Delivery Formats

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Delivery Formats

Delivery Formats

There are a number of different common formats for instruction.

Instructor-Led Training (ILT)

Instructor-led training, or ILT, is instruction via an instructor, or facilitator, to a learner or a group of learners. This learning usually happens in person, but more and more, participants take courses virtually, via teleconferencing tools such as WebEx and Skype.

For example, a company may provide ILT to employees on how to use a new software program. The employees would be in a classroom-like environment, being presented the learning by a facilitator.

Advantages of ILT include:

  • Ability of learners to ask questions.
  • Facilitator can provide real-time demonstrations.
  • Learners can participate in group activities with others, enhancing their learning experience.

Disadvantages of ILT include:

  • Scheduling can be difficult.
  • If the learning is to be delivered in person, travel costs may become a factor for an organization.
  • Learners are restricted in terms of when they can take the learning.

Self-Paced Learning

Self-paced learning usually consists of online courseware sometimes including video tutorials that learners access by themselves at their own pace. Learning happens via computer.

Advantages of self-paced learning include:

  • Learners can take instruction at their own pace and when it is most convenient.
  • This type of training may provide cost savings to an organization, since they do not have to pay for travel costs for an instructor.
  • Learning can happen anywhere and at any time.

Disadvantages of self-paced learning include:

  • Some self-paced learning does not include the ability of learners to ask questions.
  • Learners may "tune out" more than in a class with an instructor.
  • Requires computer equipment and that all users have a certain level of technical knowledge.

Virtual Classroom Learning

Virtual classroom learning is ILT that takes place via computer, in what is known as a "virtual classroom." Students are able to interact with instructors and other students via web chats and even with voice in certain situations, via a phone or computer (with Voice over IP).

Virtual classroom training can take place over the course of a few hours, a day, or many days. It requires students and the instructor to have web-conferencing software, such as WebEx or GoToMeeting.

Advantages of virtual classroom learning include:

  • Training usually can happen at the convenience of the learner.
  • Even though it is not face-to-face learning, users can still participate and interact with the instructor and other students.

Disadvantages of virtual classroom learning include:

  • If the online classrooms become large, students and instructors may have difficulty interacting with each other.
  • Computer access and a certain level of technical skill are required.
  • A lack of face-to-face interaction unless video conferencing software such as Skype is used. Students may not have this software.

Blended Learning

Blended learning combines instructor-led training and online training. Face-to-face, instructor training is combined with computer

Advantages of blended learning include:

  • Combination of face-to-face interaction with some self-paced can make learning more interesting to students.
  • Ability to ask questions of the instructor or other learners.

Disadvantages of blended learning include:

  • Classroom management can become an issue for instructors, due to the multiple modalities.
  • Instructor preparation for class is often more involved and time consuming.


Webinars can be either live or recorded online events where participants usually participate via web-conferencing software and sometimes a phone connection. Training is delivered to large numbers of people, sometimes in the thousands.

Some training organizations use webinars to allow participants to hear from experts. Often a chat feature is enabled, allowing participants to submit questions and comments.

Advantages of webinars include:

  • A large number of students can participate in learning.
  • Students can be located anywhere geographically.

Disadvantages of webinars include:

  • Technology issues sometimes arise, especially if the webinars have a large number of participants.
  • They are somewhat impersonal and often have a lecture-type feel.

The following table, based on Cindy Huggett's book Virtual Classroom, illustrates the differences in the formats.