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Self-Paced versus Instructor-led training

October 27, 2020

In the wide world of online training, it is important to distinguish between the two key categories in which online training falls.

Online Self-paced training (or eLearning) is where the user can control the duration and extent of learning taken on in a session.

Instructor-led training (ILT) is the process of learning through interaction between trainer and students. This process can be undertaken in a classroom or remotely through a video conferencing tool like Zoom or Microsoft Teams.

Self-paced training has many advantages from a business perspective including lower overheads and a super scalable business model. Education technology companies continue to pour resources into improving the effectiveness of this method. The low-cost entry points enhance the appeal.


Why does self-paced training fail to deliver?

Self-paced training programs serve information to the learner through methods like videos, recorded webinars and online demonstrations which are then followed by quizzes and knowledge checkpoints. These online “click and follow” platforms deliver information in a one-directional flow. The learner may memorise for a time, even passing through quiz checkpoints. However, in these cases, the information is not learned in a memorable way or in a way that better guarantees that the learner will translate the knowledge to a work setting. Low motivation and distraction mean that self-paced learning content, often isn't completed and in many cases, isn't even started despite the employer paying.


Why Instructor-led training is superior?

It has been our experience that learners prefer and thrive more in an instructor-led environment. This format allows learners to acquire knowledge more memorably through engagement with the instructor and other participants. It allows the trainer to respond to questions and take the discussion and learning to areas that learners have an interest in. It allows students to learn through hands-on doing and to make mistakes in a low-pressure environment. Learners can navigate those typical learning humps with the assistance of a real informed person. Knowledge is built collectively and thus in a more memorable way that better guarantees the learning outcomes for the learning sponsor.

While there is undoubted growth in self-paced learning, its effectiveness is often brought into question. In a corporate training environment, learners are often time-poor, highly distracted and in some cases unmotivated. This is driving more organistions to return to quality instructor-led training, for the higher engagement and learning outcomes that are guaranteed for their staff.

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Course was comprehensive and the resources shared are great - will definitely be referring to these over the future. The course was well paced for the day, and well structured. While I understand the difficulties of tailoring training session to specific industries (ie. health analysis), I think students would benefit more with exercises that are of relevant context. The DAX expressions learnt today are great, but will likely have a lot of trouble applying it at my workplace. -Power BI DAX Brisbane
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I thoroughly enjoyed this course - Magda explained everything very concisely and was able to draw on personal experience / examples to help us understand certain scenarios. Magda always made sure the whole class were OK with where we were up to before she would continue and didn't make anyone feel silly for asking questions - would definitely recommend this course (and Magda!) -Excel Advanced Parramatta
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Was very informative and useful instructor was very friendly nice and informative assisted when you need help and made it easy to understand -Excel Advanced Parramatta
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Michael was really helpful and concise and made sure we understood everything before going onto the next topic. -Project Beginner Sydney
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Probably should have chosen to go to an intermediate class. -Project Beginner Sydney
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Good course and presenter, easy to follow remotely. Well paced and timed. a couple of exercises needed Dax Studio - if I had known this I could have requested IT load it for me - although potentially I missed this as I had to switch to remote after I had registered. -Power BI DAX Remote Online
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Excellent examples of the Power BI course, will definitely be able to use these in the dashboards at work. -Power BI DAX Perth
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trainer is extremely attentive to student's questions and feedback, and strive to answer fully. trainer is humorous, creating a relaxing atmosphere to learn loads of information packed in a day. -Power BI DAX Perth
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Being custom arranged for what is used in this workplace was a large benefit and Steven use the Nexacu examples but made sure he referred to how it related to QR examples. -Excel Customised Brisbane
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Course was use full. Step by step analysis of formulas and executing them was very much usefull. -Excel Customised Brisbane
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Well constructed 1 day course. I felt it was at a good pace, worth while in certain items and excellent presentation. Steven did not go too far without ensuring everyone was up to date! Time to get some practice! -Excel Customised Brisbane
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