ELearning is soon becoming commonplace in the corporate world. Innovative trends in the virtual learning space are kicking in, with gamification, artificial intelligence and virtual reality all finding an easy fit. The long list of the advantages of eLearning easily outnumbers any grievances that people may have against it.
Even in the eLearning space, every learner or employee is different and may enjoy a different style of learning. Some people may find virtual training as automated, faceless and cold at times. Learners at times prefer a human touch in their training or face-to-face interaction. The biggest advantage of a trainer-led session is that the attendees can ask questions.
The trainer can also customize the content to suit the learners when he understands the level of the learners. The trainer might skip the basic content for advanced learners and might focus more on the foundation concepts for beginners. Combining Instructor Led Training (ILT) and eLearning can help conceptualize new strategies to engage employees.
What is Blended Learning?
Learning that incorporates both eLearning and ILT is known as Blended Learning. ELearning development can use different environments and tools to introduce a trainer into your online learning portal. Virtual training and a classroom environment need not be mutually exclusive. They can go hand in hand. The Industry Report training in 2018 mentions that blended learning techniques saw a rise of 34.7% from the previous year. Organizations utilized 69.3% of hours in blended learning to train their employees.
Blended Learning can be of various forms. Take for example a traditional workshop wherein the employee learns about company policies and protocols. It can be followed up with an online course on implications and the applications of the policies and protocols in depth. The employee can reference and return to this online course to review the information as and when required.
Benefits of combining ILT and eLearning
Virtual training comes with benefits such as cost savings and flexibility among others. Instructor Led Training, on the other hand, gives that much need human connection in real-time and provides the ideal opportunity to practice first-hand! So combining the two can offer unparalleled advantages and a shot in the arm to any corporate training program.
Asking a question during a live training could be intimidating and embarrassing for some. So an anonymous or one on one online chat can be an easier way for learners to get their queries resolved. Also knowing the trainer and interacting with them helps the learner open up and share their doubts and views. Blended learning gives learners this flexibility and option for how and when to ask for help.
Real-time access to the subject matter expert (SME) is the biggest strength of Instructor Led Training. But information retention can vary from learner to learner, with many a time the learner seeking a recap or a revision classroom session. Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) can be effective as a learning tool to reinforce knowledge.
When the training occurs over a web conference or webinar, learners can make use of the online recording to get a rerun of the proceedings. VILT can be interactive wherein the participant can ask for clarification or reference materials on topics that need a deep dive. Usually, the employee can access these training materials online in the eLearning section of the organization.
VILT thus helps reinforce the training concept and gives the employee an opportunity to relearn and apply accurate knowledge at the workplace.
Combining Different Styles of Learning
A real-time training session is more like a traditional classroom where mobiles need to be on mute to avoid any distractions. This helps promote attention, focus, and comprehension during the session. However, a classroom environment may not be an ideal learning space for all employees.
Learners can have different preference and styles when it comes to the uptake of knowledge. One learner might like watching a video tutorial to understand a concept while another would prefer reading notes on that topic. Some learners might like to learn alone while others might enjoy working in teams or groups. Some might prefer the peace and quiet of their desk to read online content while some learn better through real-time discussions and group activities.
Brainstorming, debates, and group discussions can help in team building. Trainer led sessions gives the employees the opportunity to learn from each other. Thus it encourages peer learning and can be an ideal immersive experience that aids knowledge transfer.
High Responsibility Jobs and Complex Skills
In some scenarios, ILT would be more useful and in some cases, online training can be more impactful. For example, while training for complex skills as required in job roles such as a pilot, nurse, surgeon or a police officer, a trainer-led session would make more sense to functionally deliver the objectives of the course. ILT can involve role plays, live simulations, and hands-on practice, so it is a perfect match for training on complex skills that are required in high responsibility job roles.
In the above-mentioned scenarios, a VILT can be utilized to propagate the knowledge to a wider audience, who may be dispersed geographically. Imagine a surgeon demonstrating an important routine which can be viewed by doctors over the LMS in other branches of the healthcare center. They can post queries in the discussion forum which can be accessed by all the learners. The possibilities are endless and the learning potential is maximized.
Improved Assessment and Tracking
A learning strategy that combines ILT along with a Learning Management System (LMS) can help track the progress of the employees and thus the effectiveness of the learning program.
For example, members of a team attend a trainer-led session on risk mitigation and conflict resolution. Later the group completes an eLearning course that includes videos, scenario-based learning, and assessments. The LMS would be able to provide a well-defined report on learner engagement in terms of course completion, performance, and progress. The LMS report would help understand the impact of the ILT on the participant’s learning.
Thus, to sum up, ILT is a great addition to your corporate training program and enhances learning when coupled with eLearning. It positively impacts employee engagement while reducing cost and time to the organization when it comes to eLearning development.
Author Bio: Swapnil Uchil
Swapnil has 7+ years of experience in e-learning and corporate training. He has expertise in learner-centered pedagogy, skill development and training need analysis. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Science and believes in the principles of life-long and experiential learning. In leisure, he enjoys trekking and sketching.