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Instructor-led training, commonly referred to as ILT, is a type of training that involves a knowledgeable instructor who teaches a subject to an individual or a group of students. On the other hand, eLearning is a web-based form of education. Typically, individuals explore subjects via self-paced, digital lessons that have been created for worldwide use.

While both instructor-led online training and eLearning help companies to educate their employees, the two training styles have several differences, each with its own unique benefits and challenges.

What is Instructor-Led Training?

Instructor-led training (ILT) is exactly what the name suggests. It’s a training method that is conducted by an instructor who is an expert on a particular subject. For instance, cybersecurity techniques. The instructor teaches students material that helps them to understand a topic, or gain useful skills. Examples of instructor-led training are lectures or seminars where one person is speaking to and directing learners.

What are the Advantages of Instructor-Led Training?

Technology may have the ability to streamline several business processes, allowing companies to move faster, but there are still areas where human interfacing is needed, or even preferred. For example, when training employees on complex subject matters.

Immediate Feedback

Instructor-led online training allows students to receive immediate feedback as they learn a new subject. Suppose an instructor is covering unfamiliar material and a learner has a question regarding the content. In that case, the student can ask their question and the instructor will clarify or provide additional examples as needed to ensure everyone understands the concept. This immediate feedback allows learners to gauge their knowledge of the subject, and ultimately provides teaching opportunities for the rest of the group because others might also have the same questions.

Student Interaction Improves Learning

In traditional classroom-style trainings, students are not only learning from their instructor but also from fellow students who ask questions and provide other perspectives on the subject. As other students ask questions, and the instructor clarifies in new ways, learners will receive a well-rounded understanding of the material. Essentially, learning alongside other students allows the entire group to fill in unseen gaps in the training process.

Another way student interaction can lead to higher quality learning is through collaborative activities. In instructor-led training, the instructor may ask students to collaborate and demonstrate their understanding of a specific topic through group work. This requires students to discuss the topic with their peers and has the potential to help those who are still struggling with the material. This unique interaction can support students as they learn new concepts and implement unfamiliar skills.

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Training is Adaptable

Perhaps the greatest advantage of instructor-led training is its adaptability. The instructor can alter the training style to best meet student needs based on a preliminary assessment. After analyzing a student's abilities, the teacher can adjust instruction to optimize the training session. This looks like shifting from a lecture-based style to group work, or vice versa. This adaptability can also allow instructors to focus on group struggles, or even to move ahead of schedule when a concept is mastered, so no training time is unnecessarily wasted.

What are the Disadvantages of Instructor-Led Training?

Although instructor-led training has several benefits, there are a few drawbacks worth noting.

Time Consuming

One of its biggest disadvantages is the amount of time it entails for everyone to go at the same pace. This method of professional training takes hours of instruction, not to mention scheduled breaks. Comparatively, instructor-led training is more time-consuming than eLearning because it typically requires employees to transfer to a classroom setting, which may or may not be in the same location as a company's office space. The travel time alone can be inconvenient when planning instructor-led training events. It also usually takes longer to get large groups organized and ready to learn. When you factor in breaks, ILT is not the most time-efficient type of training.

Costly

Since instructor-led training guarantees efficient and seamless training, it is generally expensive. Knowledgeable instructors can be costly. Furthermore, if a location has to be reserved for the training, that adds to the costs, along with other employee expenses.

Best Time to Use Instructor-Led Training

Instructor-led online training has several benefits, but since its features may not work for others, it is important to know the best time to use it.

Instructor-led training is best for complex topics that require a thorough explanation, including various types of teaching methods and student assessments.

Instructor-led training is also ideal for situations in which a collaborative environment is more beneficial. Groups looking for the additional benefit of team building may benefit from choosing instructor-led online training.

What is eLearning?

eLearning is a modern type of professional training that educates learners online. It uses various digital media tools, such as videos, interactive games, diagrams, and assessments. Some common types of eLearning include virtual reality simulations, interactive videos, or presentations.

What are the Advantages of eLearning?

Instructor-led training may provide face-to-face human interaction, but eLearning also has several benefits, which makes it a viable option.

Saves Money

Since eLearning does not require the same physical space as instructor-led training, it lowers overall training costs. An instructor does not have to be paid for each session, and no classrooms or venues have to be rented in order to carry out the training. Additionally, there aren’t any transportation needs to shuttle employees to and from the training facility. eLearning bypasses all of those costly expenditures, while still offering learners a thorough education.

Saves Time

In addition to saving money, eLearning also saves companies more time. Training doesn’t have to last for long hours. Instead, learners can work on their eLearning curriculum when they have extra time during their regular workday. Even if online training needs to take place after hours, eLearning is still the more time-efficient option.

Flexibility

Flexibility in training is where eLearning outperforms ILT. Instead of getting an entire group of learners to a specific place and time, eLearning allows for training to occur anywhere with an Internet connection, and at any time. This takes into consideration each learner’s unique pace.

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What are the Disadvantages of eLearning?

eLearning also has some disadvantages.

Not Always User-Friendly

For those who are not naturally tech-savvy, eLearning can become a challenge if technical issues arise. This can lead to frustration and further complications with learning and development supervisors who are trying to troubleshoot eLearning program issues.

Lacks Personalized Feedback

eLearning can provide feedback to learners as they work through assessments, but it is not always immediate or as easily understood. If a learner receives poor marks on an assessment, they can’t always question the reasoning for the bad grade, or ask for a different explanation like they could from a training assessment given by an instructor.

Best Time to Use eLearning

Similar to instruction-led training, eLearning has both benefits and disadvantages. Knowing the best time to use eLearning can help improve its effectiveness.

eLearning works best for simpler topics, or subjects that focus on mastering a single concept at a time. This prevents learners from becoming overwhelmed with the online curriculum.

eLearning is ideal for a remote population that would be difficult to gather in one place for ILT. It also works well for employees who travel frequently (or work remotely) and cannot guarantee they will be in town on a certain day for in-person training.

Moreover, it is also cost-effective for companies with high employee turnover rates. eLearning is a better fit for companies that need to train their employees and save money at the same time.

Instructor-Led Training vs eLearning: The Takeaway

When it comes to professional learning and development, companies today have options to best fit their training needs. Instructor-led training and eLearning are both effective methods for instructing employees on a variety of topics.

Instructor-led training is ideal for complex topics that require learners to receive immediate feedback. It may help them to gain a better understanding of complex material. It is also a great option for groups that would benefit from a team-building type of environment.

eLearning works best for simpler topics that need to be covered but won’t necessarily require in-depth feedback and instruction to master. eLearning is also the perfect fit for remote company populations and employees that travel often.

Both training styles have advantages and disadvantages. The key is knowing when to use which style to ensure training is as effective as possible. At ReadyTech, we can offer advice to help you make the best selection. We offer high-quality, advanced training solutions that suit your needs. Contact us at (800) 707-1009 today for more information!