Digital advancement has dynamically changed how people and businesses learn, connect and grow. A few short years ago working remotely seemed out of reach in many industries, but it is a reality today. A study by PGI reveals that 79% of the global workforce works from home and this has challenged L&D teams to find training methodology that works for the modern worker. Increasingly, companies are integrating virtual training into their learning and development strategy to meet the needs of this more remote and virtual workforce, yet there are still some misconceptions regarding the effectiveness of training and learning in a virtual setting. This blog examines the top 7 myths associated with virtual training and the truth behind them.
Virtual training is live, coach-led interactive training run on a platform such as Microsoft Teams or Webex. This is a distinctly different proposition to that of e-learning or webinar approaches. Effectively it is taking all of the activity and approaches delivered in a physical classroom and transferring them to an online situation.
Global Digital 2019 revealsthat more than 1 million new users join the Internet daily. Facebook, LinkedIn, Whatsapp, Instagram are all indicators of how well connected we are online. Virtual training embraces the benefits of online connectivity and the move to digital. Today’s workforce is more tech-savvy and more tech-comfortable. Learners today thrive in an online social environment and can be called “social learners.” Incorporating Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) meets the needs of these pro-digital learners and fosters greater engagement, retention, and connection. Skilfully designed VILT sessions can increase engagement, interactivity, and foster a sense of community between all the participants. Furthermore, VILT promotes inclusivity as it allows people from across the globe to collaborate and learn together.
Traditionally it has been easy to connect effective learning with being in a physical classroom, where the trainer and learners are face to face (f2f). VILT replicates f2f approaches through the use of webcams, chat, breakout rooms and more besides. It also presents the ability for participants to break into smaller groups to solve problems and learn, while the trainer can join each mini-discussion just as in a physical environment.
In the moment coaching is a crucial factor that can contribute to a higher level of knowledge transfer. VILT workshops enable the trainer to view the training content and easily follow the learners reactions through the use of video, thus allowing them to coach and interact.
VILT delivers training through 1-3 hours long bite-sized sessions; these concise and focused workshops compliment modern learners who often prefer compact sessions rather than a day-long workshop (with travel). The combination of integrated breakout sessions and simulations, coupled with the use of emoticons and highlighters elevate the communication flow and learning transfer as participants are encouraged to apply, share and practice new tools easily.
Myth 3: Virtual Training is Second Best To F2F
According to a study by Gartner,an increasing number of organisations are embracing remote work options because it increases employee retention by 10%. Virtual training resonates with today’s digital and virtual workforce, and L&D teams are understanding this shift. Using VILT enables organisations to meet training requirements in this new world. Additional benefits may also be gained such as reducing training costs associated with booking travel for participants, securing a conference room and printing course material. VILT can also feed into a company’s green initiative. It’s time to be at the forefront of the digital age by making virtual training the norm in your workplace. Myth 4: Technology Isn't Stable EnoughTechnical advances have significantly improved the scope and stability of virtual training platforms. Screen sharing, simulations and breakout ability are just some of the new features being available within virtual training workshops. There are also multiple platforms to choose from. It is likely that your organisation already has a tech platform such as Skype for Business, GoToMeeting or WebEx required to run a VILT program. All you need to do is work with an experienced trainer to select the optimum platform for your context. These platforms are stable and easy to access making them a support to the success of your training rather than a hindrance. They just work well - period!
Myth 5: Distractions Limit Learning Online
Another myth associated with VILT is that it enables learners to be distracted by checking messaging, email etc. A skilled trainer makes VILT workshops interactive and pacy with learners involving themselves in the journey. Webinars allow for participants to log in, instantly put themselves on mute and then they are able to “check out.”
Training and upskilling a f2f trainer to lead a VILT session is essential so that they can deliver an exceptional, engaging, and informative session. Where workshops are engaging and relevant, time literally flies! When learners are invested, participating, and enjoying the process the potential for distraction is minimised.
Myth 6: Digital Learning Is A One-Way Download
Virtual training is often put into the same ‘bucket’ as e-learning and webinars. A poor experience with webinar/e-learning can cloud one’s perception of the virtual approach. Therefore, it is useful to be clear on what virtual training is and realise it’s full potential.
Well-designed VILT workshops bridge the gap between f2f training and webinar/e-learning. It combines the power of instructor-led training with the ease and convenience of being online and can significantly improve learning outcomes. In VILT workshops learners have the opportunity to not only interact with the trainer and each other but also access digital resources that enhance their learning experience.
VILT benefits today’s modern learners who crave mobility. Learners can join sessions from the comfort of their home where they are more relaxed and can easily dive into the learning process. As nice as a trip to a swanky hotel might be for a f2f training for some, many of today’s workforce appreciate the convenience of digital access and absence of travel. VILT covers both.
Myth 7: Dull, One-Way & A Bit Boring
Virtual workshops bring a pleasant surprise for many first-time participants because of the slick, interactive, practical and conversational nature. VILT, when planned and delivered skilfully, embodies the tagline, “learn while you are enjoying the process.” Each trainer brings their own personality and element of fun to the workshop, which ensures that no two sessions are ever quite the same. Virtual training sessions also cater to a modern learner’s desire to interact, share, challenge and be time focussed all in a ‘safe’ environment.
Final ThoughtsQuality virtual workshops successfully adapt f2f training methodology with the power of technology to meet the needs of today’s digitally savvy learners. Use VILT to deliver informative, engaging, and bite-sized learning that also has a high level of learning transfer. Modernise your organisation’s L&D strategy to reduce costs, differentiate yourself as an employer, and help retain top talent whilst reducing your carbon footprint.
Interested in learning more about how VILT can benefit your organisation?
We love designing and delivering interactive virtual training and we want to work with you to make your venture into the virtual world straight forward and enjoyable in a way that delivers the results you want to achieve.