ILT Remains A Top Tool for L&D

10/4/2021

Not long ago, remote work seemed like an unattainable dream for many employees. Today, it’s a way of life. Although some organizations have returned to the office – and others never left – many more have offered employees a hybrid approach to work. According to a survey by Owl labs, about 62% of employees work from home at least occasionally. Thanks to greater high-speed internet accessibility and changing attitudes about remote work, it seems a hybrid environment may be the future of the workplace. 

Virtual Learning: “The New Thing?”

Twenty years ago, corporate training and employee development had a similar process: round tables, large flip notebooks, water and snacks, and handouts at every seat. As the technology evolved and virtual training became less cost-prohibitive, more companies began investing in virtual training to support different types of learners and provide on-demand training for employees. 

When the pandemic forced millions of employees to work from home, virtual training became more in-demand and gradually presented as the go-to training method. After all, necessity is the mother of invention, and L&D teams needed to pivot quickly to continue supporting staff. 

There are a plethora of reasons to love vILT: training is convenient, scalable, and cost-effective. Still, there’s nothing that can completely replace the original. vILT may be today’s learning and development darling, but instructor-led training will always hold a large space in instructional design.

Perks of In-Person Training

Instructor-led training, a more traditional way of training employees, has been the norm since the beginning of the training industry, and for a good reason: it works. ILT offers several powerful benefits that can’t be replaced by virtual learning methods.

Encourages Interpersonal Interaction

Humans are social creatures – even the introverts among us occasionally enjoy interpersonal communication with peers. About 70% of employees say friendships are the most critical aspect of happy work life. Months on end of “working where you live and living where you work” can lead to increased feelings of loneliness. In another survey, researchers found full-time remote workers reported their loneliness increased 67% from when they worked in an office environment.  In-person training offers time for employees to come together to learn and socialize with their peers.

Provides Fewer Distractions

Multitasking is a chronic problem among employees. Many employees fall back on multitasking behaviors to pack in as much work as possible on any given day, which decreases productivity by 40%. Although virtual-led training is convenient, distractions abound. Face-to-face learning eliminates many distractions from the virtual environment, letting employees focus on the instructor and material more effectively. 

Avoids Technology Glitches and Access Problems

Reliable high-speed data and remote work go hand-in-hand, but that doesn’t mean there aren’t tech problems to derail employee training. Virtual-led training runs the risk of alienating employees who aren’t as tech-savvy as other employees, from dropped calls to internet outages to software troubles. In-person training removes much of the technology element from a participant perspective and levels the playing field for all employees. 

Supports Better Group Dynamics

Group work helps learners practice what they’ve learned, share different perspectives on material with their peers, and build camaraderie in a neutral space away from day-to-day work stresses. Employee teams may be more willing to share experiences and insights during in-person group training – and they won’t be able to turn off their cameras during the session, either. 

Training In The Hybrid Workforce

The popularity of virtual training has increased as the opportunity and feasibility of in-person sessions has decreased, while the need to deliver content to learners has remained constant or even increased. However, instructor-led training will continue to have a permanent space in L&D planning, because the key benefits of ILT are almost impossible to replace. 

Companies that encourage a hybrid work environment of remote and in-office work can enjoy an equally hybrid approach to training with blended learning – the combination of virtual and in-person facilitated sessions as well as additional sessions through microlearning. The blended learning approach gives employees the best of virtual and online learning while helping team members with different learning styles succeed. 

Virtual training vs. in-person training? In today’s world, you don’t have to choose.

When you're selecting a virtual instructor, what qualities are most important? Download our eBook to learn 5 non-negotiables for your virtual-led instruction team. 

DOWNLOAD eBOOK

You May Also Like

These Stories on learning and development