When Does Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) Make Sense?

March 8, 2013 14:01 by Dana Peters

In a previous post, I shared some thoughts about when eLearning is a possible option for delivering training. In that post, I defined the term eLearning to mean self-directed online training modules that the learner takes independently at any time.

As blog posts often do, the eLearning post sparked a discussion around when Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) should be considered as a possible delivery option.

Quick sidebar: When I refer to VILT I am talking about a live, instructor-led online learning event in which the facilitator and participants come together online at the same time to participate. VILT is also sometimes referred to as synchronous learning.

Let’s get right to it. When should VILT be considered? (Note you will see some repetition from that eLearning post I referenced earlier.)

  • When bringing your audience together in one room is challenging or impossible. In situations where learners are spread across a large geographical area or the globe. Or perhaps there are some employees that have little or no access to your current face-to-face learning and development opportunities because of their physical location.
  • When bringing your audience together in one room is cost prohibitive. Maybe the travel budget no longer exists for learners and/or the instructor to come together face-to-face. Another issue in the “money bucket” could be the loss of productivity with learners spending several days away from the job site for in-person training.
  • When you want to involve company leaders or subject matter experts in the delivery. The flexibility and accessibility of a virtual classroom allow for the incorporation of guest facilitators to deliver certain chunks of content or lead specific, relevant discussions.
  • When your learners are already working remotely. In organizations where the workers are already working remotely, why not bring the learning opportunities to them?
  • When the content requires guidance from a trainer/facilitator. In situations where meeting the learning objectives requires the content be supported by the expertise, experience sharing, and discussion leading ability of a talented facilitator.
  • When the content requires real-time interaction between all parties. The ability to: draw on other participants’ experiences, receive instant feedback, build on each other’s ideas, and participate in real-time communication.
  • When the corporate culture would support virtual learning. Meaning management embraces/supports this methodology and its possibilities, the technical infrastructure to support a virtual learning environment is in place or could reasonable be implemented, and the participants have the ability to use the technology (or at least willingness to learn the technology).
  • When the core learning objectives can be met in multiple sessions, small chunks in shorter periods of time. Content must lend itself to pre and post work so that the session length can be limited to 60 to 90 minutes each. The focus of the time spent in the virtual classroom is on activities and discussions that drive home the key learning points.
  • When your content is appropriate to smaller groups. As small as 6 and as large as 20. In our opinion, appropriate group size is dependent on the content, the environment, and the human resources available to deliver the session. Will the session be led by a single facilitator or a facilitator supported by a technical producer/host? Either way, this post is not about 200 participants in a webinar.
  • When your learners have access to an environment conducive to this type of learning. Quiet space, free from distractions or interruptions, with their own computer, internet, and audio connection.

There will always be a time and a place for face-to-face training. However, the virtual classroom, when done right, offers a wide variety of possibilities to organizations and their learners.

What other situations have you come across in which VILT is a good possible option?

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eLearning | Virtual Instructor-Led Training | Virtual Learning

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