Traditionally, workplace learning has been built around instructor-led programs or ILTs. In the period between 1980 and 1990, computer-based training became popular in the USA. In the mid-1990s, the term “e-learning” began to be used in discussions and L&D workshops. But it was only in 2004 that it became a bona fide term when futurist Jay Cross began using it. As smartphones and high-speed Internet connectivity became more accessible, workplace learning also saw the use of a mix of instructor-led and self-paced online courses.
What is Virtual Instructor-Led Training?
The Training Industry website defines virtual instructor-led training as – "Training that is delivered in a virtual or simulated environment, or when instructor and learner are in separate locations.” Known popularly as VILT, it is a popular training delivery format. VILT is classified into two types:
Synchronous Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Asynchronous Virtual Instructor-Led Training
With synchronous virtual instructor-led training, the instructor connects with the learners in real-time and helps clarify their queries. This can be done by video-conferencing tools that can be integrated with an LMS or LXP. This article offers more information on how Zoom can be integrated with an LMS.
With asynchronous virtual instructor-led training the interaction between the instructor and the students/employees is not simultaneous. There is a combination of recorded videos, mobile learning, and microlearning that is used to help the learners gain more information on a topic. Provisions can be made for the instructor to clarify learner queries via email.
VILT vs ILT
Virtual instructor-led training(VILT) and instructor-led training (ILT) differ in the way the program is delivered. In an ILT program, the presence of an actual instructor or trainer helps the learners acquire learning with confidence, and their queries are answered immediately. There are some limitations to an ILT.
A program can be delivered effectively only in a classroom of about 15 to 20 learners.
People living in different geographic locations have to be brought to the same location at the same time.
Travel and accommodation costs and in-person trainer charges can all work up to a substantial cost.
Finding the appropriate trainer at the right time can be a challenge.
A VILT can ensure that there are no challenges in accommodation or travel. Asynchronous VILT programs allow learners to access training at their convenience. Synchronous VILT programs may require the learners to log in at a pre-determined time.
Other Popular Workplace Learning Solutions
Microlearning has been around for a while. Video-based microlearning has become a popular workplace learning solution. Short and informative learning nuggets in the form of audio and video-files foster quick learning.
Gamification of workplace learning makes it more engaging. Interactivities and games improve retention of learning. With the incorporation of digital badges, leaderboards, and social learning elements within a training program, gamification offers an excellent way to train employees.
The Key Benefits of Virtual Instructor-Led Training
It is less expensive to design and deploy as there is no need to pay for the travel and accommodation of the actual instructor.
Resolves Logistical Issues
Getting all participants to be free on one given day and time and specifically, people working from different cities is a logistical nightmare. VILT ensures that people can learn at their convenience.
The training content can be customized as per the demands and requirements of the learners. The L&D team can modify or update the learning content as per the feedback of the participants of the training program.
Retention of Learning and Learner Engagement
Thoughtfully designed VILT programs offer a lot of scopes to build learner engagement and boost retention of learning.
Key Points to Remember When Designing and Deploying VILTs
Design learning with the student/employee in mind. Put yourself in their shoes and think about how the training will benefit them. Hastily put together presentations and a couple of videos of an SME talking don't qualify as VILT.
Add interesting and interactive games and activities within the VILT that add value to the learning content. The games and activities should reinforce the ideas and knowledge offered in the VILT.
Incorporate social learning elements within the VILT. Employees should be able to post their course status or post messages about their course completion or certification on the employee Intranet or their social media accounts. Digital badges are a great way to do this effectively.
Measure Effectiveness of Learning
Any form of learning should have a purpose for it to exist and offer a benefit to the learner who puts in the time and effort to complete the learning program. Your VILT program should offer a clear benefit for learners who complete the program.
A workplace learning or employee upskilling training program should help an employee do their work better and faster. This is the best way to measure the effectiveness and the efficacy of a VILT completed by an employee.
S4Carlisle – Delivering Effective VILT Solutions
At S4Carlisle, we have helped organizations across different industries in designing and deploying virtual instructor-led training programs for their employees and customers. Our focus is on creating unique learning experiences that benefit both the end-user and the organization with a balanced mix of guided and self-paced learning. With a strong focus on learner-centric design, we use sound instructional strategies and aesthetic design principles to offer a memorable learning experience.