Obviously, we at ELM have a pretty vested interest in eLearning: it’s what we do. But just because we’re champions of putting your training online, improving learner interaction, and increasing memory retention doesn’t mean we think eLearning is a one-size-fits-all solution to training. In fact, many times eLearning is enhanced by the use of instructor-led training. Still, instructor-led training isn’t always a perfect solution either. Our instructional designers tell us when to deploy eLearning, and when face-to-face training is the better option.
When ILT Works
While we’re natural champions for eLearning, we also know that instructor-led training has a time and a place, especially when part of your training involves a group aspect. It’s true that group collaboration can be done via email or instant messaging, but conversation, discussion, and role play are usually best in a classroom setting. If you hope to use scenarios and group projects to train, it’s a cue that your training should be done in class.
Physical, shoulder-to-shoulder collaboration is important, especially for departmental-based training. Sometimes, the best way to have real impact on learners is to get them in a room with seriously effective training.
When eLearning Works
Many learners crave autonomy, so group lessons and face-to-face contact can be draining. Instructor-led training has its place, but if it doesn’t need to be done in the classroom, find a way to train via eLearning instead. Going the eLearning route respects each learner as an individual; each has a different level of knowledge as well as personal preferences in accessing course material or experiencing modules on their own timeline and schedules.
We’ll be honest: eLearning isn’t a magic bullet for all training. But in the vast majority of cases, it can be the main component of comprehensive topic coverage. Whether you go with gamification to get learners engaged and absorbing information in a fun way, or you’re utilizing an online knowledge library for quick access to information, eLearning makes training faster, more accessible, and more personalized to each user.
When to Blend Both
Sometimes, an all-ILT approach works well. For other topics, eLearning fits the bill. The real magic happens, however, when ILT and eLearning are combined to create the most effective training possible. By asking learners to read through materials or play a few trivia games on their own time via eLearning modules, they’re better prepped for conversation, questions, and instruction during class time. Then, the topics covered in ILT can be reiterated via microlearning reminders or a quick course refresher module.
You can definitely have it both ways when planning effective training. We love eLearning, but we love it even more when it’s part of comprehensive training that also contains a classroom component. Armed with both the capacity to training shoulder-to-shoulder as well as respect each learner as an individual, your efforts become twice as impactful.