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Why We Don’t Do Instructor-Led Training, In-Person or Virtual

If you’re familiar with our work, even at a surface level or by visiting our digital training solutions page, you’ll notice that instructor-led training (virtual or otherwise) is missing. We don’t offer contract trainers, virtual training sessions, or anything like that.

There’s a good reason for that, which we will cover here. Through years of work in the learning & development world, we’ve concluded that the case for trainers coming into your organization or sessions being hosted by outside people simply isn’t suitable for most corporate technical training projects, especially software training.

Training topics sometimes dictate training modality. Instructor-led training isn’t ideal for most of what we specialize in.

Our specialty is training for corporate IT systems and helping employees learn software quickly. We strongly promote software training tailored to your organization and systems. That requires custom training that helps employees learn company systems quickly, whether new or changing.

That rarely involves any traditional format of training. There are plenty of cases where conventional types of training are beneficial, but IT is seldom one of them. Soft skills, sales, leadership, etc., are all great use cases for in-person and virtual training, and it occasionally can make sense for IT, but not often. We specialize in corporate technical training.

This post explains why we don’t offer instructor-led training. But before that, it’s helpful to know what types of instructor-led training are available since the reason we don’t provide either is unique to each.

The Two Types Of Instructor-Led Training

There are two types of instructor-led training, each accomplished differently. The scale of each one can vary a lot, too. They could range from 1 to 1,000 participants or more, but they are each limited in different ways, either technologically, physically, or both.

We also have different reasons for not doing either type of instructor-led training. First up, the original type of training, in-person training.

In-Person Training (ILT)

The name is self-explanatory but can vary in how it’s carried out. It could be as simple as someone from your department scheduling a conference room to teach a new process. In-person training can also be a massive 15,000-person arena filled with people wooing over the trainer (entertainer). You might see that from a Tony Robbins event, even though you might consider him a coach or speaker, not a trainer. When it comes down to it, though, he is a type of trainer.

I’ve attended huge sales training events at sales-based organizations, where they fly in all the top performers for a multi-day event. There are big-name speakers, organizational leaders, and activities where participants learn new approaches to sales.

In-person training can vary in size and formality from a few people on a team in a conference room to a massive arena with thousands.

Sometimes, in-person instructor-led training can border on entertainment and include multiple instructors. It’s not required to be held in a classroom and is not limited in size. Here are some of the things you’ll likely find in an excellent in-person instructor-led training:

  • Activities where groups each take on a specific activity or challenge.
  • Flip charts where information from the whole group or small groups is documented and presented.
  • Hands-on activities such as solving a puzzle with a limited number of items (team building!)
  • Group discussions where everybody gets to give their input.
  • And more of whatever can be done to increase engagement, variety, and ultimately learning of the topic to be trained.

In-person instructor-led training can vary significantly in how it looks and is executed. It’s helpful in some cases, but it’s not efficient, effective, or necessary for other things that need to be trained.

But what about virtual? How does that differ? Let’s take a look!

Virtual Instructor-Led Training (vILT)

Just as in-person instructor-led training can vary greatly, so can virtual instructor-led training. The training may be part of a more extensive curriculum that includes many virtual sessions for a remote education program, or it could be a webinar.

Yes, even some webinars are, in a way, virtual instructor-led training. They may not always be interactive or have activities, but if the goal is to change behavior or teach you something, it’s training!

The official definition of training is up for debate, but it’s pretty clear that if the goal is to change behavior or acquire new knowledge, it’s training. And, if it’s online and synchronous, then it’s virtual instructor-led training.

Virtual instructor-led training can even happen with employees all at the same location.

It can be through a platform like Webex, Zoom, Google Hangouts, Microsoft Teams, or other platforms that let trainers present virtually. These are some of the things you’ll find specifically in virtual instructor-led training:

  • Breakout rooms where small groups discuss or devise solutions to a problem.
  • The instructor looking like a talking head on the screen.
  • Live surveys or polls during the training session.
  • Annotating on the screen by the trainer or even by participants.
  • A participant can be given control of the cursor to take action.

