What does instructor-led training look like in 2022? What is the role of the instructor? And does self-paced learning still have a place in training programs?
Online, self-paced learning has grown in popularity in recent years, mostly due to the onset of COVID. It’s been the go-to concept for many training providers, but its success has been mixed. Now, as the world returns to some sort of normal, we’re seeing training providers adopting a hybrid, or blended, approach.
In this Ultimate Guide to Instructor-Led Training we break down the shortfalls of self-paced learning and the opportunities it creates for ILT. We also cover how to create an effective ILT strategy that meets the needs of modern learners, a case study on Parallel Project Training, and the technology you need to ensure ILT success.
- How COVID has changed the training industry
- Opportunities for ILT
- Learner trends
- Technology for ILT
When COVID hit in 2020 we saw the training industry pivot to remote modes of delivery: Zoom webinars and self-paced platforms. Online, self-paced learning seemed like the perfect solution in a rapidly changing training industry and we saw a mass roll-out of new learning tech companies (Go1, Thinkific etc).
In 2021, with the world mostly still in lockdown, online training remained the most prevalent. But, completion rates of self-paced, online courses were plummeting. Both learners and trainers alike started to pull back from these types of platforms. So much so, that Thinkific posted a $26.4 million US dollar net loss and laid off 20% of its employees as a result.
2022 came along and the world started to return to normal. With people once again craving face-to-face contact, it means adapting our approach to training once again. This time to a blended learning approach using a variety of delivery formats. Including face-to-face, live online webinar, quizzes, video, podcasts and surveys.
The shortfalls of online learning
Let’s start by looking at the shortfalls of online learning before we explore the opportunities that blended learning brings for instructor-led training.
- Poor knowledge retention. This entirely self-paced way of learning is ineffective in terms of knowledge retention – with no discussion, mentoring or support. Plus, recent studies show that online self-paced courses have a completion rate of 15% or less.
- Quality isn’t guaranteed. Anyone can create a course and sell it online, but a camera and a platform don’t turn skill experts into great instructors. Learners are spending money on courses that don’t deliver real results.
- Lack of connection. The novelty of “remote” quickly wore off and now people are craving personal connection once again. Arguably the biggest shortfall of remote training is the lack of connection between learner and trainer, or between learners themselves.
While the pre-COVID days of traditional instructor-led training wasn’t perfect, we can see that neither is the online, self-paced approach.
So what does the future of training look like? What are the opportunities for instructor-led training in 2022 and beyond?
The future of training is blended
For many training providers who made big changes in 2020 and 2021 – pivoting to focus on self-paced – for them 2022 means re-introducing instructor-led training back into their training programs. For training providers already offering blended, it may mean a more strategic approach, or extending blended learning to include new, more effective modes of learning.
We’ll cover off some blended learning trends shortly, but before we go any further, let’s cover the basics of blended learning.
Blended learning overview
In simple terms, blended learning means providing course content in a variety of delivery formats including;
A traditional face-to-face course is held in a classroom, or as a private or group tutorial. This delivery has the most limitations, as class numbers are dependent on venue size, geographical location and time and date availability.
Live online webinar
Similar to a traditional face-to-face course, but held in a virtual classroom. A presenter, or presenters, deliver a presentation in real-time to learners around the world who attend via video conference, from the comfort of their own office, home or wherever they may be.
Living in the times of YouTube and Netflix, most of us are familiar with on-demand (or pre-recorded) video. Arlo allows you to easily promote and sell pre-recorded webinars to people who visit your website – a great opportunity to drive profits and efficiencies in your training business, by reusing and recirculating existing content.
eLearning is self-paced learning, such as online courses and modules that people can complete in their own time, online, from anywhere (in fact, this guide is an example of self-paced eLearning)! Registrants can undertake the course at any time and do not have to attend on a specific date, or attend a live class. These modules can include SCORM packages, quizzes, surveys, wikis, videos, and assignments, all while allowing the training provider to track completion.
For learners, it provides a richer learning experience than any one format on its own, enabling access to content that best suits individual learning styles. For training companies, it’s scalable and cost-effective.
To learn more about blended learning, check out the Ultimate Guide to Blended Learning.
The learning pyramid
You may be familiar with The Learning Pyramid. But it’s worth re-visiting here, as it’s a good visual example of the benefits of blended learning.
What’s most important to note here are the active learning methods – group discussion, practiced by doing, teaching others – and the large percentages associated with them. These percentages are the percentage of knowledge retained.
As we covered earlier in the shortfalls of remote, online training it’s that personal, or social, connection that plays a big role in the learning experience.
