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What is Instructor-Led Training? 

Partnering with experienced ILT creators is an important element to both developing and evaluating a successful program. Select a partner that understands your company’s unique needs, develops the best ILT program for those needs, and is able to clearly demonstrate verifiable training outcomes.

What is Instructor-Led Training?

Instructor-led training, commonly known as ILT, is any training that is facilitated by an instructor, either online or in a classroom setting. Instructor-led training can be delivered in a lecture-style classroom setting, an interactive workshop that allows for on-site practice of the skill, or virtually using video conferencing tools. However it's delivered, ILT is an ideal option for companies that need to train on highly complex topics, require hands-on interactive learning, value face-to-face interaction, and can allocate time for learners to immerse in full/multi-day training sessions.

This style of training connects learners with instructors in a group setting that encourages interaction and discussion. Leveraging an instructor who is experienced in the subject matter engages students more deeply, allowing for greater knowledge transfer. Because ILT is person-to-person, offering real-time feedback, it can be adjusted to different learning styles and embraces multiple methods of teaching.

Advantages of Instructor-Led Training

Today’s companies need to offer different types of learning in order to train on different skills, address a diversified workforce, and address issues with remote and disparate work locations. And while this myriad of solutions is a strong comprehensive approach to learning, nothing can truly replace the interactive experience that comes with instructor -led training. ILT keeps attendees engaged, brings instructor expertise directly to learners, provides hands-on demonstrative learning opportunities, and is highly effective in terms of knowledge retention.


What are the benefits of instructor-led training?

  • Personalized learning that allows instructors to tailor their approach and build 1:1 connections with learners.
  • A complete feedback loop, allowing learners to advise on potential confusions, lesson speed, or clarity issues. The instructor can adjust accordingly and incorporate learnings into future ILT offerings.
  • Fixed costs and agreed-upon investment of time, which enables L&D leadership to clearly understand and track ILT ROI.
  • The inherent efficiency of instructor-led training allows an organization to deliver incrementally higher training hours for more learners per hour of instructor time.
  • Networking opportunities that empower learners to connect with colleagues for deeper engagement company-wide.
    Disruption or distraction are minimized since learners are engaged in two-way communication and learning with the instructor.
  • Learners often perceive higher value -- an investment in them by employers -- with ILT offerings that can lead to better training outcomes and long-term team loyalty.

How is Instructor-Led Training Conducted?

There are two general types of instructor-led training, with each having multiple variations. Each has both benefits and constraints so L&D leadership should clearly understand their learners’ needs, training subject matter, and other factors when deciding how to design their ILT program.

Location-dependent instructor led training is the more traditional form of ILT and typically takes place in an office, classroom, training center, or conference room. Virtual instructor-led training (vILT) takes place in a digital environment using video conference tools.

Classroom Learning

Most people’s first experience with instructor-led training was classroom based. In fact, for most of the world, this is the type of learning environment that feels most familiar. As such, classroom ILT is a more comfortable way to train employees as they already understand what to expect from the learning experience. Classroom learning can be with a live instructor or one that is delivering the training to a live room of learners through video engagement. In fact, while classroom-based ILT and vILT may seem mutually exclusive, pairing these two strategies together can have greater benefit to both the learners and the organization.

One obvious downside to classroom learning is inherent in its title -- the need for a physical room in which to do the training. Given space restrictions and disparate work teams, classroom ILT might not be the right solution for every company in the current business environment.

What is Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT)?

Online training’s benefits are clear -- most notably, flexibility and cost savings. Instructor-led training has its own advantages in terms of human connectivity and hands-on learning. By combining both, vILT is more than the sum of its parts offering a myriad of opportunities and benefits neither can deliver on their own.

Virtual Instructor Led Training (vILT) takes instructor-led training digital, delivering live instructor training virtually using video conferencing tools. This convergence of instructor-led training and online delivery creates interactive experiences that engage learners in a virtual classroom environment. vILT connects instructors with learners in disparate locations for a more dynamic and cost-effective L&D offering.

A common misnomer about vILT is that it is synonymous with a boring, one-way webinar. However, when developed strategically and designed with learners in mind, vILT has the ability to deliver a virtual experience with similar levels of engagement as in-person instructor-led training. Engaging vILT must be learner-centric with frequent two-way communication built into each class. Another critical component to successful vILT is a dynamic facilitator who can simultaneously interact with the virtual platform, engage the learners, and effectively deliver the learning content.

