Since my transition from school teaching to Instructional Design, I have moved from delivering in-person instruction, to the opposite end of the Learning and Development spectrum, designing remotely-accessed, self-paced training modules almost exclusively. While I am extremely satisfied with my decision to change careers, part of me misses the old days of standing in front of a class and delivering lectures in-person to a room full of students, allowing myself the ability to improvise and discuss challenging concepts with my audience, and allow them the opportunity to ask questions.

I find the closest I get to this is when I am developing for Instructor Led Training or ILT. A week before I started writing this article, I was racking my brain to think of a Storyline module that would accurately simulate GeoMapping software for a major regional provider of gas and electricity. After attempting several functions in Storyline that might come within touching distance of replicating the myriad complexities of this kind of program, I was relieved to find out that this course would be a part of a blended learning solution, and the types of interactions I was making for the learner to practice would instead be facilitated by an instructor in tandem with the learner using the actual software. My part in the course would be to provide the initial frontloading of needed information through traditional eLearning, and the richer, more detailed aspects of the course would be conducted in a classroom setting.

This new project got me thinking about Instructional Design in general. Sometimes when designing a course, it can be possible for Instructional Designers to get locked into the notion that we are only creating courses that are specifically eLearning centric, as that is most often what we are called to do. However, that modality is not always the best or most appropriate way to reach our learners, and we need to mix in other elements to our approach.

What is Instructor Led Training (ILT)?

Enter ILT. ILT is self-explanatory in that an instructor, often a subject matter expert or a trainer, leads a classroom through said subject matter. For topics that have a higher level of complexity, traditional eLearning may not be sufficient. In cases such as this, ILT is essential as part of a blended learning solution so learners can spend additional time on concepts that might be harder to grasp, immersing themselves in a course. More importantly, having a hands-on instructor guiding the course session allows for questions to clarify any knowledge gaps, as well as the opportunity for instructors to tailor the content and instruction pace to match the knowledge of their learners. ILT is perfect for those types of courses that require maximum engagement when training made from Rise, Storyline, or Captivate may not approach the level of depth needed for a learner to achieve proficiency in the subject of focus.


A common misconception of ILT is that it must be done only in a classroom, and that is probably the mental picture most people would conjure when hearing this term. The reality is a class can be conducted either in person or completely virtually. As a new generation begins to enter the workforce in the next decade, companies will be seeing a demographic that is incredibly familiar with this form of learning, as this new workforce would have spent a large part of their secondary and higher education entirely online due to the COVID pandemic.

Limitations of ILT

All the benefits that can come from ILT obscure the fact that it does have its limitations, which is why a company needs to assess the best modality for the information they want to train on. Regardless of whether it is based in a physical classroom or online, ILT is not ideal for flexible learning on its own, as learners will need to be present at a specific date and time and cannot take a course at their own pace. This would inevitably run the risk of interfering with employee work time and scheduling differences.

Additionally, this modality requires an instructor. With multiple instructors teaching the same information the delivery of the subject matter might vary as instructor’s teaching will be slightly different every time they teach the topic. This will undoubtedly affect your learners where standard eLearning ensures consistency across the board.

Finally, while ILT ensures in-depth content delivery, it is difficult to reach the same number of learners that standard eLearning can. ILT is about smaller class sizes where needed, rather than reaching as many people as possible.

So, When Do You Use ILT?

For these reasons, ILT is best used in conjunction with standard eLearning, as one half of a blended learning solution, when there is a need for an in-depth look at a specific subject. In the case of the client we worked with I mentioned in the second paragraph, it was a structured walkthrough of the various parts of the GeoMapping tool and practice exercises. This part of the training was made available after the traditional eLearning had been completed, and the necessary information the learner needed beforehand had been provided to the learner in a self-paced course.

If eLearning is used to frontload basic information, then ILT’s purpose is to follow with a more comprehensive review of a subject. In this way, not only can eLearning and ILT coexist, but they also complement each other. Want to learn more about blended learning and see where your organization can best implement Instructor Led Training? Schedule a consult with us today!