Traditionally instructor-led training has been based on students listening to a trainer for a lengthy period of time, with little to no interaction between learners themselves. But what we’re seeing here is the real power of social connection in learning. And this is where instructor-led training can really step up its game – by incorporating more active learning methods into an ILT session and encouraging collaboration between learners.
The good news is there’s a wide range of tools available to support this way of learning – in live ILT sessions think of using collaboration tools like Zoom breakout rooms, Zoom and Miro whiteboards. For pre-course and post-course think of ways you can connect learners via forums, Facebook and LinkedIn groups.
It’s also important to note that we’re not ruling out passive learning methods altogether – you can see here that they are still effective in delivering and retaining knowledge, therefore there is still space in training for those. But what we can really see from this is the power of learning via a mixture of delivery methods. By incorporating the whole learning pyramid into your training program you cater to all styles of learning and your learners have a much higher chance of retaining knowledge.
This style of learning of course lends itself well to the blended learning approach. But exactly how big of a role should the trainer play in a blended learning course?
The role of the trainer
With lecture and demonstration being the main methods of instructor-led training, we can all agree that ILT sits firmly in the “passive learning methods” section of the pyramid. As mentioned, those methods still have an important role to play in training.
In fact, the story we’re hearing from training providers here at Arlo is that their trainers, or instructors, are still their biggest asset. Despite all of the changes in the training industry over recent years, that is one thing that has remained constant.
When training companies receive positive feedback from learners, or receive a registration from a referral, the story almost always goes something like this:
- The trainer was knowledgeable
- The trainer was an expert in their field
- The trainer made the subject easy to understand
- The trainer was engaging
- The trainer was professional
- The trainer was helpful and supportive
- The trainer read the audience and was able to adapt
Instructor-led training is most certainly here to stay, and has an important role to play in a blended learning course. But while trainers are undoubtedly a training company’s biggest asset, they’re also the most costly. With traditional classroom-based courses, trainers would spend lengthy periods of time in a classroom reciting information. There would be time spent travelling, and the associated cost of a trainer’s travel, accommodation and food.
Now, with the rise of blended and eLearning, training companies have an opportunity to continue to use their biggest asset, but in a more effective way. With blended learning, trainers no longer need to spend five days in a classroom reciting information. Instead of five days, they may only spend one or two days max. The free time in their schedule can be used for one-to-one coaching, mentoring and support.
For some training providers, a classroom-based course may be essential, but for others, the instructor-led training can be delivered entirely online. Further freeing up time and money that would otherwise have been spent on travel, accommodation, food and venue.
Six ways to better utilize your instructors:
- Reduce the amount of instructor-led training time per course. For example, reduce from five days to two days. Fill in the gaps with on-demand video, podcast, e-learning modules and more.
- Offer online instructor-led training wherever you can. This reduces, or removes, the cost of venue, travel, accommodation and food. As well as making your course more accessible to learners, removing time, location, and travel constraints.
- Use technology to reduce their manual workload. A training management system can help manage their registrations, calendars and venues. A TMS can automatically send emails and certifications. And some learning management systems can even automatically assess and grade completed eLearning modules.
- Create group forums to encourage peer mentoring. By connecting your learners in a private forum they can seek answers from each other, rather than instantaneously reaching out to the trainer. They can find answers to questions that have been covered previously, network, and lean on each other for support.
- Create a resource library. Create a resource library with links to helpful documents, pre-recorded videos, FAQs and more. Encourage students to self-help by utilizing the resource library to overcome any major stumbling blocks, before they need to reach out to a trainer.
- Deliver more courses. And finally, of course, with less time spent delivering each course there is now the capacity to deliver more courses – making your training business more scalable and more profitable.
Blending instructor-led training with self-paced learning
So how do you blend instructor-led training with self-paced learning to create an effective ILT strategy? Is there a perfect mix?
Arlo customer Parallel Project Training is one of the UK’s leading project management training providers. They have shared with us how they’ve adapted their approach to training to deliver a premium blended learning experience.
Parallel was one of the first companies to offer a blended learning course for APM training. Co-founder Paul Naybour says “This approach has enabled corporations and individuals to develop a professional project management capability at a time and place that suits them and using the methods best suited to their learning style.”
“This approach has enabled corporations and individuals to develop a professional project management capability at a time and place that suits them and using the methods best suited to their learning style.“
Blended course example
Their Project Fundamentals Qualification is one of their most popular courses, and can be taken either as a live online course or a 2 day face-to-face course. Both options include access to online resources and to eLearning modules, including quizzes, podcasts, on-demand videos and practice exams.
