Benefits of Virtual Instructor-Led Training

Since the advent of the internet, educators have been developing virtual education applications to help improve access to education across the globe. Online learning allows anyone with an internet connection access to connect with an instructor anywhere else in the world in real time. As many industry experts and business professionals will tell you, the benefits of virtual instructor-led training are numerous and can help in a diverse range of potential applications.

For example, a classroom of schoolchildren in Lincoln, Nebraska, can video conference with zookeepers in San Diego to learn more about biology and zoology from professionals in the field without having to plan and pay for a field trip to a nearby zoo. A global enterprise can provide vital training to new team members who all live in different time zones. Perhaps your company’s team leader has to give a presentation about a new product line but their flight from another country has been delayed due to nearby volcanic ash clouds – they notify the attendees that they need to switch to a virtual seminar to stay on schedule. They send out a link and everyone can attend virtually so nothing gets held up, and no one misses a beat. 

But what are some of the pros and cons of virtual training? One of the disadvantages of virtual learning is that it requires additional screen time in a world where several different types of screens compete for an individual’s attention. On the other hand, one of the benefits of virtual online learning is that it allows for much more flexibility – students don’t need to worry about commuting, finding parking, and several other often overlooked factors. Virtual online learning also adheres to social distancing guidelines to help reduce the spread of harmful pathogens from one person to another.

The effects of online learning on student performance vary depending on several factors. While online learning may not be the best solution for every learner, it provides a means for those who otherwise might not have access to education. Every human is unique and has different preferences about how they like to learn and what methods work best for them. That said, there are still numerous benefits of online learning or virtual instructor-led training modules, especially in instances where geographic distances play a significant role. 

Virtual Instructor-Led Training Meaning

The benefits of virtual instructor-led training (VILT) are substantial. Instead of hours-long training sessions or days- or weeks-long training regimens, virtual instructor-led training applications can occur in incremental, bite-sized modules. This means that attendees can more easily fit training into their busy schedules, but it also decreases the risk of information overload that can sometimes materialize during or shortly after longer training sessions. 

Some examples of instructor-led training for virtual applications might include a lecture model where several learners tune in to a singular presenter or a small presenting training team. Instructor-led training programs could also take the shape of workshops where trainees work amongst themselves and the trainer to gain hands-on experience. 

While it may take weeks or even months to schedule and receive certification for in-person instructor-led training, online, there are many opportunities for an individual to receive a virtual instructor-led training certification. An individual who is instructor-led training certified can provide expert virtual classroom training and utilize one or multiple training techniques to help ensure that trainees are well-informed and well-prepared. 

Virtual instructor-led training best practices generally include a handful of common sense measures like not eating or chewing gum during a presentation, maintaining a professional background and atmosphere, and keeping distractions to a minimum. Other, lesser-known best practices are subtler; by focusing more on the quality of the training information rather than the duration, trainees are less likely to be overwhelmed by an influx of information and they are more likely to retain information from the training they receive.

Additionally, with online applications, it can be tempting to “increase the size” of the classroom by allowing more trainees to attend. This can sometimes be counterproductive because it reduces the likelihood that a trainee will chime in with a question. And if one person’s question goes unanswered, there’s a chance that other attendees are refraining from asking their questions, too. Another useful virtual training technique is to keep trainees involved and engaged with interactive portions of the training; with certain digital programs, you can poll or quiz trainees or partition the whole class into smaller discussion groups.

There are countless reasons why organizations are interested in providing greater access to virtual instructor-led training, meaning your organization can provide sufficient training for learners and satisfy other obligations as well. Even if your company’s preference is in-person training applications, virtual instructor-led training can provide you with a quick and sensible backup plan if in-person training becomes impossible.

Advantages of Virtual Training

Before discussing the many advantages of virtual training, it’s important to also understand some of the disadvantages of virtual training. Over longer periods, virtual training or online learning may result in a sense of isolation. While it’s certainly still possible to develop a sense of community within the realm of cyberspace, it may not come as easily as when the trainer and trainees all inhabit the same physical space.

Invariably, there are advantages and disadvantages of virtual classroom settings. Some advantages of virtual classrooms for students are the ability to learn from the comfort of your own home – or anywhere with a reliable WiFi connection – and the ability to fit training or learning into a busy schedule. There are some disadvantages, too, but even people who may not prefer e-learning or virtual instructor-led training modules can understand why virtual training is important. Many more companies are relying on virtual on-the-job training in contemporary settings to help new employees transition more smoothly to fulfilling their daily duties on the job. 

But what is virtual on-the-job training? It’s about as simple as it might sound; virtual on-the-job training occurs when employees participate in basic job training modules or activities in place of in-person training at a physical location. While it can vary broadly from company to company and depending on the job for which individuals may be training, the duration of a single virtual training session may only last 60 minutes, while virtual training programs can go on for a week or two up to a month. Some companies provide ongoing virtual training programs for employees to complete regularly throughout the calendar year – these can include safety and standard operating procedure updates, new information about new products or services, and much more.

Instructor-Led Training Advantages and Disadvantages

The benefits of instructor-led online training can hardly be overstated, and it’s vital to understand both instructor-led training advantages and disadvantages before deciding if instructor-led online courses are appropriate for your needs. Some virtual instructor-led training disadvantages may also include trainers not being able to accurately assess nonverbal cues from participants. 

Just like there are advantages and disadvantages of in-person training, there can be challenges and opportunities for online learning and training applications as well. An often under-discussed disadvantage to virtual instructor-led training initiatives is that online learning requires a fair amount of self-discipline from trainees. In familiar environments like the home or a local coffee shop with WiFi access, there are dozens of distractions happening throughout the virtual training; maintaining focus can be a challenging task for even the most dedicated learners.

Trainers will also need to dedicate time to prepare the materials they will need to run online training applications. Instructor-led training materials generally depend upon the nature of the training exercises, but there are parallels to in-person training. Either way, instructors will need to make sure students and trainees have materials for any training environment at the beginning of the course. We will take a more in-depth look at instructor led training vs. e-learning below.

Instructor-Led Training Examples

Virtual instructor-led training examples might include a webinar video conference, small groups and workshops or lectures, and one-on-one training exercises to name just a few. In-person instructor-led training examples vary much more widely – trainers can provide a demonstration of a product, a particular process, or a simple question-and-answer dialogue.

Instructor-led training materials for in-person applications can, again, vary widely depending upon the type of training taking place; some training programs could require the use of props or products to use in demonstrations, for example. Instructor-led training online may require fewer training materials than in-person applications, but it’s generally still best to come prepared. Online training instructors may want to have a pen and paper or some note-taking device nearby to jot down any information that would help prepare for future training sessions.

There are many differences between instructor-led training vs. e-learning, and instructor-led training benefits are numerous, to say the least. It allows for people from all over the country or globe to virtually attend. With more and more companies hiring remotely or allowing employees to work from home, investing in instructor-led training will likely be a prudent decision, especially for businesses looking to grow and expand.

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