What Is Instructor-led Training? Instructor-led training In A Nutshell

Instructor-led training is a more traditional, top-down, teacher-oriented approach to learning that occurs in online or offline classroom environments. The approach connects instructors with students to encourage discussion and interaction in a group or individual context, with many enjoying ILT over other methods as they can seek direct clarification on a topic from the source.  Instructor-led training (ILT), therefore, encompasses any form of training provided by an instructor in an online or offline classroom setting.

Understanding instructor-led training

For companies, instructor-led training is also used to train employees on complex topics that require interactive, hands-on experience. Most favor instructor-led training because of its effectiveness in increasing knowledge retention among employees.

Relatively recent data on ILT shows that the method comprises 66% of all corporate training and development. This figure rises to 80% in high-stakes industries such as healthcare, finance, and utilities.

Three types of instructor-led training

There are three general types of instructor-led training available today. These include:

  1. Location-dependent – or any form of training provided in a physical environment such as an office, workplace, training center, workshop, classroom, or in the field.
  2. Virtual – this describes instructor-led training that is provided in a real-time, virtual environment. Virtual training occurs on video conferencing platforms such as Zoom and has increased in popularity due to the coronavirus pandemic.
  3. Blended – a hybrid approach of location-dependent and virtual training that caters to a broader mix of learning styles and facilitates more collaboration and discussion. Education may occur via live webinars, podcasts, videos, quizzes, and in-field or practical exercises that supplement theory-based content.

Advantages and disadvantages of instructor-led training


  • Open dialogue – as hinted at earlier, two-way communication between the instructor and student is a hallmark of instructor-led training. This allows the instructor to leverage student queries and ensure they understand the information presented. There is also value in face-to-face interaction and the ability for both parties to read the facial expressions and body language of the other.
  • Less distraction – while remote learning is now extremely popular, it cannot compete with instructor-led training in terms of a distraction-free environment. In a classroom setting where the student is under direct supervision and has often paid to be there, there is a reduced likelihood they’ll be distracted by social media or other temptations.


  • Cost – for companies who sell or utilise instructor-led training, the costs can be significant. Expenses include instructor fees, venue rental, travel expenses, training materials, and instructor-specific refresher courses.
  • Reduced productivity – unlike some forms of virtual training that employees can do in their own time, instructor-led training is normally conducted in business hours and can take several days to complete. For the business, this means reduced productivity as employees undertake the training.

Key takeaways:

  • Instructor-led training (ILT) encompasses any form of training provided by an instructor in an online or offline classroom setting.
  • There are three types of instructor-led training: location-dependent, virtual, and blended, which caters to a more diverse range of learning styles and situations.
  • Instructor-led training increases knowledge retention as instructors can adapt their teaching style based on student queries and body language. There are also fewer distractions in a formal classroom setting. However, ILT tends to be costlier for companies, and productivity is reduced when employees are requisitioned for learning.

Other Frameworks

5E Instructional Model

The 5E Instructional Model is a framework for improving teaching practices through discussion, observation, critique, and reflection. Teachers and students move through each phase linearly, but some may need to be repeated or cycled through several times to ensure effective learning. This is a form of inquiry-based learning where students are encouraged to discover information and formulate new insights themselves.

Fishbone Diagram

The Fishbone Diagram is a diagram-based technique used in brainstorming to identify potential causes for a problem, thus it is a visual representation of cause and effect. The problem or effect serves as the head of the fish. Possible causes of the problem are listed on the individual “bones” of the fish. This encourages problem-solving teams to consider a wide range of alternatives.

5 Whys Method

The 5 Whys method is an interrogative problem-solving technique that seeks to understand cause-and-effect relationships. At its core, the technique is used to identify the root cause of a problem by asking the question of why five times. This might unlock new ways to think about a problem and therefore devise a creative solution to solve it.

Ansoff Matrix

You can use the Ansoff Matrix as a strategic framework to understand what growth strategy is more suited based on the market context. Developed by mathematician and business manager Igor Ansoff, it assumes a growth strategy can be derived by whether the market is new or existing, and the product is new or existing.

Five Product Levels

Marketing consultant Philip Kotler developed the Five Product Levels model. He asserted that a product was not just a physical object but also something that satisfied a wide range of consumer needs. According to that Kotler identified five types of products: core product, generic product, expected product, augmented product, and potential product.

Growth-Share Matrix

In the 1970s, Bruce D. Henderson, founder of the Boston Consulting Group, came up with The Product Portfolio (aka BCG Matrix, or Growth-share Matrix), which would look at a successful business product portfolio based on potential growth and market shares. It divided products into four main categories: cash cows, pets (dogs), question marks, and stars.

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