ILT Pros and Cons
For those willing to absorb the costs involved in attending an instructor-led class, there are some significant benefits that can accrue to such an encounternamely:
- A carefully designed learning environment and experience: Well-structured classes and labs, classroom hours, and well-equipped facilities create a quality learning environment. This really works best when students participate energetically in such classes.
- Insulation from the everyday, workaday world: A well-run learning center creates a haven from the usual press of everyday life and work. Students must turn off their cell-phones, tune out of e-mail, IM, and chat, and pay attention to a carefully-crafted learning experience. By taking control over the student’s entire surroundings and environment, ILT enables learning that self-study and online training simply can’t deliver, because they don’t remove the distractions that so often prevent successful study and learning.
- The instructor edge: Nothing beats a good instructor delivering material that’s near and dear to his or her heart. Students not only benefit from direct, face-to-face access; they also benefit from the instructor’s professional experience, technical knowledge and skill, and ability to recast and reinterpret material to best match a student’s background and abilities.
- Hands-on experience: A good class will always insist that students practice what they learn, and put concepts, skills, and knowledge to work in situations and scenarios that are real enough to provide tangible benefits and knowledge transfer when they return to the workplace. This is a great boon to certification preparation, where analytical and problem-solving skills are so often central to the material and subject matter being taught (and tested).
- Teaching to the exam, as well as to the workplace: Good instructors will point out what’s needed for the exam, and make sure students are ready to pass that exam. But they will also point out what’s really important in the workplace, and make sure students are ready to implement what they’ve learned when they return to work, certification notwithstanding.
The cons of ILT mostly have to do with the consequences of dropping everything and going to class somewhere else for a few days to a few weeks: higher costs, travel and lodging, opportunity cost for the employer, personal inconvenience of leaving home, work, and family, and so forth. But for those willing to absorb the costs and deal with the situation, the improved likelihood of earning a certification (some training vendors advertise 90% or better success rates for their students) makes it all worthwhile.