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In the tech world, no one’s ever done learning. Every tech employee that came to you with the most up-to-date knowledge in their field—no matter how brilliant—will need a refresher.
And plenty of the employees that started out in roles that have nothing to do with technology have the potential to become standouts in tech positions where they're sorely needed—but only if they get the right training.
This is where upskilling comes in. In order to keep up on the learning required to keep their skills current, or gain the skills needed to transition into new roles, they need the active support and encouragement of the company. Smart businesses are already on top of this—with L&D teams and internal strategies devoted to ensuring employees have the time and resources for professional development.
Yet knowing that tech training is important to offer doesn’t mean you’ll automatically know which resources are best to set your team up for success. And some businesses risk overlooking one of the types of training that helps students learn best: instructor-led training.
What is instructor-led training?
Instructor-led training (ILT) is a learning experience facilitated by an expert, usually synchronously or with synchronous components. That’s a fairly straightforward definition, but in practice it can take on a number of forms.
ILT can take place in person in a classroom setting or online in a virtual environment. It can be provided to a group of students, or to an individual. And it can take place in real time, or include pre-recorded lectures and resources that participants can review at their own pace.
Instructor-led training for tech skills can be a more effective mode of learning than self-guided studies, since having a live instructor who can respond to students throughout the training enables people to ask questions and get immediate feedback. Instructors can help students get un-stuck, or understand a concept more deeply. That really matters for something as complex as tech.
What is virtual instructor-led training (vILT)?
Virtual instructor-led training is any form of instructor-led training that takes place online. With the popularity of e-learning, many instructors have the skills and ability to deliver an effective education via a virtual classroom. And virtual learning offers some distinct advantages.
Most notably: convenience. Employees can get their training from anywhere, without needing to commute or deal with travel expenses. All they need is instructions on how to join the training, a computer, and internet access. Virtual instructors can still provide the same personalized instruction and real-time feedback students would get from in-person training, just with added ease of access.
What makes a good instructor?
Instructor-led training for tech skills will only be as good as your instructor. Everyone remembers the really great teachers they had growing up. And everyone remembers the truly awful ones just as well.
In order for an ILT session or course to pay off for your employees, it’s crucial to partner with an instructor that’s not only a subject matter expert in the topic you want them to learn, but also someone who knows how to teach.
A good instructor will have experience teaching in the format they provide the training in. They’ll know how to assign exercises and deliver content in a variety of media types, as well as how to bring more interactive learning experiences and demonstrations into the process. And — because everyone learns slightly differently — a great teacher will know how to pay attention to the students, and run a differentiated classroom, so they can respond to students’ unique needs as they arise.
Pros and cons of instructor-led training
Instructor-led training isn’t your only option for employee training, and you may wonder why you should consider it over others. To help you make an informed decision, here’s a rundown of the main pros and cons of choosing instructor-led training for tech skills.
Pros of instructor-led training for tech:
1. It’s good for teaching complex topics.
Technology is complicated enough that many people, especially beginners or individuals transitioning to a new skill set, will struggle trying to learn it on their own. Skilled, knowledgeable instructors can work as active facilitators in helping students grasp complex concepts and learn how to put them to use.
2. Employees get real-time feedback as they learn.
Feedback is such an important part of learning, and good instructors know how to provide learners with the kind of feedback that helps them on their journey to building their tech skills.
3. It encourages more engagement.
Solo learning can often feel like a passive activity. It can be hard to stay focused and engaged. ILT provides a more interactive learning experience that requires more direct participation. By requiring active interactions and projects, along with traditional learning tools like quizzes and lectures, a good ILT course will keep students engaged.
4. It’s customized to what you need.
Sending employees generic, pre-created resources will teach them something, sure, but is it precisely what they need to do their jobs better? When you hire a skilled instructor to set up ILT for your employees, they can tailor the sessions or curriculum to precisely what you want your employees to learn, then further customize it to their particular learning styles and needs.
5. Instructor led training is more current.
ILT is, by nature, able to be adaptive to current trends and updates to technology, like new versions of coding languages. On the other hand, pre-recorded training videos simply can’t be as current as often — they’re time-consuming and expensive to update.
Cons of Instructor-Led Training for Tech
1. Structured training means less flexibility.
Real-time ILT sessions are held at set times, which means your employees can’t just squeeze them in at the times that work best for them. While ILT trainings can be delivered in a hybrid synchronous and asynchronous format, some employees may prefer all training resources are available to access whenever most convenient.
2. The cost is higher.
An instructor is a skilled professional, and every hiring manager or HR professional knows well that talent costs money. Hiring an instructor for training will typically cost you more than paying for resources employees can learn entirely on their own.
How to choose a program design partner
For any of the benefits of training to pay off, you need the right program partner. To find a partner with experience designing and delivering impactful instructor-led training, partner with a school that’s well-versed in teaching tech skills to students. Instructors will be experienced in teaching best practices, have tactics that work best with different types of learners, and have up-to-date knowledge on the tech skills your team needs. Their content and instructional approach will be tailored to high-impact learning.
ILT can be costly, but the best training providers will create sessions that are a valuable investment for your employees and your overall business.
Flatiron School’s instructors have extensive experience in the virtual classroom teaching a diverse range of students from all types of backgrounds. They have the skills and ability to tailor teaching to a company’s needs.
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