LearnShareProsper logo Boosting Business_Performance Adele Sommers
by Adele Sommers, Ph.D.
 www.LearnShareProsper.com Adele@LearnShareProsper.com 
In This Issue

May 2023
Volume 19, Issue 5

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Below find this month’s newsletter, hot off the press!

  • Feature Article: What Are the Goals and
    Costs of Designing Instructor-Led Training?

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Note from the Author

How Engaging Is Your Classroom Instruction?

Student raising her hand in class
Last month, we began a new series
to answer this question: Which kinds of training would be most likely to succeed in closing a performance gap (if we are sure that training is the best remedy)?

We started reviewing four main types, and we’ll continue to focus on them one by one in this series. Those types are:

  • Informational presentations (which we covered last month)
  • Instructor-led training (ILT, which usually occurs in classroom settings)
  • Self-paced eLearning (also known as Web-based training, or WBT)
  • Blended learning (which combines two or more training approaches)

Today, we’ll focus on the second type — instructor-led training (ILT) — and discuss what it is, how long it takes to develop, and what it costs.

You might ask, “How does ILT differ from informational presentations?” That’s a great question, since I developed this distinction based on my own experiences.

ILT tends to be relatively structured, with learning objectives, lessons, summaries, exercises, quizzes, and so forth. Similarly, many types of presentations serve to inform, instruct, and persuade as well, even if they don’t necessarily embody all of the same elements as ILT. Therefore, I find it useful to separate the two, although their differences seem rather nuanced at times and their costs are nearly identical.

For these reasons, I hope you enjoy today’s features, and please be sure to share your thoughts by leaving your comments on my Facebook page!

Here’s to your business prosperity,

Adele Sommers, Ph.D., business improvement specialist, author, educator, and award-winning instructional designer

P.S. If you missed any previous issue, please visit the newsletter archive!

Special Message

Let’s Review a Few Live Training Basics...

What is instructor-led training (ILT)? This type of training has many variations, such as classroom-based instruction, just-in-time team facilitation, and various types of coaching. ILT can take place in front of a live, in-person audience or in an online meeting platform, like Zoom. Watch the short video below to learn more about ILT…

Video player - "What is instructor-led training (ILT)?"We’re all very familiar with typical classroom environments in which people can see and interact with each other during a class session.

But when ILT occurs online via a Web seminar (webinar) platform, the attendees might participate synchronously (all at the same time), or asynchronously, where they watch a video recording of  the event afterward.

Did you know that these online, “virtual classrooms” also provide ways in which participants can engage directly and indirectly with each other? For example, the platforms are often equipped with polls, public and private chat capabilities, virtual “hand-raising” features, drawing tools, and other communication aids. That makes online classrooms nearly as functional in many respects as traditional ones, but often at a fraction of the cost of co-locating geographically diverse learners in one physical space.

Read on for even more ILT insights...

Feature Article

What Are the Goals and Costs of
Designing Instructor-Led Training?

by Adele Sommers

Instructor-led training includes traditional classroom methods and collaborative team learning

Instructor-led training (ILT) has evolved tremendously from the days in which we all trudged dutifully to physical classrooms and enjoyed lecture-dominated (and oftentimes snooze-worthy) learning experiences!

While that might still be the case in many settings, training design has gradually been shifting over the decades to reflect the latest research-based methods that effectively model how people learn best.

While these newer methods have not yet been universally adopted, they represent a trend arising from a realization that training is an expensive, highly ephemeral experience with a rapid “forgetting curve.” Unless we use mnemonic aids and have a good deal of well-spaced review and practice, no sooner does the information go in one ear than it goes out the other — in just a matter of weeks, days, or hours!

That’s why regardless of the training venue (in a classroom or online), successful
ILT needs a carefully structured design process involving planning, scheduling, and healthy budgeting. Through this combination, we can devise a mix of lesson plans, presentation visuals, workbooks, and job aids that are capable of producing ideal learning and business results — assuming that practice and follow-up also occur.

