Even in this digital age, not all corporate training has moved online; instructor-led training or ILT remains a popular and common choice.

ILT is simply classroom training with a live instructor and learners in the room together. The classroom does not have to be a physical classroom; there is, of course, a digital twist — virtual classrooms.

Actual and virtual classrooms both offer synchronous learning, which means the instructor and learners are present at the same time. A virtual classroom, though, is online, using digital conferencing, webinar, or learning management system technology to provide everyone access.

An ILT can consist of a large group of learners or a small group; the teaching approach can be lecture or interactive. The defining characteristic is not the content or the approach but the simultaneous presence of an instructor and learners.

Pros and Cons of ILT

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Instructor-led training has the advantage of an expert instructor available to learners during their sessions. Often, corporate ILT sessions are half- or full-day classes or workshops, giving learners focused time immersed in studying a topic. They can ask questions, get immediate feedback, and engage with the instructor and colleagues as they learn and work on projects.

The main drawback, though, is the cost. It can be expensive to bring expert instructors to teach on site or to take experts away from their work within the organization to prepare and teach classes. Workers, too, are taken away from their work for the duration of the learning.

Logistics can be a challenge as well; scheduling an instructor and ensuring that all the learners who need to course can be available at once is not easy!

Supporting ILT with Digital Tools

Classroom teachers don’t live in an analog cave, though. Instructor-led training can be enhanced and enriched with the use of digital tools. Consider:

  • Leveraging your learning management system (LMS) to schedule courses, enroll learners, and send reminders
  • Using your LMS to host supporting content, including curated content that learners can use to prepare for the ILT and support learning during and after it
  • Creating microlearning that introduces core concepts and terms ahead of the ILT, so the expert instructor can focus on higher-level concepts and processes
  • Deploying a knowledge retention campaign after the ILT to reinforce the learning and ensure that learners retain and apply what they’ve learned

These suggestions veer into the territory of blended learning solutions, a related concept that takes advantage of multiple approaches to learning.

Poor Use with
Adult Learners
Effective with
Adult Learners


Simple games layered on top of content

Scenario-based games that use the content

Leaderboards, competition

Fan excessive competition among employees or teams by offering large prizes for top performers and/or shaming those with lower scores

Challenge employees to beat their own past performance, or design a leaderboard that shows each employee only the four scorers above and below them

Points, rewards, badges

Award points or levels for completing sections of training or playing for a set number of minutes

Award levels, badges or points for recalling or applying content correctly, demonstrating mastery

  • Remember — bookmark, google, link, search
  • Understand — annotate, Boolean search, journal, tweet
  • Apply — chart, display, execute, present, upload
  • Analyze — attribute, deconstruct, illustrate, mash, mind map
  • Evaluate — comment, editorialize, moderate, network, post
  • Create — blog, film, integrate, podcast, program, publish
A smiling, mature man with short brown hair and a mustache. He sports a black suit jacket and a gray button up shirt with no tie.

As Neovation's Manitoba Territory Manager, I'm continually reminded of the resiliency, innovation, and initiative of Manitoba’s business community. Seeing these budding entrepreneurs develop and present their business plans reinforces that Manitoba is a great place to do business.

– Gord Holmes

Traditional learning
Adaptive learning
Difficult to measure results
Measurable analytics to prove ROI
One-size-fits-all training
Personalized training workflows
Facilitates skills gap between employees
Reduces skills gap between employees
Lower engagement and course abandonment
Increased engagement and user satisfaction
Time saved for the L&D department
Pamela S. Hogle

An experienced writer, editor, tech writer, and blogger, Pam helps you make sense of learning science and eLearning technology. She provides information you can use to drive improvements in your training effectiveness and ROI.

Read more articles by Pamela S. Hogle