Instructor-Led Training (ILT) Solutions
Let’s face it, we LOVE eLearning, and we never avoid an opportunity to sing it’s praises from the rooftops. Despite the wonders of eLearning, we’re fully prepared to admit there are some topics that are best dealt with in the real, physical world. We actually wrote a blog on the subject that you might want to read. Link to blog article created from material below.
Since there’s no barrier to entry in designing an ILT course, it means anyone can do it, but that doesn’t mean everyone should. As with any teaching platform, ILT comes with unique advantages, challenges and best practices.
The good news for any ILT designer, in our on-demand world, is that the desire to learn is there. In fact, it’s never been stronger. Just think of all the learning we do for entertainment: from TED and YouTube to MOOCs and brain-training apps. The trick is to infuse that mindset into a traditional classroom setting.
What You Can Expect
Sadly, the standard ILT experience we see with many clients is one of two unfortunate training experiences.
The first is a monologue presented by a SME know-it-all. This person is going to bombard you with everything they know in a frighteningly boring and hard to follow format, with tons of information you don’t actually need, followed by that question we all know so well, “are there any questions?”
The second horrible trainer is no trainer at all. His name is Joe PowerPoint, and he’s about as happy to be here as you are. Joe works in a cube. His company just hired someone new to work in Joe’s department in the adjacent cube, so Joe is tasked with showing them the ropes. A little while later, Joe’s company takes on a dozen new people. Now, Joe creates a “training course,” if you can even call it that. He puts everything he knows into a PowerPoint slideshow which he delivers, along with a lecture, to his unsuspecting victims.
Both of these are terrible strategies and they’re symptoms of the same problem: poor design, and an assumption that just because your people stay in their seats, they’re listening and retaining.
That’s why, after defining learning objectives and identifying the scope and sequence of the course content, ThinkingKap assesses priorities and determines engaging strategies that can not only hold learner attention, but also help them thrive within the learning environment.
Instructor led training (or ILT) uses the most effective engagement strategy of all—human interaction—to deliver content that wouldn’t be as potent on a screen. ThinkingKap is here to help you navigate the ILT waters and develop facilitated learning that will stand the test of time. Our experience as students and trainers has given us a broad knowledge of what works and what doesn’t.
For example, you can’t just tell stories, play games, and watch quasi-relevant YouTube clips. You have to tell relevant stories. You have to play games that challenge thinking, reinforce specific skills and allow for failure and the opportunity to learn from mistakes. And you have to use media that provides context and demonstrates best practice behaviors.
By their nature, ILT courses involve much more butt-in-chair time for students. Obviously, we want to avoid boredom, but we also have to be mindful of what time means to our learners and their organization. Learners in an ILT are taking time away from work and other productive tasks. This makes design quality all the more important. In the interest of not wasting any time, we work to make the course as short as it can be without sacrificing thoroughness.
Putting together a facilitated course seems simple enough, since ILT is low tech by definition and relies on skills most of us think we’re pretty good at—like talking. However, it’s the basics that get people into trouble when designing and implementing ILT. Just because the format is simpler and the design process less technical, doesn’t mean there’s any way around the fundamentals of good course design.
Service in Action
When we designed a retail training course for one of our clients, we reduced a three-day program into a series of 15 minute modules, and thereby minimized the trainees’ time off the sales floor. This was an evolutionary process that emerged over time as the client’s needs changed, and as their requirements to minimize time off the sales floor became more critical.
The evolution does not imply the earlier forms of training formats were not effective – simply that in the retail environment, time away from the job is a major consideration.
By strategically looking at the content, the course objectives, the environment and the organizational requirements, not only did we not have to compromise on quality, but the 15 minute installments were much more suited to the needs than the original long course.