So, what are the common types of ILT, and are there particularly effective ways of deploying them? This article offers a glimpse into a few variations, as well as how long it takes and how much it costs, on average, to produce a so-so, typical, or highly memorable instructional module.

What Are Some Good Examples of ILT?

While many variations of ILT exist, three approaches we often see are:

A. Traditional classroom-style training
B. Collaborative team learning, and
C. Blended learning solutions involving ILT

Three types of ILT: Traditional classroom training, collaborative team learning, and blended learning

Let’s explore each of these three types, next…

A. Traditional Classroom Training

In this delivery mode, a live instructor typically presents the core subject matter, which often consists of terms and definitions, concepts, principles, procedures, and processes. (Note that the corollary to this model is Web seminar-based delivery, to which many of the same basic principles apply.)

Must traditional training consist of dry and boring lectures? Thankfully, the answer, regardless of the ILT delivery mode, is no! Instructors can use many best practices for boosting participation, such as engaging learners in back-and-forth questioning, brainstorming, team exercises and contests, simulations, games, and other types of challenges.

Two of the many best practices that work well in an instructor-led setting involve the techniques below, which we’ll cover next:

  • Realistic scenarios
  • Actual work samples

1. Challenging learners with realistic scenarios

Are you working with training situations that are highly condition-oriented, where people need to solve complex problems and make judgments on the fly?

If so, scenario-based learning (SBL), also called “problem-based learning” or “case-based learning,” is an excellent approach. Using this technique, participants solve carefully constructed, authentic job tasks or problems. While doing so, they learn the associated concepts, procedures, and analytical techniques that experts use. (This article by instructional-design expert Dr. Ruth Clark explains more.)

Instructor at white board writing "Problems and Opportunities"For learners who already have some relevant job experience, SBL typically works best for teaching non-routine job tasks that entail weighing trade- offs and making complicated choices.

Scenarios challenge learners to make decisions in ambiguous situations that require fine judgment calls, trouble-shooting, or situational analysis.

Do scenarios work in a classroom? The answer is yes! You can prepare a case study or role-playing activity that requires tough decisions or pits teams of learners against one another for a spirited problem-solving competition!

2. Designing lessons around actual work samples

Are you working with training situations that entail completing project tasks or improving skills?

Learner reviewing work assignmentFor example, let’s say your training pertains to a subject such as how to supervise new employees, write effective project plans, prepare compelling proposals, or design eye-catching graphics.

In these cases, you can design realistic, directly applicable learning experiences such as these:

  • When teaching supervisory skills, incorporate “what-if” scenarios based on actual company policies. If no policies exist in a given arena, challenge teams of learners to draft them.
  • When working with specific skills that involve outputs such as plans, proposals, or graphics, for example, incorporate “before-and-after-makeover” exercises that revolve around the actual work samples for which learners will be held accountable in their jobs.

Note that if you don’t include real work samples, the participants may perceive your approach as too abstract — regardless of how stellar your training style is — since it may not relate closely enough to what they actually need to do on the job.

B. Collaborative Team Learning

In this approach, a facilitator focuses more specifically on coaching a work group or team to walk through and master the just-in-time, hands-on skills that the team members will need to accomplish their mission. Examples include:

  • Using structured brainstorming techniques to identify the underlying causes of a difficult problem
  • Applying analysis and problem-solving methods to assess a current challenge and develop creative solutions
  • Following a systematic procedure to map and redesign outdated processes

Facilitator conducting a brainstorming sessionThese activities typically take place in organizational settings where facilitators have undergone specialized training in continuous-improvement methods. The preparation process generally involves activity planning; handout design; and developing visual aids, such as presentation slides, tools, templates, and charts.

C. Blended Learning

Instructor-led training is often a key component of blended learning, which is:

  • A model that combines different media, methods, and modes, where the resulting instruction might need to occur in a classroom as well as online
  • A way to combine synchronous and asynchronous activities, such as by alternating in-person events with self-paced activities
  • An opportunity to mix classroom training, Web seminars, eLearning, informal learning, hands-on labs, coaching, mobile delivery, and more, into a unique “recipe” — no two blended-learning recipes are alike!

