skills, it can be extremely effective at facilitating employees to access new resources and ways of being. Many of our coaching and mentoring clients have started out seeking 'training' in soft skills such as confidence, only to find through coaching that they have all the confidence they need, and the process of coaching facilitated them to tap into this resource and put it into action.
As you can see, not all instructor-led training provides the most effective learning space. Similarly, not all online training is going to save you money or get you your outcomes at a cheaper cost. Both of these training modalities can be effective when used in the right way, and of course there might be certain contexts or training topics where a particular modality would be more effective. For example, learning verbal communication skills may not be highly effective when learning silently in front of a computer, and we wouldn't recommend learning how to code software without a computer in sight.
Did you know that we can help you with your instructor-led training and online training needs?
Contact us for a free consultation to answer your questions and help you understand what's right for you and your team.