A Reality Check for New Training Professionals

Reality Check

When should I use ILT? When should I use eLearning? When should I use both, or neither?

In a perfect world we might have unlimited resources to create perfect training solutions. But we all know how unrealistic that is. If things were so utopian every training project would be created with the perfect blended learning solution: A little ILT, a little self-paced online instruction, a little content delivered via spaced repetition, and perhaps top it off with a community to support some impromptu conversation. And the amount of each element would be adjustable to the individual needs of each employee. Ah… wouldn’t that be nice.

<finger snap sound> Welcome back to reality!

You may be new to the role of training and development, and not sure when it’s best to use instructor led training(ILT) or eLearning. You may be a veteran corporate training professional still asking yourself, “When should I be using eLearning”? Or maybe you’ve walked into an organization that is currently ALL eLearning and you’re wondering, “Maybe some of this should be instructor-led”? These are common questions in our industry often asked as if it’s an either/or proposition. From an instructional design and learner-centered design perspective it’s not. But from the perspective of the business, at times, it can be one or the other.

Perhaps We’re Asking the Wrong Questions?

Let’s examine a few benefits of eLearning as they relate to instructor-led training.

  • You can easily expect a significant reduction in travel costs for both instructors and students.
  • Maintenance of special training facilities designed for ILT can be eliminated.
  • Printed, and other physical materials reduce costs when converted to digital formats.
  • Elimination of travel to training facilities reduces employee time away from the job.

There are more benefits, but you get the idea. With these benefits in mind, can you see how the questions above can become an either/or proposition? Put your business hat on and rethink it. The best learning question to ask is “What is the right mix of learning solutions”? But the best training question is “How fast can I provide business value”?

If you’ve walked into a situation with 100% ILT training courses, then your mission is most likely to “move all courses online”. If all “the business” has ever known is ILT, and moving to eLearning can eliminate high costs, why wouldn’t executives be all in with eLearning? Eliminating a multimillion dollar expense of the corporate university building sure sounds tempting, don’t you think?

How Does The Business See Training?

The business sees you, your team, and the work you produce as training. As they should. They expect you to create the most effective training course you can based on the limitations and expectations of the business. Some large companies have massive centralized Training & Development teams. Others take a more federated approach with training teams within each department. And SMBs often function with only 1 employee responsible for training. In each situation there is a different answer to each of the questions asked earlier. And yes, it sounds like I’m dodging the questions. But how you provide business value in your training role is entirely dependent on what that business is and how your leaders view the role training in that business.

You have plenty of time to be a learning professional wandering the hollowed halls of academia. But as a training professional you serve at the pleasure of the business and those who own/run it.