Ask an Instructional Designer: Tips to Facilitate Instructor-Led Training (ILT)
It may seem that in the world of online instruction and eLearning, instructor-led training (ILT) has become obsolete. However, the most robust and effective employee training programs still incorporate ILT components to increase engagement and make use of the advantages of collaborative learning environments.
In order to take full advantage of what ILT can provide for professional development and staff training, it is critical to craft a program that offers:
- Well-qualified facilitators;
- Powerful content; and
- A blended educational approach.
In fact, employees draw significant benefit from training led by instructors when learning complex or novel information. Any efficient training program features competent ILT in addition to newer eLearning options.
- Well-Qualified Facilitators
Employee training can be an expensive necessity, which means that the foundation of an ILT program starts with carefully selecting the facilitators. A facilitator must have experience with the subject matter as well as the ability to present it effectively, and the skills to manage a group learning environment.
Great facilitators use open-ended questions to drive discussions and use storytelling to engage the audience with the subject matter. The value of ILT comes from facilitators that are prepared to use various educational techniques to increase engagement, such as hands-on experience and group activities, in addition to the traditional lecture format.
Consider training ILT facilitators on adult learning concepts and strategies. These include skills in presentation, how to conduct question-and-answer sessions, and lecture techniques that maintain high levels of engagement. This will give them more tools to help learners understand and retain the training material, and lead to better employee training outcomes.
- Powerful Content
While instructors can offer unique, personal insight into the training material, the content still needs to be potent to maximize the value ILT can provide. Learning objectives must be clearly established, and then a specific learning plan developed for each employee training class. The learning plan should detail how and when content is delivered, as well as how to assess employee progress.
With the objectives identified and the learning plan in place, the training content can be assembled and should consist of a variety of modalities, such as group activities, individual assessments, roleplaying, and facilitator-guided discussions. Incorporate audio-visual components and learner guides to involve different learning styles.
- Blended Educational Approach
With the advent of comprehensive and productive learning technology options, it makes sense to incorporate a mixture of online content into employee training. This can reduce overall costs for training, as suitable content can be presented via online course modules and the ILT components can be reserved for demonstrations or tutorials, when using a facilitator would be most advantageous.
Learning technology also allows for greater flexibility for learners and offers alternative assessment options to identify training areas that need bolstering. Online course modules support the education provided by the instructor-led training and ensure critical information is properly presented and retained.
By blending ILT and learning technology, learners get the best opportunities for engagement and education. Engaged learners are more likely to use what they’ve learned while on the job. Having digital assets available also makes refreshing their skills easier down the road.
Facilitating Instructor-Led Training
The significant benefits offered by instructor-led training makes it worth incorporating into any employee training program:
- The opportunity for staff to ask relevant questions, and receive experience-based direction means better retention and information utilization.
- ILT components can increase focus by creating a distraction-free environment by having facilitators set restrictions on cellphone and laptop use.
- Facilitators can assess whether learners are understanding the material in real-time, and make adjustments accordingly.
- ILT components have a higher perceived value for learners as the costs associated with this kind of training is apparent.
- Learners have the opportunity to network and establish relationships that builds confidence and trust.
Training is necessary and sometimes expensive. By selecting ideal facilitators and providing them with the necessary tools, creating powerful training content, and blending different adult learning modalities and platforms, any company can use training as a foundation for employee success.