Managing Large-Scale ILT & VILT Programs

Technology has transformed the way we learn and acquire new skills in the workforce yet two methods stand tall.

Instructor-led training (ILT) and virtual instructor-led training (VILT) are two popular and proven methods of training that organizations use to provide one-time and continual professional development. 

The problem faced by large organizations and third-party training providers is delivering instructor-led training courses at scale without sacrificing time for administrative duties. To get learners to register for just one course, learning specialists are required to cross-reference different spreadsheets, calendars, and software platforms to ensure the course has everything it needs from day one.

In this article, we go over why ILT and VILT remain (and will remain) as the gold standard for training and development programs, the issues faced by L&D teams in providing instructor-based training at scale, and how implementing a training management system can optimize every fact of a learning operation from course scheduling to selling courses.

instructor led training management

What is Instructor-Led Training (ILT)?

Instructor-led training (ILT) is a method of instruction that utilizes a live trainer or facilitator to provide guidance for learners in a classroom. Consider ILT delivery as the traditional way you were taught a subject in grade school with a teacher leading the classroom.

Instructor-led training is the preferred method since it provides a high degree of interaction between trainers and learners throughout the duration of the session and course overall. In addition, it provides learners the opportunity to ask questions, for trainers to provide feedback, and allows real-time demonstration of how hands-on or technical skills should be applied. 

What is Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT)?

Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) on the other hand is very much the same as instructor-led training described above. The difference is that VILT delivery is provided in real-time via online video conferencing platforms to provide demonstration. Learners can interact with instructors with questions as if they were in a live classroom while tools like whiteboards and interactive polls can foster engagement and feedback.

VILT delivery provides much of the same benefits as traditional, face-to-face learning in a classroom. The advantage to VILT is the convenience it provides when learners and trainers are dispersed throughout different locations.  With the implementation of Google Meet, Zoom, and Microsoft Teams into organizations’ communications channels, applying VILT methods has opened opportunities for companies to provide quality learning from a distance.

virtual instructor led training management

The Need for Increased In-Person Learning

When it comes to skills development, in-person training has consistently been provided to produce improved ROI of training for organizations and an improved learning experience for learners compared to eLearning and other online training models. While there are benefits to implementing either online training or in-person training, instructor-led training is the preferred delivery method for most organizations regardless of size, industry, or professional role.

As a result, in-person training is in demand as learning initiatives have become standard protocols for businesses. Training and development is paramount as having a skilled workforce is critical not only for the success of the organization but also for their workers’ career trajectory.

Challenges to Delivering ILT-Based Learning Programs

What makes L&D frustrating? The administrative side of managing the logistics of learning.

Because in-person training sessions deliver such value from the top down, L&D prioritizes providing it as quickly as possible and as error-free as possible across the organization’s employees and extended enterprise including partners and vendors.

Providing learning programs that are instructor-led is much more difficult than one might think. For experienced L&D and human resources professionals this may seem like old news. In short, delivering ILT courses or even the slightly more “convenient” VILT-based courses is frustrating and tedious.

managing training with spreadsheets

Lack of efficiency in the L&D Back-Office 

Back-office training operations work swiftly but inefficiently. Most learning specialists’ roles are hampered by administrative tasks including:

  • Comparing spreadsheets and more spreadsheets for information about training courses
  • Cross-comparing those spreadsheets with calendars for available instructors, trainers, and SMEs
  • Evaluating if available resources are within the training budget (as noted by the accounting spreadsheet)
  • Providing status updates and progress reports to key stakeholders
  • Managing training project deliverables between on-site training locations
  • Validating the scope and schedule of training projects with the calendars and spreadsheets above

Training Management System: Scaling ILT & VILT Processes

Despite new learning technologies developed to make learning convenient and the scale to which L&D wants to deliver training, there is no specific software system that’s designed to help manage the functions of multiple training programs. The current improvised system of multiple spreadsheets and third-party software can work but requires a painstaking amount of time to coordinate deliverables from course times to assigning trainers to a single learning session.

The training management system (TMS) serves as the go-to software for managing back-office operations for learning and development programs. Instead of manually reviewing dozens of spreadsheets with key pieces of information, the TMS serves as the control center of the learning operation.

How does a TMS make L&D processes easier?

Unlike a learning management system (LMS), a training management system (TMS) is designed to address the administrative functions of planning, delivery, and monitoring a training operation.

Key features that help improve the efficiency of L&D activity include:

Given that the scope of a training operation can vary from a single training course for 30,000 employees to multiple training programs for a global workforce, it’s important that coordinators have a platform that can manage the functionalities of L&D at scale without sacrificing quality.

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