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Why and How to Digitize Instructor-led Training – 3 Practical Approaches

Instructor-led training (ILT) is the practice of conducting training using PowerPoint presentations, instructors (in-person or through webinars) and handouts. Logistics to facilitate instructor-led training especially for a large organization, can be nightmarish.

One of the biggest drawbacks of ILT is that, it cannot be rolled out to all employees, simultaneously. Digitizing instructor-led training is one way to overcome this issue. You might now be wondering, how can digitizing ILT help organizations. Let us go through a case and work our brains together on it.

There was a pharmaceutical company that employed 3500+ sales personnel, engaged in new hire training for 100-200 sales personnel every month for medical training and specific brand training (for 184 of its brands). The new hire training program took place in two phases at the company’s regional training centers. In the first phase new hires underwent 4 days of classroom training in their local regional training center. This phase was a quick one that went over some basic medical subjects.

The second phase was after three months of field sales efforts; these sales reps were again trained for 9 days in a classroom environment at the head office on topics covering human physiology & anatomy, selling & behavioral skills and brand training. After final evaluation, unqualified learners were terminated, and qualified trainees were fully on boarded. Evaluations and assessments were also carried out after the classroom training at the regional training centers. Only oral quizzes and paper & pencil assessments were administered to learners.

Let us now look at a few gaps and challenges in the above case, that calls for digitizing the traditional instructor-led training approach:

  • The company required more frequent training efforts because of new employees joining every month. This necessitates subject matter experts and trainers to drop everything and led to higher costs of bringing trainers and trainees under one roof.
  • Conducting and finishing training in two phases left no scope for reinforcement or refresher training. This meant no just-in-time support for sales representatives when they were on field with customers or prospects.
  • Classroom training is very expensive. In addition to the logistical cost of bringing all trainees to the requisite training center, the pharmaceutical company also had to incur the cost of trainer for every single session.
  • There existed a lack of uniformity in training across regional training centers and brands. This created a mismatch in the training and its comprehension across different locations of the business.
  • There also existed a need to assign, track training, and assess learners’ progress in a standard way across the company. The company required an LMS to unify the training approach and administration at the organizational level.

Having recognized the training gaps in this case, can you think of some ways this company could have adopted to digitization? Following are the approaches useful in digitizing traditional instructor-led training.

1. Using blended learning which is administered by an LMS

Breaking down the traditional walls of teaching, training provided through eLearning makes training way more cost and time effective. Blended learning will remove the requirement of learners to travel to headquarters to get trained. By making the learning content available online, the learning for employees is standardized throughout the business.

An LMS can support all the training efforts of an organization. It provides benefits of holding all eLearning content in one location, tracking learning progress as well as performance, and easily integrates collaborative learning.

Blended learning is highly beneficial to organizational training since it has manifold uses. It can be used pre-training as ice-breakers or introductory courses, it can be used during the training to provide self-paced learning opportunities to learners, and post-training as refresher courses or assessments.

2. Using mobile learning

Mobile learning in its true sense means mobility of the learners. In the above case, learners will need to be on field as the sales force of the company to interact with customers. Mobile learning provides great scope for just-in-time training for such learners. Mobile devices can be effectively used to engage learners with their features such as audio, video, etc.

3. Automating assessments

Having assessments online makes them diagnostic in nature. Since this pharmaceutical company gave assessments on pen and paper, the feedback must have been inefficient because of the number of employees in the company.

Automating assessments through an LMS makes it easy to track learner progress, identify improvement areas in the learners, provide personalized feedback, and also get feedback from learners.

Having online pre-assessments can enable trainers build appropriate and relevant trainings for learners. Automated formative assessments are great interactivities that enhance retention and automated summative assessments provide reports and insights on learners’ performance.

This is how traditional instructor-led trainings can be digitized to meet the dynamic training needs of dynamic businesses. Hope you enjoyed reading this post and solving the case. In an upcoming post, I will talk in-depth about how you can leverage Blended learning for your business training needs.

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