There has been a notable shift in the need for virtual instructor-led training given the increasingly remote workforce as a result of the changing business environment. Recently, many organizations found themselves scrambling to shift how they approach and conduct L&D trainings. Those that were utilizing instructor-led training were tasked with determining how to make that training work effectively in a virtual environment. Deciding how to still deliver these corporate training sessions safely and effectively has become a priority; L&D leaders that partnered with knowledgeable vILT developers were able to deliver current ILT in a vILT format quickly and with less downtime.

How to Develop Instructor-Led Training Programs

Every organization has a unique technical environment, business challenges, goals, brand and culture. Each of these aspects needs consideration when building an ILT program that's designed to succeed. Developing an instructor-led training program -- either in person or virtually -- allows L&D teams to deliver value to both the company and its teams.

So what’s the best way to develop your ILT or vILT programs?

  • Step #1: Consultation with an instructor-led training partner to assess your needs, business goals, challenges, and other factors that lead to success.
  • Step #2: Design the custom ILT or vILT solution that addresses those needs.
  • Step #3: Develop the instructor-led content and materials.
  • Step #4: Deliver ILT content, measuring performance and fine-tuning as training is completed/measured.

Learning is a continuous process that does not end with a single ILT session. Developing a strong and effective instructor-led training program should take this into account and be designed to provide ongoing offerings for learners. ILT programs should inspire learning, align to company goals, and be designed for the specific needs of each team.

Ensure ILT is Working in Your Organization

As with any L&D program, determining training goals and evaluating outcomes are critical to ILT execution. There are specific reasons to select instructor-led training for L&D delivery; aligning goals to those reasons will make post-training evaluation more effective. To truly drive success, L&D programs, including ILT and vILT deployments, must demonstrate that a learner's knowledge and skills improved post-training. Given the inherent investment in instructor-led training, ensuring a way to gauge and evaluate learner improvements will provide insights on your ROI.. These critical metrics, along with many others, must be considered when evaluating your L&D strategy.

The in-person nature of both ILT and vILT programs provide opportunities to quickly and efficiently evaluate not only the instructor, but also the learners’ skills and knowledge. A myriad of evaluation methods can be used to evaluate individual ILT elements and the entire program including self-assessment, trainer evaluation forms, subject matter testing, manager/peer feedback, on-the-job observation, and learning KPIs that are determined prior to ILT delivery.

The Benefits of Blended Learning

All L&D solutions must be carefully crafted and delivered with each organization’s challenges, budget, goal, and resources in mind. More often than not that means taking a blended approach to learning through deployment of varying styles, modalities, and delivery methods. These could include a customized mix of self-paced learning, ILT, vILT, and experiential learning opportunities.

Utilizing a blended learning approach empowers L&D leaders to both control the training offered while allowing learners to maintain some autonomy in terms of how, when, and where they learn. In short, ILT is a highly effective component of blended learning. Instructors can adjust the training based on the learners’ needs. Instruction can be delivered in-person, online, and back again based on different working locations. And strategies like microlearning allow learners to absorb smaller amounts of information which makes learning 17% more efficient, according to the Journal of Applied Psychology. With so many variables to manage, it's easy to see why a blended learning approach is a powerful L&D strategy.

Take the Next Step: How to Begin ILT

Developing an instructor-led training program, whether on it’s own or as part of a blended approach, is one of the most effective projects that today’s L&D teams can undertake to deliver value to both the company and its teams. Every organization has a unique technical environment, business challenges, goals, brand and culture. Each of these aspects needs consideration when building an ILT program that's designed to succeed. So while you may be asking “what is instructor-led training,” perhaps a better question is “how can I start my ILT program today?” 

Partnering with experienced ILT creators is an important element to both developing and evaluating a successful program. Select a partner that understands your company’s unique needs, develops the best ILT program for those needs, and is able to clearly demonstrate verifiable training outcomes. They should also be committed to an ongoing relationship with your L&D team to ensure lasting support and results for any training program deployed. 

Ardent provides custom ILT solutions that drive performance improvements and deliver critical learning to teams throughout the world. Contact us today to start the conversation about your ILT and vILT program needs.