When comparing Instructor-Led Training (ILT) and Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), asking which one is the best is often the wrong question. To decide between the two (or to blend the two methods), you must first decide what your goals of the training are. Those goals direct the method of instructional delivery. If all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail. If you are determined to deliver all training through VILT, you lose sight of the reasons for the training. Consider the advantages and disadvantages of both methods, then select the right one (or blend) for your goals.
ILT training provides great flexibility to shift delivery from the expected schedule to whatever your training group lacks. The instructor may have been charged with teaching, say, a new billing system. Yet the accounting department employees may reveal gaps in foundation computer skills that make implementing the new billing system almost impossible. A live instructor can pick up on those gaps and remediate that learning before moving forward with the intended curriculum.
Your employees may react more favorably to ILT training than to a virtual trainer. Their time may be more efficiently spent because of the free exchange of ideas, questions and concerns. They can emerge from training—whether an intensive, in-depth, narrowly focused session or a longer, more comprehensive course—as more productive and more motivated to demonstrate mastery.
ILT training is possibly more costly than VILT, but delivers an immediacy VILT may lack. Some other benefits:
- Free exchange of ideas
- Quick responses to concerns or questions
- Hands-on guidance for especially confusing or complex training
- Private questioning—Some employees are not comfortable asking content questions that, they feel, expose them to criticism
Include the potential instructor at the planning stages, when selecting the delivery method, as she or he may have insight into which (ILT training or VILT training) will be more effective.
Virtual instructor-led training is ideal when you have multiple challenges facing your learning management system (LMS):
- Budget concerns—No travel, hotel or meal expenses for conferences and meetings held off-site
- Multiple locations—Teams across the country or globe can all tap into the synchronicity of a VILT session and receive the same training at the same time.
Here the instructor is virtually present to remote workforces. Still live, but live at a distant location and responsive to multiple users, the instructor cannot, naturally, address every user’s concerns personally. Nor can the virtual instructor move around the room or take questions in private.
The process is still interactive, but VILT is generally more suitable for one-sided delivery:
Include asynchronous response methods for your learners, who often will have questions long after the VILT session but may not know where to turn for answers.
Why Not Both?
The ideal solution is to blend ILT and VILT to reap the benefits and reduce the deficiencies of both methods. A roll-out could begin with VILT sessions to bring the same information at the same time to the greatest number of staff members. Following that up with intensive, ILT sessions can make more efficient use of the instructor’s time, since everyone will at least have an initial exposure to the new information before sitting down for the ILT coursework.
Check your goals first, because the order of the two methods can flip as needed. Perhaps you want to motivate your employees with ILT and follow up some time later with a refresher VILT session.
To learn more about the virtues and drawbacks of both VILT and ILT training, contact Alphanumeric Systems, Inc. today.