Virtual instructor-led training is very versatile. While some things can only be done in person, others can only be done virtually.

Now that we’ve covered the two types of instructor-led training and what makes them unique, it’s time to understand why we don’t offer either. Nope, we don’t offer in-person or virtual training in any capacity or situation. But we won’t leave you hanging if that’s what you need. We have lots of connections in L&D; give us a shout.

The Reasons We Don’t Do Instructor-Led Training

We have our reasons for not specializing in or offering instructor-led training. While many of our instructional design consultants have worked on projects involving instructor-led training, Techstructional simply doesn’t offer it. We also have no plans to add that solution since we can’t justify the need.

So, let’s look at why we don’t do instructor-led training, either in-person, providing in-person trainers, virtually, or even providing virtual trainers.

The Two Reasons We Don’t Do In-Person

We don’t offer or do in-person training in our digital training solutions for two primary reasons. That in itself is a reason, though. There’s nothing digital about in-person training; it simply doesn’t fit training for IT software, systems, or procedures in a way that makes sense for most technical training.

First up, an excellent in-person trainer knows their people well.

Know Your People

We don’t do in-person training because we don’t find it practical to come into an organization from the outside as an in-person trainer. While we get to know your culture and people during our process, it’s not at a deep enough level that an in-person trainer needs to know to be effective.

In-person trainers should be part of your organization and know it well. Someone who comes into an organization from the outside and tries to train others lacks something. The critical message of training sometimes gets lost in the lack of organization-specifics that the trainer doesn’t know.

This one is important for soft skills and things that aren’t IT systems, but there’s a more important reason why we don’t do in-person training for company technology.


Most technology training is a hands-on, do-it-to-learn type of training. That means it’s nearly impossible to do in a classroom while watching an instructor. It’s even more challenging to hear about abstract processes or screens on a slide that don’t seem to connect. That’s also one reason we think video training isn’t always the best for technical training.

Whatever people think is their dominant learning style, it’s not; it’s merely a preference. The content will dictate how content is best taught. Learning technology (especially software) needs to be a hands-on approach. There’s no such thing as reading abstractly about how to use a system, and watching a video or something else only accomplishes so much.

Some abstract ideas and concepts in IT are best taught in ways other than doing, but that’s an exception.

Instructor-led training can’t provide for the same level of practice that digital asynchronous training can.

We can’t reproduce any meaningful way of learning about and practicing software or systems in an in-person setting. It would end up being a room full of computers with people looking back and forth from their computer to the computer at the front of the room. So, everybody is staring at their computer while watching what someone else is doing and trying to replicate it.

For demonstrations in my college degree, this is how it was done, and it wasn’t efficient or effective, and the teacher knew it. That’s why most of the work was done one-on-one from a book with walkthroughs. Now I’m sure it’s all done online.

Why not just help them do it in the first place rather than having to try to replicate someone else?

It’s just not practical for most organizations to have in-person technology training. Employees perform processes on the computer and are best taught on the computer. We can provide realistic practice, which neither type of instruct-led training can do.

In-person training has its merits for some types of content. We simply don’t build those types of training at all. Therefore, we stick to the virtual realm and only virtual.

Why We Don’t Do Virtual

Just as in-person training isn’t practical for people who want to do something and practice while learning, the same is true for virtual instructor-led training. While it’s possible to have a participant or two take control and try something out, that only gives one person practice, not everyone.

When we build corporate technical training, we make it in a way that’s not simply showing people how to do their work in systems. The content we build is a complete process with scenarios that are like having a personal coach sitting right there with you, walking you through the process.

Virtual instructor-led training (vIRT) can’t effectively reproduce the necessity of having people practice and do something while taking the training. Only custom eLearning can accomplish this by recreating a system in a safe environment that walks people through processes while having them do it.

