When is Face-to-Face Instructor-Led Training the Best Option?

When is Face-to-Face Instructor Led Training the Best Option? | The Brooks Group

With the rise of technology in the workplace, some may wonder if classroom training will soon be replaced by digital alternatives. As it stands, face-to-face instructor-led training still remains the gold standard for developing employees and achieving lasting performance lift and training ROI.

There are circumstances that eLearning or virtual instructor-led training may be the most appropriate option, as well. In this post we’ll cover exactly what face-to-face instructor-led training is, and when it’s the best option.

What Is Face-to-Face Instructor-Led Training?

Face-to-face instructor-led training occurs in a physical classroom setting, with a facilitator or instructor presenting the training material to a group of learners. The format typically allows learners to interact with one another and the instructor (in real time).

This type of training is typically the best option for the following situations:

1. When your group of participants may be resistant to training

With any training initiative, it’s critical to communicate from the top down the importance of the program and expectations on participation.

Even with senior level support, training can be viewed by some participants as an inconvenience. This is especially true with employees whose income is based on commission, i.e. salespeople.

Salespeople can be the most resistant to the training experience because they see it as time away from selling. Face-to-face instructor-led training can combat this IF the training is led by an effective facilitator who can quickly gain the trust of participants and communicate early-on how the training will benefit them.

Sales professionals tend to be the type of people who are “hard wired” for human interaction. They respond best to training when they’re able to interact with their colleagues or peers.

Sales training participants will typically be more receptive to face-to-face instructor led training that has the following components:

  • A format that incorporates time for networking, and a place to share challenges and best practices
  • A structure that includes activities that involve getting up and moving around (not just sitting all day)
  • Some kind of reward component that increases engagement (This can be as simple as receiving points for answering questions correctly)

Make sure that the person training your sales team has the right characteristics to bring the program to life with activities, tools, and exercises to engage even the most resistant participants. They should be subject matter experts and highly skilled in holding the attention of a group of learners.

2. When the training material is complex and/or critical to daily processes

Some topics are well-suited for webinar or online module learning—compliance-based courses like sexual harassment or software courses like Office Suite and Adobe, for example.

Other topics will benefit from live interaction and hands-on training within a classroom where learners can discuss, collaborate, solve problems, and role-play.

Face-to-face instructor-led training is particularly beneficial when the material is new, complex, or critical to your organization’s daily processes and operations.

When the training will affect how your employees conduct business on a daily basis (a new sales process, for example), having an instructor on-hand to answer questions and demonstrate concepts can greatly enhance a trainee's learning experience and knowledge development.

3. When the content needs to be customized for your unique situation

Face-to-face instructor-led training can be customized in two key ways:

1. The training content can be tailored to include your industry terminology, relevant case studies, and specific challenges that your team is up against.

2. A skilled facilitator can adapt their communication approach to match the behavior and learning styles of your team. (This is significantly enhanced when the training incorporates assessments.)

Customization and a live setting are especially beneficial when interaction, team bonding, and nonverbal communication are vital to achieving learning objectives. When you want your training to truly reflect the day-to-day realities of your team members, having it delivered in a live classroom is simply the best option.

When is online learning a good fit?

Budget restraints or other limitations may make face-to-face instructor-led training inaccessible for you. There are instances when eLearning solutions are a good option. Here are a few:

  • Onboarding new hires and getting them up to speed with the rest of your team and the processes you follow
  • Training a large, geographically dispersed sales team
  • Offering a self-paced training option when taking team members out of the field for several days isn’t realistic  
  • As part of a blended learning approach


Face-to-face instructor-led training allows a hands-on and personal approach. It’s the most interactive form of training and can often be the most “sticky” because participants are engaging all of their senses as they learn new material and applications—making it easier to recall and apply once training is over.

If you’re looking to deliver training that has a lasting impact, face-to-face instructor-led training is the gold standard. But with all things, your unique situation will dictate which type of training is the most appropriate.

All forms of training can be viable, however there must be a component of coaching and reinforcement that follows in order for results to last.

The Brooks Group provides a range of training solutions that can be customized to meet the needs of your organization, and reinforced to solidify new skills and ROI.

Fill out the form below to speak with an industry expert and discover the best training solution for your team.




The Sales Training Buyer’s Interview Guide

The Sales Training Buyer’s Interview Guide

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Tony Smith

Tony Smith is the Director of Sales Strategy Consulting for the Sales Performance Research Center. Tony draws upon a diverse background of training, speaking, sales, and marketing to consult with organizational leaders and identify solutions to overcome the challenges holding them back from growth. 

Published on May 02, 2019

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