5 Reasons Why Instructor-Led Training Is Still Effective in 2018


There has been a lot of chatter recently about whether online or instructor-led training is the best approach. With the explosion of digital replacements for traditional practices, many training providers are exploring online learning technologies such as gamification, AI and VR. In the last few years we have also seen an exponential rise in LMS (Learning Management System) and VLE (Virtual Learning Environment) use across a wide variety of industries. So, is classroom learning still effective?

Online Learning vs Face to Face Training: Is Instructor-led training still effective? 

Whether you're a commercial training provider or learning and development department, the question has passed your lips on more than one occasion: should I provide this training online or in the classroom? 

The consensus always seems to be that there are pros and cons to both forms of learning and that, what is called ‘blended learning’, a mixture of the two learning types, is the road to go down to get the best out of your learners.

However, companies that have to choose between one or the other, may find themselves bogged down in the idea that they should be using both which is not necessarily the case. Choosing your ideal learning method will ultimately come down to, what works best for your unique situation; employees (or clients), and business style.

Watch our online learning vs face to face live webinar debate here.

In our 2018 Training Industry Survey, we found that 78% of respondents were still delivering face to face training. So why, in this modern world, filled with apps and fast ways of disseminating data, do we still choose to learn in a classroom?

One very simple reason: because it still works.

Does Classroom Learning Still Work? 

Many learners struggle to read documents and retain information that is given to them in digital form and would much prefer the traditional method, of listening to an expert trainer in person; taking notes as they go. Most of us learn better with a good structure to motivate us; something that can be sadly lacking in even a well-thought-out online learning course.

In a 2017 University of Ulm study, it was found that: “Structure-related factors, such as opportunities for interaction, marking work or fixed timeframes, are essential for an ideal online offering because they can support the students’ self-regulation.” These are all things that are already on offer in a classroom learning environment.

5 Reasons Why Instructor-Led Training Is Still Effective In 2019

We have compiled a list of five upsides to classroom learning, which we hope will help you ascertain whether it is the (or, is at least one of) best route for your learners.

1. Interaction

Direct interaction with trainers and classmates, and the ability to ask questions and have discussions, can help add structure and a sense of shared learning. This will ultimately affect the motivation and drive to learn. eLearning Industry recognises that because of this motivating factor, classroom learning can be extremely effective for younger learners who need more structure and interaction. 

Additionally, a 2018 Online Education Trends report by BestColleges.com found that “Almost two-thirds (64%) of students who are currently enrolled in an online degree or certificate program report that they visit a campus location either by choice or because their program has an in-person requirement. This is an increase from 52% last year.” This shows that a growing number of online course providers are understanding the importance of, and adopting the traditional aspects of class interaction into their programs.

2. Discipline

For learners who struggle with discipline; classroom courses are far better at keeping delegates motivated. The University of Ulm study found that “Although the 24-h access to learning content (online) was consistently evaluated positively, the unlimited availability...was not seen as conducive to learning.”

We've all been there. Not started a task until the day before the deadline or let it slip our minds completely because it's not on our immediate radar. This is the same with learning, With such freedom, it can be hard for delegates to be disciplined enough to see learning through. In turn, this can result in a negative impression of the training provider even though the fault was with the learner. Providing a face-to-face aspect provides a level of discipline that many learners need. 

The University of Ulm study also found that “The very obligation to be physically present on a particular day at a fixed time led to a higher degree of commitment to courses and a willingness to actually attend the course until the end.” These two aspects of classroom learning work together to create a more disciplined environment for face-to-face learners.

3. Needs assessment

In classroom learning, trainers are better able to assess their student’s needs face-to-face, and mentor them based on their person-to-person evaluations. This is advantageous, especially with students who may need extra help, or find it more difficult to absorb information.

In turn, a more tailored experience can be provided which results in a more enjoyable and effective experience.  

4. Trainer presence

Notes taken in the classroom are useful for test/evaluation revision. This is because the explanations given by trainers in a classroom environment can help students understand the answer better. Rather than just being given the answer and expected to learn it verbatim. Ulm found that the “Presence of the lecturer was perceived as increasing attentiveness, especially when the subject matter was difficult. The prospect of being asked directly in the face-to-face course, but not being able to answer, motivated students to adequately study the course topics.”

A good teacher goes a long way to motivate their students to get better outcomes from their course. This happens through the constant reinforcement of topics already covered, and the subconscious prospect of being questioned about them in front of peers. Can this level of interaction be achieved online?

5. Not everybody gets tech!

Believe it or not, even in 2018 there are learners who will not feel comfortable using an online learning system. Struggling with this can have an obvious detrimental effect. If a learner must spend half of their time trying to navigate or log-on to an online system - that’s a lot less time spent on actual learning.

Ultimately, the frustration of having to navigate tech has the potential to make your learner switch off before they’ve even begun. Think about your course demographic when considering which type of learning style to offer. 

Which Learning Style Will Work For You?

There are obvious benefits and downsides to both online and classroom learning styles. A lot of companies are choosing to go down the ‘blended learning’ route; where they combine a mixture of both online and classroom-based courses or course segments, dependant on what would work best for their particular subject matter.

A well thought out course in either form will no doubt benefit your learners greatly, but we certainly haven’t seen the last of good-old-fashioned classroom learning. With the obvious benefits to learners, we are unlikely to any time soon either.

Want to learn more about the pros and cons of classroom based learning? Watch our live webinar debate here.

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