Should Instructor-led Training Become a Thing of the Past?

This past weekend, I attended an instructor-led fruit tree grafting course. My husband and I have planted hundreds of trees in the past, all of which we have purchased. Grafting our own trees would allow us to continue to plant trees while reducing costs and insuring quality.

As I sat in the class, handling a small pocket knife in one hand and a skinny twig in the other, with all the dexterity of a newborn baby, I found a new appreciation for instructor-led training.

Prior to attending the class, I thought I had “done my research”. I read about grafting trees. I watched some YouTube videos. You know, the typical research. Now I sat watching two instructors with more than a couple thousand grafted trees under their belts.  With the greatest of ease, they swiped pocket knives through twigs, making perfect bias cuts. I and a room of about another twenty eager learners were now tasked with completing the same action. Guess what? We couldn’t do it. Not at first, anyway.


The two instructors proceeded to go to each table to provide a better close up and to reiterate what had so obviously been shown. To make the bias cut, the knife is held still and the twig is moved across the knife.

I was struck by this. A group of more than twenty adults got the same thing wrong over and over again. Even the last table of students, which by that time had heard the instructors several times, required personal attention, and that was just the beginning. There was a wealth of knowledge transferred through impromptu questions and answers, from the viability of planting trees in the presences of established walnut trees to what happens if the grafted tree is planted with the graft inserted into the soil. These were questions I did not ask but I certainly benefit from the answers.

During the four hour ride home, I thought of the frustration I might have faced on my own and of the continue importance of instructor-led training.