Parallel has shared with us the structure of this course, to show what a successful blended learning course looks like in practice.
- Pre-course survey. Once attendees have registered for the course online, they automatically get access to the eLearning portal to complete a pre-course survey.
- 2-day course. Attendees participate in a 2-day course, with the option of a live online webinar or face-to-face delivery. Lots of breakout rooms, group discussions and activities.
- eLearning Modules. Complete eight eLearning modules online in the LMS. Attendees have a choice of listening to a podcast, watching an on-demand video, or studying the content in their study guide, depending on what best suits their learning style.
- Quizzes. Each of the eLearning modules have an accompanying quiz designed to test knowledge retention and prepare attendees for the formal exam.
- Exam. Attendees sit a real exam in a classroom, or online using remote proctor software.
There’s no doubt that 2022 will continue to see the growth of blended learning in the training industry.
But even within blended, there are ways to extend and improve its effectiveness. We’ve drilled down into three more trends we expect to see in 2022. Three trends that will take your blended learning strategy to the next level, and give you an even bigger competitive edge.
The first trend is micro learning.
Gone are the days of 5-day block courses in a traditional classroom environment. We’re all in agreement on that. Instructor-led training is much more fluid, spread out over multiple days, weeks and even months and delivery is via multiple mediums – that’s blended learning in a nutshell.
But micro-learning is about taking it even a step further than that and focusing each training session – whether that be instructor-led, on-demand, or an eLearning module – around just one single learning outcome.
With micro learning we’re no longer thinking about the curriculum as a block of time or as a delivery method, we are thinking about it as a learning outcome. So you take one single learning outcome and work backwards to design the delivery – an on-demand video or podcast to provide context and some basic history and information. Followed by a one-hour instructor-led training session that covers key information, with a breakout room or group workshop to solve a problem. This would then be followed immediately by an eLearning module and a quiz that cements those key learnings and tests knowledge retention. Repeat this recipe for each of the learning outcomes, and then bring it all together at the end with more quizzes, and a formal exam if it’s required.
According to RTPS research, Microlearning improves focus and supports long-term retention by up to 80%. So you can see how much value this approach would add to your learners, as well as your business – if you can create results like that you’re going to end up with some very happy customers.
Mobile learning is a trend that has well and truly arrived. Whether training providers like it or not, learners are already consuming course content on mobile devices.
And a study by Growth Engineering UK shows mobile is a trend that training providers should be investing in. They found that 64% of learners find accessing learning on a mobile device essential to their progress. 70% of learners are more motivated to learn when they use mobile devices. And that mobile learning can increase engagement by 72%. Those numbers are overwhelmingly positive.
Mobile learning can increase engagement by 72%
There is no doubt that mobile learning is a truly powerful trend for learners and trainers alike. It is essential that training providers jump on board and adapt their materials and delivery accordingly. But what does that look like in practice?
- Course content, assignments and resources are mobile-friendly
- Websites and LMS systems are mobile-responsive or have a downloadable app
- Instructor-led online training sessions can be easily attended from a mobile device.
British psychologist Cecil Alec Mace first came up with the idea of “spaced repetition” in 1932, and wrote about it in his book “The Psychology of Study”. The idea that spaced repetition could be used to improve learning was tested on more than 3,000 students and was proved to be effective. There have been many more studies since, further proving its effectiveness. Including a recent one cited by the Harvard Business Review that shows by using spaced repetition we can remember about 80% of what we learn after 60 days.
In short, spaced repetition is about studying material in short sessions, over a continuous period of time. This supports the trend of micro learning that we touched on before, but it also means providing learning opportunities well beyond the completion of the training course. This could be in multiple forms – including:
- Giving learners access to an online resource library
- Ensure they know how to apply the learnings to real-world situations immediately. Get managers on-board too, and create feedback loops
- Creating a community group for ongoing peer-to-peer discussions
- Automated emails in the following weeks and months with links to surveys and quizzes to reinforce key knowledge points
- Providing ongoing support and access to trainers
- Reinforce learnings with follow-up courses
Continuous learning is not only an effective way to improve knowledge retention, but improves return on investment for businesses, and creates a premium learning experience that will make more money for your training business. It’s a winning recipe.
In summary, the biggest opportunities for instructor-led training in 2022 and beyond are:
- Blended learning. If COVID saw you shift away from ILT to an eLearning-based approach, it is time to shift back. Blended learning is, without a doubt, the future of training. And at the heart of an effective blended learning course is one or more carefully curated ILT sessions. ILT sessions that are complemented by on-demand video, podcast, eLearning modules and online resources.
