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3 Reasons Why Instructor-Led Training Is Here To Stay

President Of TrainSmart, Inc.

When it comes to the debate over the future viability of Instructor-Led Training (ILT), it’s hard not to think of Mark Twain. In 1897, the New York Herald newspaper ran an article saying that Twain was “grievously ill and possibly dying.” At the time, Twain was alive and healthy and working for a competing newspaper. He responded by saying, “The report of my death was an exaggeration.”* Twain died 13 years later, in 1910.

Like Twain’s death, it’s an exaggeration to say that ILT is dying. Yet, that headline has a habit of popping up on a regular basis. The numbers simply do not support those claims. According to the 2014 Training Industry Report the number of hours dedicated to ILT increased to 47 percent of all training hours – that’s up from 43 percent in 2013.

The ATD’s numbers indicate an even stronger showing for ILT. The findings of ATD’s 2014 State of the Industry report, ILT indicate 55% of all training takes place in an instructor-led classroom.

Surprised? We’re not. While it’s true that ILT is not the dominant force it once was–in 2006, 66% of all training was instructor-led–suggestions that it’s on the endangered species list is most likely wishful thinking on the part of competitors from different learning methodologies.

What is significant about those numbers is that training professionals now have solid choices to help them develop and deliver training that has the potential to maximize results. And, for the foreseeable future, ILT will remain a significant choice for three key reasons.

  1. Some learning objectives can be reached more successfully in an ILT environment
    One of the most compelling cases for developing and delivering ILT is when you have a relatively small number of people who need the training, and collaborative problem-solving and discussion are key components of learning. While other methodologies can certainly deliver those objectives, they are usually not as powerful as when this type of learning occurs face-to-face.
  2. Strengthens the Corporate Culture
    Every organization wants engaged, loyal and committed employees. Because employees understand that bringing them together in a face-to-face classroom environment is a significant investment of actual dollars and lost work hours, many employees view participating in an ILT as a privilege. Usually, these sessions offer an added benefit – time to network and build new alliances.
  3. It’s Now the Exception, Not The Rule
    Not so long ago you just had to say corporate training and people envisioned chairs, tables, workbooks, flip-charts, and an instructor. Today, attending an ILT is more of an exception than the rule. Today, employees participate in so many different training platforms: webinars, blended learning, eLearning, and MOOCs. Because it’s no longer the only game in town, people appreciate an ILT experience in a way they probably did not in the past.   That appreciation creates a positive chain reaction. People tend to be more receptive to the experience because it’s not the same old same old. This heightened receptivity increases the learning that is reflected in the feedback and evaluations which then supports using this learning method in the future.

*Like the children’s game telephone, Twain’s original quote is often misquoted. We know it as, “The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated.” However, this is what Twain actually said. “James Ross Clemens a cousin of mine was seriously ill two or three weeks ago in London but is well now. The report of my illness grew out of his illness, this report of my death was an exaggeration.”