Any of the benefits from vILT can be duplicated easily in asynchronous training. If training has a route for participants to ask questions or get help, their questions can still be answered. In every course we build, we try to give a straightforward way to get answers or a person who can help.

If a system is new and there are a lot of anticipated questions that can’t be foreseen in training, office hours solve that. Allow employees to come to sessions where subject matter experts will be to answer questions.

In most cases, these sessions aren’t utilized or are rarely used, but they’re still an option to offer comfort to those uncomfortable with the technical change. We’ve gone through a whole process of weighing the benefits and drawbacks of providing virtual instructor-led training.

Weighing Benefits/Drawbacks Of vILT

Virtual instructor-led training has some benefits, but it also has some drawbacks. We discussed some of these in our post about saving an organization more than $20,000 annually by converting vILT into eLearning. From the title, you can see we prefer asynchronous digital training.

While there are benefits to vILT, they do not make up for the benefits of self-paced courses.

We ultimately decided that vILT isn’t for us and isn’t going to add sufficient benefits for technical training in most cases. For each benefit, we ultimately found too many drawbacks or easy solutions that require less overhead.

  • Questions and answers: Yes, employees can ask questions in real time or at the end, but with a few office hours scheduled, that easily replaces the need to ask questions during training. For the limited few who need more help or have questions, office hours are a more effective way of accomplishing the same thing.
  • Uniqueness: Each vILT session is unique, but that uniqueness’s amount and usefulness doesn’t matter. Nobody is taking each session anyway, typically it’s a once-and-done kind of thing so who cares if each person’s session is unique?
  • Engaging: Instructors can ask the audience to take control and do something in the software, but that’s only one person at a time. Everyone should get practice, which a self-paced course can do.
  • Focused: It’s true that employees have to step away from their work to participate in training, but that doesn’t help them focus. Their minds still wonder, especially when they’re completely away from work, and something essential could happen.
  • Feedback: Just as instructors can ask for immediate feedback, self-paced courses can do the same. Most organizations send a follow-up survey for an instructor, the same as what would happen in eLearning.
  • Customized: The beauty of a self-paced course is that each person can dictate the speed of the content and can revisit any section as necessary. While participants in a vILT session can request changes, those changes affect everyone. That’s not very custom, after all.

So there you have some of the reasons why we ultimately decided that vILT can never achieve the convenience and benefit of self-paced eLearning courses for technical training. The reason is also very similar to in-person ILT.

There’s simply no powerful benefit that any real-time training presents to the organization that eLearning can’t. That’s why we have done away with instructor-led training from our offerings. It has nothing to do with us loving to work in our pickleball pants (yes, some of us do), but that’s definitely a perk.

Training that works for everyone’s schedule, the content, and the organization is always a priority. We’ve found the perfect blend of self-paced training with performance support resources that help employees perform better and use company technology more effectively.

Not to mention, eLearning works remarkably for software simulations.

Wrap Up

Some organizations may find it meaningful to bring everyone into the same room (virtual or real), which may be essential for certain projects. However, for the types of projects we specialize in, it’s unnecessary, unhelpful, and cannot offer the same level of support as our digital training solutions.

For organizations that find in-person or virtual instructor-led training is required, there are plenty of options to find solutions for that. We are not leaving a gap in the market by not providing real-time training for technology.

A gap is left in the market for organizations specializing in digital solutions for company IT training. Some eLearning developers, consulting organizations, and more can handle technical training but are not specialists.

We’ve fine-tuned the process of training employees at organizations to help them take advantage of company technology innovations. That’s why we stick to what we know works best in corporate IT training, assisting non-techie employees to understand what they need to do their jobs better.

If you’d like to learn how we can help your organization’s employees learn corporate IT systems better, we’d love to talk with you in a free consultation. We’d love to know about your organization and technical project. Our goal is to help your employees perform better with company technology through our custom training solutions. We know custom training solutions will perform better than off-the-shelf solutions or instructor-led training.

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