- The learning pyramid. This shines a light on the huge potential for active learning methods – particularly social, collaborative learning – to improve knowledge retention in your training programs. Ensure your instructor-led training sessions are designed to encourage collaboration by utilizing tools like Miro whiteboard.
- More effective use of instructors. Instructor-led training is here to stay. But with blended learning comes the opportunity to revisit how you structure your ILT sessions to make better use of your instructors and create scalability for your training business.
Micro, mobile and continuous learning. Three emerging trends that you should be incorporating into your training strategy. Ensure your ILT sessions are designed for micro, mobile and continuous learning and you’ll be well on your way to training success for 2022 and beyond.
Software for blended learning
To successfully manage and deliver blended learning you’re going to need a variety of tools. Here are six software solutions that you can expect to invest in as part of a blended learning strategy.
- Training Management System. With the complexities of blended learning – more courses, learners dispersed globally, multiple delivery methods, multi-session and multiple systems, you’re going to need a training management system. Forget spreadsheets and manual administration, a training management system is a streamlined version of what you already do. It’s designed to organize and automate your training operation. We’ll delve into the Arlo training management system in a little more detail shortly.
- Website. If you have an existing WordPress website, course plugins are a great way to add additional functionality to your existing site. Arlo’s WordPress course plugin promotes face-to-face, live online, public and private courses on your website, keeping information up to date in real time. Learners can register, checkout and make payment online, then automatically receive confirmation and detailed course information straight to their inbox. The event pages, widgets, and checkout blend seamlessly into your existing website theme, brand colors and fonts, to ensure a great experience for your customers. Don’t have a website yet? Arlo’s out-of-the-box website is designed specifically for training companies and will have you selling courses online, fast.
- Learning Management System. You’ll need an LMS to create and host the eLearning modules for your blended learning course. The good news is Arlo integrates with most learning management systems so you can deliver a seamless experience to your learners. Learners register and pay on your Arlo-powered website, and are automatically sent registration info, login details and links for all parts of the course, including eLearning. All this happens automatically in the background with no manual processes.
- Online ILT software. Zoom. Arlo’s integration with Zoom ensures you can easily deliver online instructor-led training, including multi-session, as part of your blended learning course. Simply choose your host and date, and Arlo takes care of the rest. It automatically schedules the session, adds the join links to emails, and handles any changes you make. Zoom easily allows you to create connected environments from anywhere. Share resources, chat, use a virtual whiteboard or use separate breakout rooms. Not using Zoom? Arlo integrates with a wide variety of web conferencing software.
- Collaboration tools. Zoom or Miro whiteboard. Whiteboard apps are an essential tool in a virtual classroom. Helping to overcome some of the biggest challenges of online instructor-led training, they enable students and teachers to collaborate remotely, in real time. Improving engagement, social interaction, and learning outcomes, the investment is a no-brainer.
- Go1 and Rise 360. As a first step in creating elearning content, we recommend experimenting with existing webinar PowerPoint presentations and packaging them up as an elearning course. For this, we recommend using Rise 360. In addition to this, content libraries like Go1 give you access to thousands of learning resources so you can include pre-built elearning in your courses, rather than having to create your own from scratch. A great, cost-effective way to experiment with eLearning modules without the hefty price tag of a learning designer.
Overview of the Arlo TMS
Your training business is growing. And growth creates new challenges.
Information stored all over the place. Manual processes for every single signup to your courses. Tedious, constant website updates.
And at the end of the month, the money looks good. But you don’t really know why.
Is this what success is supposed to look like? Growing pains are one thing, but do they have to be so . . . painful?
That’s where Arlo comes in.
Arlo is training management software specifically designed for commercial training providers. It is a complete training management solution to promote, sell and deliver training. Arlo takes care of your public and private courses, online and face-to-face, blended, multi-session and eLearning course administration so you can manage your whole business from one central hub. You don’t need disconnected systems or manual processes anymore. Everything happens right in Arlo.
Our experts will ensure you get the most out of Arlo. For starters, our customer success and web teams manage your Arlo implementation, so you don’t have to. You’ll be up and running before you know it. Then our friendly support teams in North America, London and New Zealand solve problems and answer questions 24/7. From project kick-off to business as usual, we are with you all the way.
Ready to kickstart your blended learning?
Try Arlo for free for 14 days to see how it could streamline and grow your training business.
Alternatively, schedule a demonstration and we’ll personally show you around the Arlo platform.