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Why Instructor-Led Training is More Critical Than Ever in Our Distraction-Heavy World

Date:
June 14, 2019
Author:
Ryan Day

The light-bulb moment.

We’ve all experienced it. It’s a great feeling—when you suddenly grasp a topic; all of a sudden it all makes sense.

As an IT training company, Global Knowledge strives to stimulate those “ah-ha” moments with each student during and after each course. To ensure those light bulbs are going off, you need a facilitator. We call them instructors.

Instructor-led training (ILT) is nothing new—in fact, it’s the way we all learned growing up. You were in classrooms in grade school, right? Global Knowledge’s ILT has the same premise—you attend a live class taught by a subject matter expert you can interact with.

Unlike grade school, IT professionals now have several learning options—you don’t necessarily have to train in a classroom. There are delivery formats that meet needs for budget, schedule flexibility, class size and location. But when you need to gain skills that provide a high benefit or pose a critical risk to your business, instructor-led training guarantees your highest chance of success.

 

ILT provides a controlled learning environment

ILT is structured. You train at specific times on predetermined days. The instructor has a detailed and distinctive course of study. Opportunities for disruption are minimal.

With classroom training, you’re in a protected learning environment. When it comes to e-learning, training time can be flexible but interruptions often can’t be avoided. And once you’re distracted—by work, by your family, by a text message—it can be awfully difficult to get back into that learning mindset.

Gloria Mark, a professor in the Department of Informatics at the University of California, Irvine, says it takes an average of 23 minutes and 15 seconds to get back to the original task after work is interrupted. Maybe that time is spent on a more important task. Maybe not. Either way, it creates a distraction from the course content that can impact learning and retention.

The structure of instructor-led classrooms ensures you complete your training in a designated timeframe with limited distractions.

 

The power of questions in a classroom setting

Questions during classes can influence discussions and possibly inform others in attendance. There’s a benefit to these divergences.

“Instructor-led training facilitates in-depth discussions of complex topics allowing for immediate feedback from an expert,” said Global Knowledge instructor Daniel Cummins. “You also benefit from the interaction with your classmates in discussions and other conversations about the topic. I have found some of the most valuable conversations were those that were ‘rabbit trails’ from the topic at hand because of another student’s question or comment.”

If you’re seeking a bit more flexibility, Global Knowledge offers virtual instructor-led training (vILT) courses, which feature real-time instruction in an online environment. Virtual instructor-led training saves you travel time and travel budget, because you can train from anywhere as long as you have an internet connection.

 

The instructor is also your accountability partner

One essential learning aspect lost with informal training is facilitation. ILT provides an accountability partner in the form of an instructor. This person’s job is not only to teach you, but to ensure each student understands the material.

The research article, “The Science of Training and Development in Organizations: What Matters in Practice,” published by the Association for Psychological Science, details how the right instructor mindset can reinforce the student’s belief in their own ability to learn and perform a trained skill.

As an accountability partner, instructors should encourage you to participate in training not just to appear capable, but to actually learn. This is more easily achieved when the course content is perceived as relevant and useful to you. A good instructor will establish how the subject matter directly benefits you, which in turn leads to more positive reactions and encourages transfer back to the job.

Part of being your accountability partner includes the ability to answer live questions about specific deployments, job roles, or even tech developments in the news. These instructors are real, live human beings—not YouTube videos. As mentioned, our instructors have a syllabus, but also have the flexibility to adapt their classes on the fly. They are also available to manage and correct errors in real time, which better prepares you to deal with challenges on the job.

You benefit from instructors contextualizing material. Learning how an expert handled a certain situation (e.g., “This is how I implemented a new firewall” or “This is how I trained for this certification”) can provide needed perspective and enhance understanding. Each instructor has their own way of getting the material across and providing experience-based tips for their students.

 

A positive kind of peer pressure

While expert interaction has a tremendous amount of benefit, peer interaction should not be undervalued. Sitting side-by-side in a live classroom with other professionals provides opportunities for side discussions about shared and unique work experiences. There’s a lot you can learn from your peers.

“With live classroom training, heading into the break room to get a coffee, students can continue the conversations that began in the classroom, pulling even more value out of the course,” Cummins said. “Some of these interactions may even build friendships and business relationships that last well into the future.”

 

A lack of expert interaction is having serious repercussions

In recent years, we’ve noticed a pattern between ILT attendance and skills gaps. In the past three years, the number of students taking ILT courses is down 10% and the number taking vILT courses is down 11%. Over the same timeframe, skills gaps are up nearly 40% across the industry. Skills gaps are rising while IT professionals choose e-learning options or bypass training altogether in search of cost savings or thinking e-learning effectiveness is at the same level as ILT.

The Global Knowledge Criticality of Skills Index™ helps you identify your skills need and select an appropriate learning modality. For the important skills—the ones that are most critical for your business—instructor-led training is your best option for learning success, whether it be in a traditional public classroom or a private group training with co-workers.

When a skill must be learned, instructor-led training is superior. Formal training fulfills important skills needs better than self-study and e-learning. For larger tasks that have a team- or organization-wide impact, formal training provides more structure and access to an expert. It’s your better option.

 

ILT on steroids (aka Private Group Training)

Need instructor-led training for an entire team? Private Group Training (PGT) gathers a group of like colleagues together in front of a subject matter expert. PGT, which can also be referred to as onsite training, coordinates the group, eliminating the disparity between co-worker skill sets.

PGT helps teams develop a common language and is ideal for the most complex and business-critical projects. Learn more about the benefits of Private Group Training.

 

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