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Develop instructor-led training (ILT)

“What is ILT?”

“How should learning designers prepare their clients for ILT?”

“What assets are commonly developed for ILT?”

“What best practices should learning designers follow when developing ILT?”

“What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing ILT?”

“How can designers gather client feedback for ILT materials?”


A tried and true method for delivering training that most people are familiar with is instructor-led training (ILT). ILT enables trainers to create engaging learning experiences for a synchronous, in-person audience. Learning designers must have a thorough understanding of how to develop high-quality ILT based on learner needs. The goal of this lesson is to provide an overview of key concepts and best practices for developing ILT.


Through this lesson, you should be able to develop a simple instructor-led training course.




What is ILT?


Instructor-led training, or ILT, is a traditional form of training where an instructor or facilitator conducts a training session in a classroom or a virtual classroom setting. ILT is typically delivered in person, but it can also be conducted online through video conferencing platforms.


During an ILT session, the instructor leads the training by presenting information, facilitating discussions, and conducting activities and exercises. Participants can interact with the instructor and with each other, ask questions, and receive feedback in real-time. The goal of ILT is to provide learners with a structured and engaging learning experience that supports their knowledge and skill development.


ILT is commonly used in corporate training, academic education, and vocational training programs. It is often used for topics that require hands-on practice, role-playing, or group collaboration. However, with the rise of technology and e-learning, ILT has become less popular in some sectors, with many organizations opting for blended or fully online learning solutions.


ILT and virtual instructor-led training (vILT) both involve an instructor or facilitator leading a training session. However, the main difference is that ILT is conducted in person, while VILT is conducted online through a virtual classroom platform.


How should learning designers prepare their clients for ILT development?


Learning designers play a critical role in designing and developing effective ILT programs for their clients. To prepare their clients for ILT development, learning designers should follow these steps:

  1. Set expectations for each task in the project plan: Take time to review the project plan with stakeholders and subject matter experts, not only to confirm deadlines and milestones but to also set expectations for each task along the way. Take a look at this sample ILT project plan and consider what stakeholders (who may not be familiar with learning design and development) may wish to know about each step.

  2. Prepare templates for deliverables: Learning designers should create templates for the deliverables, such as lesson plans, handouts, and assessment materials. The templates should be designed to reflect the client's branding and style guidelines.

  3. Gather and write content: The learning designer should work with subject matter experts (SMEs) to gather and write content for the ILT program. The content should be organized and structured according to the learning objectives and the delivery format.

  4. Develop instructional materials: Based on the gathered and written content, the learning designer should develop instructional materials such as slide decks, participant workbooks, and facilitator guides. These materials should be designed to engage learners and help them achieve the learning objectives.

  5. Facilitate client review cycles: The learning designer should facilitate client review cycles to ensure that the instructional materials are accurate, relevant, and meet the client's expectations. This involves presenting drafts of the materials to the client, collecting feedback, and incorporating the feedback into the materials. The review cycles can be alpha, beta, or gold, depending on the stage of the development process.

  6. Decide on a feedback format: The learning designer and client should decide on a feedback format that works best for both parties. This could include review meetings, track changes and comments in the document, and/or change logs that capture all feedback and revisions made.


By following these steps, learning designers can collaborate effectively with their clients to create high-quality and engaging instructor-led training programs.


What assets are commonly developed for ILT?


As a learning designer, it is necessary to be familiar with the assets that are commonly developed for ILT. These assets include the following:


What best practices should learning designers follow when developing ILT?


ILT is most effective when it is tailored to the needs of the learners. When developing ILT, learning designers should follow a set of best practices geared towards enhancing the learning experience.


View the infographic below, which illustrates some best practices that learning designers can follow when developing ILT.



What common mistakes should learning designers avoid when developing ILT?


ILT poses unique challenges to learning designers. From overlooking your audience to info dumping, there are many potential pitfalls that may impact the training.


View the carousel below to learn about common mistakes to avoid when developing ILT.


ILT practice project: Active listening


For this practice project, you will develop instructional materials to support a 1-hour ILT course about active listening. Please complete the following:

  1. Review the completed detailed design to become familiar with the learning audience, objectives, and course structure.

  2. Make a copy of the following Google doc and slide templates: facilitator guide, learner handout, slide deck. (Tip: After opening each link, select "Make a copy." You now have your own copy of the document to work from.)

  3. Start populating the content in the templates. Start by adding titles and headings to the templates (reference the detailed design for titles and sequencing). Then, use ChatGPT or a similar generative AI tool to generate a first draft of content and instruction for each section of your materials, and copy/paste it into the templates.

For instance, to generate content for the lesson entitled “Intro to Active Listening,” you’d go to ChatGPT and enter the following prompt:


“Act like an instructional designer. Write content for this 15-minute lesson about understanding active listening. The audience includes customer service representatives. A. Definition and key components of active listening B. Importance of non-verbal cues in active listening C. Essential verbal responses to demonstrate active listening D. Examples and illustrations of active listening in different contexts”


Summary and next steps

Savvy learning designers can begin preparing their clients for ILT developing by communicating clear timelines, deliverables, and client feedback mechanisms. When developing ILT, learning designers must create specific assets such as participant workbooks and facilitator guides. Best practices for developing ILT include knowing your audience, setting expectations, incorporating storytelling and engagement techniques, and using Gagne's nine events to sequence content. To avoid common mistakes, learning designers must keep the audience in mind, steer clear of info-dumping, ensure effective facilitation, prioritize engagement, and create visually pleasing and interactive content. By following these guidelines, learning designers can create high quality ILT that successfully meets the needs of learners.


Now that you are familiar with developing ILT, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Develop series: Develop virtual instructor-led training (vILT).

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