How to Convert Instructor-Led Training (ILT) to Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)
The world as we know it is still grappling with the effects of COVID-19, including learning. Although eLearning has been around for years, many groups still use instructor-led training to facilitate discussions, guide learners through concepts, and keep participants on track. Converting instructor-led training into virtual training is a pivot that many companies are making.
Allegro Media Design has helped companies transition from instructor-led training (ILT) to virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Here’s what you should know about switching from ILT to VILT.
Instructor-Led Training (ILT) vs. Virtual Instructor-Led Training
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.
Converting Instructor-Led Training to Virtual Instructor-Led Training: Tips to Consider
Even if you currently use instructor-led training, the transition into virtual instructor-led training isn’t as complicated as you may think.
Setting Goals for Virtual Learning
The best virtual instructor-led training courses outline specific goals for learners to achieve. Setting goals and expectations helps learners understand the clear focus of the program to keep them motivated and on track.
As a general guideline, expect that virtual instructors can cover roughly 66-75 percent of the content that they’d get through in an in-person learning environment. Converting instructor-led training into VILT means you will lose some opportunities for organic interaction between the facilitator and the learner. For example, there isn’t an opportunity for eye contact, smiles, nods, and other nonverbal communication.
Ensure that you set specific program goals to meet objectives and timelines.
Choosing Your Virtual Learning Experience
Be mindful when selecting which virtual learning experience to include for each course. Here are some examples to consider.
If your course is tailored toward a large audience, webcasts are a great option. They don’t require a ton of interaction between the students and the instructor, making them particularly popular when learners don’t need to access the information in real-time.
Webinars are another opportunity for real-time interaction between the presenter and the audience. They allow for engagement via polls or Q&A sessions, making webinars ideal for subjects with which the audience is already vaguely familiar.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training
Virtual instructor-led training courses are the closest you can get to in-person training. These typically live with a smaller class size to keep engagement as high as possible throughout. VILT is also ideal to solidify new material and encourage students to take the learning experience beyond the screen.
Designing Content for Your Virtual Instructor-Led Training Program
The content in VILT programs is not one-size-fits-all. One important takeaway to consider in all virtual learning courses is that less is more. The last thing you want is to produce lengthy sessions packed with tons of intricate information. Learners will not retain the information and they will quickly become bored by the material.
If necessary, break the content into smaller, bite-sized chunks to provide more value to the learner without overwhelming them. Combine these shorter sessions with brief and interesting offline activities to further reinforce learning.
Maximizing Engagement with Virtual Learning
Engagement is one of the most important aspects of any training program. The higher the engagement, the more content will be retained.
Before the Session
Begin building engagement with learners before the session begins by showing them a short case study or thought-provoking question. This small yet impactful gesture will help pique interest and keep learners focused throughout.
Beginning the Session
Skip the traditional classroom icebreakers and instead begin each session with a short activity to unite the group and help relax learners. For example, ask a simple question that can be answered in one word and have students share their responses in the chat function. This helps break the ice and encourages participation in an approachable way.
During the Session
Experts note that there should be some sort of engagement activity every 3-5 minutes in virtual learning environments. Learners should interact with both the facilitator and with other learners for the most impactful results. Further, encourage engagement by having break-out groups share their answers at the end of each session.
After the Session
The learning shouldn’t end just because the session is over. Reinforce learning by sending a job aid that reviews the main session points, send additional resources or links for learning, and encourage learners to interact with one another outside of each session.
Sorting Out the Mechanics
Figuring out the mechanics of each course is the final step.
- Regardless of your experience with technology, open the program’s portal ahead of time to make sure you can log on
- Utilize facilitators who already have experience in the virtual space
- Encourage your facilitators to practice using the technology
- Utilize producers who are equipped to monitor chat windows, troubleshoot, and manage breakout sessions
Manage Your Expectations
There is a learning curve that comes with switching from ILT to VILT classes as learners will need to feel comfortable using the technology. Consider running some practice courses to help answer questions and familiarize your team with the technology.
Not everyone may be tech-savvy, so this is an aspect you’ll want to consider as well. Always be prepared for an adjustment period and always give breaks throughout sessions for learners to refresh themselves.
Companies may be frustrated to have to recreate courses they’ve already built, but this can be a great opportunity! During the content-gathering phase, ask them about what may have been missing, if learners had any feedback, or if processes have changed since the first course was built.
In all, transitioning an instructor-led course to suit a virtual setting is a great opportunity to make the course more interactive, reach more learners, and facilitate long-term growth.