How to Determine the Best Training Solution for Your Team


Instructor-led training or Self-paced training? Deciding on the most effective training solution for your team can be challenging.

With the recent move to remote and hybrid work and limited office hours, scheduling training adds to the challenge. Should you use a facilitator for in-person, classroom-based training, or is virtual training a better option? If your trainees are remote, should you look into self-paced online training, such as e-learning or m-learning?

Before we discuss the factors that affect your training solutions, let’s take a look at the primary differences between traditional classroom-based instructor-led training and self-paced online training.

What is Instructor-Led Training (ILT)?

ILT involves an instructor or facilitator leading a course, either from a traditional classroom setting or a virtual classroom. In addition to teaching the class, the instructor is available to answer questions, provide examples, lead role-playing scenarios, and explain complicated material. The instructor can also gauge learner retention through small group discussions, group activities, and observations in real-time.

What is Self-Paced Training?

Self-paced training is hosted online through a virtual environment, such as a learning management system (LMS). Students can take self-paced training from any location, so employees can complete the training during their regular work day or after hours. Learners move through the material at their own pace, and quizzes and assessments are typically included to determine how well they understand the material.

How do you decide which type of training is best for you?

When deciding between instructor-led or self-paced training, consider the following factors to determine which solution will work best for your team:

  • The participants’ base knowledge; what do they already know about the topic?
  • The learners’ locations; are there geographic limitations?
  • The available time for the training; how long is the course?

Base Knowledge of Participants

The amount of knowledge that employees already have on the topic influences the type of training that will suit them best. Both types of training can be customized to fit the needs of the participants, but there are qualities of each type that make them more applicable to certain audiences.

  • ILT: If you have complex information that employees are unfamiliar with, then having a live instructor guide them through the material and answer questions is the better option. An instructor can explain complex topics, use a whiteboard to draw or write out examples, and gauge the retention of the participants to pace the class accordingly.
  • Self-Paced: If employees need training to be updated on a fundamental procedure they currently practice, then self-paced online training should be sufficient. Or, if they need training on a topic that can be broken down into steps and manageable chunks, self-paced training is a good option.

Related Article: 5 Adult Learning Techniques to Improve Your Training Programs

Location of Participants

Geographic considerations are important in determining which type of learning experience will work best for your team. Are all of the employees who need training in one place? Or, are they in multiple locations?

  • ILT: If employees are located in the same office or state, then instructor-led training is a more viable option for corporate training. It’s easier and more practical to gather everybody for a day or more of training if they all work closely together. You can also consider another form of ILT—virtual instructor-led training (VILT). VILT, which can be hosted as a webinar or through a video conferencing app like Zoom, allows participants to be online with a facilitator at the same time from anywhere with internet access. The instructor can still field questions, and participants can collaborate through discussion forums.
  • Self-Paced: With a globally expanding workforce, the practicality of instructor-led training becomes tricky. It can be costly to fly employees to a central location for training, and it can be difficult to coordinate schedules across time zones for a live virtual session. So, if you have employees located across the country or internationally, self-paced training is the most cost-effective option, because it limits travel to the training.

Time Allotted for Training

Another crucial consideration is the amount of time allotted for the training. With learners’ busy schedules, it can be hard to get everybody focused on the training without getting distracted by daily tasks and workloads.

  • ILT: Instructor-led training typically takes at least one day to complete, sometimes more. If participants are not centrally located, take travel time into consideration when planning for training sessions. Also, this type of training is better suited for learners who might find the responsibility of scheduling time to complete online training modules challenging.
  • Self-Paced: Elearning and m-learning generally reduce the amount of time a participant has to take away from work, but sometimes it’s at the cost of question-and-answer time, hands-on group activities, and feedback. Elearning courses should be broken up into modules that are no more than one hour each, so learners can go through them at their convenience and not get overwhelmed.

What About a Blended Learning Experience?

An option to consider for the modern workplace is blended learning! This type of training program incorporates the face-to-face value of instructor-led training, with the convenience of self-paced online learning. Complex topics can be taught in a classroom or breakout room in the office, while simpler, procedure-based tasks can be taught on-demand through interactive self-paced modules. Blended learning also benefits the different learning styles of your employees.

Do You Want to Learn More?

ProEdit is a provider of custom instructor-led training and self-paced learning. If you’d like to learn more about pricing out a solution that works for you, contact us today.

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