It has become a very popular hobby among L&D professionals to bash Instructor Led Training (ILT) at the profit of social learning, self paced learning or even individual coaching.
There is no doubt that new technology based forms of learning are great in the way that they allow learners to use new interfaces that sometimes fit their learning style and lifestyle better. There is also no doubt that coaching is an extremely powerful, highly personalised development approach.However, this does not mean that our ancient ILT was never effective or “just doesn’t work for digital natives”(sic) or “goes against adult learning principles.”(sic)
When I read or hear this, I really wonder what kind of ILT people have been attending or have been facilitating. If done properly, ILT can be a very effective part of someone’s development.
1. ILT allow participants to share experiences with one another with someone to facilitate the exchange and help them debrief these experiences in order to identify learning points. They can also sometimes learn by listening someone else’s question, and subsequent discussion,that they had not thought of.
2. ILT allow participants to confront their perspective to others. Someone from the HR function might discuss empathy very differently than someone from Information Security and they will both build a better understanding of the business by being exposed to each others perspective.
3. Being exposed to different perspectives and mental models also builds can also be a good way to build acceptance of diversity of others but also assertiveness when debating with people with different opinions.
4. ILT are a great place to network. Participants often get a chance to meet colleagues they would never meet otherwise or meet peers from other organizations.
5. ILT can also be a good occasion for intact teams to step back from every day operations and spend time together developing skills that will enable the team to work better.
So, is ILT only way to develop new skills? No.
Are technology based learning systems useful? Yes.
Are other forms of development like coaching, group process facilitation and mentoring also useful? Yes.
The only thing I hope the L&D community moves away from is the either/or mentality. Effective development initiatives are the ones that understand how to blend different methods in order to achieve real development.