Note that we will be covering blended learning in much more detail in the final part of this series. The cost structure for blended learning also differs from pure ILT.

How Long Does ILT Take to Create?

In 2010, the Chapman Alliance published a comprehensive research study* on how long it takes to design and develop one hour of finished presentation-based training, from the simplest type (in the low-range category) to the most complex (in the high-range category).

Chapman Alliance research on training development time & cost (used with permission) (Click the image to enlarge)

These time and cost averages pertain primarily to instruction that involves lesson planning, a slide deck, and handouts and/or workbooks. The study breaks down the time and cost into three main categories — 1) low-range, no-frills; 2) typical; and 3) high-range, truly exceptional instruction. So, what are the development times and costs for ILT?

Low-range (average):

This level consists mainly of simple content, usually rapidly developed, possibly repurposed from existing source material, and with minimal print-based support materials. It requires an average of 22 hours to produce a one-hour session (or about $3,036, based on the average, per-hour cost of a “typical” production).

Typical (average):

This level represents the norm for corporate informational presentations that involve a slide presentation, handouts, and a structured narrative or lesson plan. The slide deck may be relatively traditional, with mostly bullet points and some graphics. It requires an average of 43 hours (or about $5,934) to produce a one-hour session.

High-range (average):

This level often entails complex subject matter, highly customized slide design, and additional time spent on developing support materials. These tend to be the most memorable, attention-getting, and actionable presentations. Since the design is uniquely compelling and of very high quality, these presentations stand apart from the run-of-the-mill, bullet-point-heavy slide displays. This level requires about 82 hours to produce a one-hour session (or about $11,316, based on the average, per-hour cost of a “typical” production).

*Data source:

Chapman, B. (2010). How Long Does It Take to Create Learning? [Research Study]. Published by Chapman Alliance LLC, available from chapmanalliance.com. Image was used and adapted with permission. The data contained in this research was collected from 249 organizations, representing 3,947 learning development professionals, who have created classroom-based and eLearning content that has been consumed by 19,875,946 learners.

In conclusion, well-designed instructor-led training actively engages participants and increases their ability to retain and apply new information, whether it occurs in a classroom, Web seminar format, or blended modality. Using best practices to design the most effective instruction possible — and combining it with plentiful follow-up practice and support — increases the likelihood of a strong return on investment for a training model that otherwise would tend to produce expensive, short-lived results.

For additional ideas, you might want to refer back to:

Stay tuned for the next segment, which will explore self-paced eLearning!

Copyright 2023 Adele Sommers

The Author Recommends

What Should Presenters Know about People?

100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know about People by Susan WeinschenkCurious about the science behind designing and delivering powerful and persuasive presentations? This book, 100 Things Every Presenter Needs to Know About People, by Susan Weinschenk, Ph.D., explains what you need to know about how people think, listen, learn, make decisions, and more, so that you can create more engaging presentations.

Its 100 tips appear in informative sections such as:

  • How People Think and Learn
  • How to Grab and Hold People’s Attention
  • How to Motivate People to Take Action
  • How People React to the Environment
  • How People Listen and See
  • How People React to You

Regardless of your current skill level, and whether you’re a beginner or polished presenter, this book will guide you to improve your delivery, stance, eye contact, voice, materials, media, message, and call to action!

About the Author

"Straight Talk" Special Report
"Straight Talk" Workbook

Adele Sommers, Ph.D. is the author of “Straight Talk on Boosting Business Performance” — an award-winning Special Report and Workbook program.

If you liked today’s issue, you’ll love this down-to-earth overview of how 12 potent business-boosting strategies can reenergize the morale and productivity of your enterprise, tame unruly projects, and attract loyal, satisfied customers. It’s accompanied by a step-by-step workbook designed to help you easily create your own success action plan. Browse the table of contents and reader reviews on the description page.

Adele also offers no-cost articles and resources to help small businesses and large organizations accelerate productivity and increase profitability. Learn more at LearnShareProsper.com.

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