To convert Instructor-led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) sessions is more than merely hosting a webinar with a PowerPoint deck. It takes deliberate planning to harness the power of online learning.
Traditional methodologies are going to need a makeover, and developing ways to foster real human connection will be critical.
In the midst of an unprecedented period of transformation and disruption, the importance of having truly effective training and development can hardly be overstated.
Cornerstone recently partnered with the Training Officers Consortium (TOC) for a wide-ranging and insightful session designed to provide tactical and practical tips for making the conversion from ILT to the virtual classroom.
- Instructor-Led Training (ILT) vs. Virtual Instructor-Led Training(VILT)
- Key Benefits of Virtual Instructor-led Training
- How to Convert Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
Instructor-Led Training (ILT) vs. Virtual Instructor-Led Training(VILT)
The difference between ILT and VILT is the setting in which the information is delivered. In traditional instructor-led training, instructors directly feed learners the information they need to know.
In virtual instructor-led training, the material is the same, except it’s presented in a virtual setting. Regardless of ILT vs. VILT, the most important aspect is that learners can ask questions and engage with the content in real-time.
Here are some ways that learners can use ILT and VILT:
- Online learning through webinars and video conferencing
- One-on-one learning with instructors
- Small group settings with one instructor per 4-5 students
- Lectures in large groups with one instructor
- Hands-on workshop training
- Virtual classrooms that feature online meetings through advanced technology
Some training programs use a combination of ILT and VILT techniques.
Key Benefits of Virtual Instructor-led Training
1. Interactive elements to boost engagement
Being largely video-based, VILT adds a lot of interactivities to learning. It allows learners to ask questions as they engage with content, express their views/opinions, participate in discussions, and get trained together with their peers irrespective of their location.
Mimicking live workshop interactivity using tools such as chats, polls, and breakout groups, VILT solutions not only expose learners to take input from other participants but also create a collaborative learning environment.
Besides, the VILT approach also enables learners to download different types of study aids in multiple formats such as Word docs, external links, PDFs, PowerPoint presentations, infographics, and videos.
If needed, they can also make notes online, clear their doubts and share them with other participants. This allows learners to become active participants in the learning process rather than relying only on the instructor.
2. Option for customization
Organizations want to meet the specific learning needs of their employees as quickly as possible.
Visual communication is one of the fastest and most effective ways to get all related information using a single, unified tool and disseminate information to employees quickly.
The flexibility of VILT also enables enterprises to adapt training for a large number of employees and in multiple languages, thus building an organization-wide consolidated training tool.
Another benefit of VILT is that instructors can use it to upskill employees, share necessary information, and address any concerns based on the latest market trends, industry changes, specific skills or product offerings.
3. Anywhere, anytime learning with a human element
As an increasing number of global businesses and workforces become remote, participating in the same training at the same time becomes a real challenge for employees.
VILT approach resolves this issue and offers learning opportunities for even the most remote team members.
It serves as a powerful tool to keep employees engaged and motivated, along with saving a great deal of time and resources for an organization that is otherwise spent on logistics, travelling, and other training material.
4. Enhances recall value and on-the-job application
In contrast to in-person training where employees or participants engage in one or two long-form sessions, VILT is typically delivered in shorter chunks across multiple sessions, leading to skill improvement in two main ways-
- This kind of spaced learning format allows employees to apply the knowledge gained in practical scenarios immediately.
For instance, for sales professionals, this kind of on-the-job application means that they can return to the next training session with a detailed understanding of how the concepts work in real selling scenarios.
- Spreading the overall training experience across several sessions consisting of small chunks also help to engage participants more through the distributed practice-an excellent mode of learning. Keeping these spaces between instructions is critical for training managers to drive retention among the participants.
5. Instant feedback and real-time performance tracking
Another benefit of VILT is that the approach enables learners to easily track their performance using robust built-in analytics within tools. This, in turn, allows learners to focus better and work on specific improvement areas.
You can display the assessment results instantly or at the end of the course. Overall, VILT makes it easier to track participant’s performance and provide instant feedback.
How to Convert Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
Define Learning Objectives
The most important facet of any learning program is clearly defined learning goals. This holds just as true in the case of virtual instructor-led training.
What were the goals of the program when it was delivered through ILT? Are you looking to achieve the same objectives when delivered through VILT?
Defining goals should take precedence when developing a module or an entire course. Well-established learning goals lend structure and direction to the training program.
It provides a clear framework on where your learners currently are and where you would like them to be. Pen this down and revisit it at every possible opportunity!
While you are defining your goals and objectives in this mission of moving from ILT to VILT, detail a realistic roll-out strategy too.
Training PPT + Web conferencing ≠ VILT!
Reevaluate how training content is presented in the ILT format. To make existing training content VILT-friendly, deploying sound instructional design strategies is a necessity.
This ensures that learning outcomes are superior. If in-house capabilities are limited, you must engage with a vendor who is adept in instructional design and creating custom content. Vendors are also a gateway to subject matter experts who bring value during content conversion.
Further, VILT provides lots of opportunities to repurpose the content. Here training ceases to be a one-and-done mode of learning.
Participants have the content organized into cohesive concepts and knowledge maps that can be reviewed and reused as needed. Virtual training requires a fundamental overhaul of the structure of a program.
It is necessary to add bite-sized modules. Coherent and logical breaks help to learn and retain concepts. Microlearning modules can be SCORM compliant thereby allowing learning managers to track the learner’s progress.
Microlearning can be a quick assessment embedded with every snippet to identify pain points and offer personalized feedback to learners.
Include Tools and Technologies
An engaged audience will learn better and retain information longer. As such, learner engagement is a vital component for the success of a training program.
While moving from ILT to VILT, the challenge of learner engagement is perhaps more pronounced. Virtual training also provides several tools and techniques that can be leveraged to promote engagement.
Training should go beyond flashing information on screen with a voice-over. While a trainer can gauge audience engagement with visual cues in a classroom environment, it is very easy to not detect whether learners are paying attention in VILT.
While elements of interactive learning lend themselves well to virtual training sessions, online training must contain multimedia content.
Include instructional videos, images, and interactivities that promote engagement. Adding game-based elements to a virtual training program makes learning exciting and interactive. In gamified environments, feedback is instantaneous and helps reinforce learning.
Leaderboards, learning paths, and rewards can be used to propel learners toward training objectives. A quick analysis of the scores gives insights that are on par with assessment metrics.
Consider two aspects of delivery while moving from ILT to VILT – the software platform and the instructor facilitating the session. The software or platform that you choose must emphasize usability and accessibility.
Make sure the platform fits the organization’s training needs and fosters collaboration between the instructor and learners.
It should not be an impediment to effective learning! Secondly, ensure that the trainer is familiar with delivering effective training to learners in a virtual environment.
They should be adept at leveraging superior learning outcomes from the virtual sessions. Engaging interactions with each learner, use of breakout rooms, polls, Q&A, etc. fetch remarkable results.
Prepare Learners for Success
Keep the line of communication with learners active and transparent. Inform the learners about the virtual instructor-led training strategy and sessions.
Prepare them before the session to receive training in the new virtual environment. Send out information ahead of the class including a guide to the learning platform, troubleshooting technical challenges, and other relevant details.
Collaboration and interaction are the cornerstones of effective VILT sessions. Focus on learner needs and create a proper plan to engage learners.
When you transition with these best practices handy, the strategy is poised to deliver the results that you seek from training engagements.
In conclusion, virtual learning is a useful tool for connecting with your learners wherever they may be. By being intentional about building learners’ investment and engagement, you can create programs that build skills while bringing learners together for meaningful development.