Successfully Converting Instructor-Led Training to eLearning

Shauna Carson

Instructor-led training, or ILT, is how many people picture learning. From your days in the classroom, to the employer-mandated programs you complete as part of your job, most people think of knowledge transfer as a straightforward lecture. But, despite its pervasiveness, is this traditional training method really best, or is there a way to improve face-to-face training? Consider eLearning, which has already made a huge impact on corporate training.

This article will explore the benefits of eLearning, as well as some common some important steps to follow to successfully make the leap when converting instructor-led training to eLearning.

What is Instructor-Led Training?

Instructor-led training refers to face-to-face training that takes place between an instructor, or facilitator, and a learner or learners.

With ILT, training may be delivered as a traditional lecture, an on-the-job skill transfer, or even through videoconferencing. eLearning differs from instructor-led training in that it is primarily self-paced; blended learning combines elements of both these delivery methods.

A recent State of the Industry Report from ADT found that instructor-led live face-to-face classroom was the delivery mechanism for 49 percent of learning hours available in 2015", but this number has been on a steady decline, down almost 15% from a similar study done in 2008, as eLearning becomes more popular in the fields of training and development.

Why Switch to eLearning?

The popularity of eLearning is rapidly expanding, with global expenditures expected to be in excess of $50 billion in 2017. There are many reasons why you may choose to convert your workshop or paper-based training to an online course. eLearning is:

  • Cost-effective: Once developed, an eLearning program has minimal delivery costs -- eLearning reduces course development and removes facilitation costs, as well as travel and accommodation and venue expenses. In addition, eLearning reduces the time employees spend in training. Some estimate that eLearning could be as much as 50% less expensive than traditional training. LMSs, the platforms used to help deliver your eLearning program, were found to have the greatest impact on the overall cost of training.
  • Learner-focused: There are so many ways an eLearning program can be personalized to a specific learner's needs, from individualized learning paths to personalized learning environment, content and even interaction. In addition, with eLearning, learners can move through the program at their own pace, and are able to repeat any sections they may have difficulty with.
  • Flexible: eLearning is unbound by the constraints of time and place" and allows learners to access a training program 24/7, meaning learning can happen when and where your learners find it most convenient and effective, whether on a mobile device, on a laptop at 2am, or in a hotel room during a business trip. Also, with eLearning, you can quickly complete your corporate training, as all employees can be training at the same time.
  • Higher retention rates: According to a recent study conducted by the Research Institute of America, e-Learning boosts retention rates by 25-60% compared to 8-10% for face-to-face training.

Ensuring a Successful Conversion Process

Creating eLearning is a process. An easy way to  ensure the effective conversion of instructor-led training to eLearning is the ADDIE model process. It stands for:

  • Analyze
  • Design
  • Develop
  • Implement
  • Evaluate

Here are some important steps that you should follow to make an easy transition from ITL to e-Learning.

1. Perform a training needs analysis.

A training needs analysis will help you identify where knowledge or skills need improvement and, in the case of an eLearning program, help you see the benefits of moving to e-Learning compared to ILT.

To perform an effective needs analysis you should ask yourself:

  • Who is your audience?
  • What do you want them to learn?
  • How do they learn most effectively?
  • What can you do to augment the learning process?

With all the features and flexibility eLearning has to offer, why would you settle for anything less than a perfectly tailored experience. A needs analysis can get you there.

2. Curate learning content

The next step to convert ILT to e-Learning is content curation. You cannot simply take an existing PowerPoint slide deck and make it available online.

Before even starting the conversion process to move from an ILT delivery to online training, you need to identify where information should be added or removed from your existing courses.

There are different methods of eLearning content curation. The method you choose depends on your learners training needs. Christopher Pappas identifies 4 methods for eLearning content curation:

  • Aggregation
  • Distillation
  • Elevation
  • Merging
  • Chronological

3. Use eLearning features to create an interactive training program.

To create an interactive, and therefore more effective, eLearning program, take advantage of the various features available to you:

Remember, your aim is not to merely transfer your learning content, but transform it.

A good way to ensure you achieve this is to create a storyboard that outlines what the eventual training program will look like. A storyboard is a text and graphic representation of what your eLearning course will look like, and it is a key component of the development process. A good storyboard will help you make the eLearning design process more efficient and help to deliver engaging and visually rich learning experiences to learners.

4. Consider implementing blended learning.

Traditional learning can typically be converted into three types of delivery for eLearning:

  1. Synchronous: real-time learning (web-conferencing, virtual classrooms, etc.)
  2. Asynchronous: self-paced, time-independent learning (discussion forums, email, etc.)
  3. Blended learning: a mix of the best parts of the first two delivery modes.

A recent survey conducted by the US Department of Education showed that traditional and online training are in fact more effective if combined.

Blended learning can be an effective way to bring the best of both worlds to your training program.

It strikes a balance between online learning and face-to-face interaction, and allows you to ensure your learners are engaged in a personalized learning experience that is catered to their specific needs.

Create an effective eLearning environment by choosing a learning platform (or learning management system), that will allow you to deliver and manage many different types of learning such as:

  • Downloadable documents or manuals
  • eLearning courses
  • Videos and webinars

5. Use reporting and analytics tools to keep improving the program.

Completing a needs analysis, using the features and functionality of eLearning to create your training program and considering the type of learning you wish to implement will all help you create a valuable eLearning experience.

However, it is also important to remember that no program is perfect, and it is your reporting tools that will let you know not only if the training program has met its goals, but if there are any areas for improvement.

To effectively use the reporting tools at your disposal, ensure you:

  • Measure download statistics
  • Review online assessment data
  • Track the number of log-ins
  • Track online training certification completions
  • Track progress and completion rates

Think of your eLearning program as an exercise in continuous improvement. Successfully converting instructor-led training to eLearning doesn't end when the conversion is made.


This article has discussed why you may want to investigate converting some or all of your instructor-led training to eLearning. There are definite benefits to this, but, to ensure this process goes smoothly, there is a certain process that you should follow. Keeping these tips in mind will help you create a training program that best meets the needs not only of your learners, but of your organization as well.

Are you ready to make the leap and start converting instructor-led training to eLearning? Create your learning portal today at no cost.

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Shauna Carson

Shauna graduated from the University of Toronto in 2002 with a Master of Arts in English before moving home to Calgary to work in the fast-paced, detail-oriented oil and gas industry. Now certified as a technical writer, Shauna is comfortable writing in a variety of styles, and for a variety of audiences.