Perhaps recently you might have found yourself wondering; what is a virtual training program? Are they worth considering as an ongoing training approach for your organization?
The phrase ‘virtual training’ is being talked about a lot more lately and for good reason, given recent global events, but is there clarity on what the phrase actually means.
Well, in this blog, we will break down virtual training into its key components and help you to find out if it is a route worth considering for your business.
What is it? Let’s define virtual training
Virtual training, or VILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) takes the fundamentals of face-to-face, co-located classroom training and replicates the experience online, in real time.
Put simply, virtual training is using live, interactive online workshops to provide training to your employees or participants using a virtual platform.
Employing training this virtual way mitigates the need for any travel or large financial expense while still delivering the required learning transfer in a fun, engaging way for all learners, regardless of their location.
With the constant improvement of virtual training tech platforms and the improved ease of use, companies are enabled to run more virtual training workshops than ever before. It allows employees to learn and interact together with colleagues from different locations or countries across the globe.
Learners can still practice, debate, share ideas and work on their soft skills; everything that can be achieved in a traditional classroom workshop, but instead, live and online.
The results and experience are just as good and often better than in-person traditional 1 day sessions, and most importantly, virtual workshops foster inclusivity as they cater for all colleagues no matter what their location.
What are the pros of virtual training?
So, like everything there are pros and cons to virtual training, though we have found that many of them boil down to the experience had by the participants and skill of the virtual trainer. But let’s take a closer look at some of them.
One of the common misconceptions about virtual training is that it won’t be engaging enough, and that people will be able to slip away and spend their time checking their emails or browsing on Facebook. With a skilled virtual trainer, this simply doesn’t happen. There are plenty of ways in which they can hold learner attention and keep them focused on the task at hand.
Virtual training provides a significant flexibility to participants, allowing them to fit the required, essential training sessions into their schedule minimising productivity loss as there is no travel or overnight stays. It provides greater work-life balance control and, particularly when managing large numbers, allows learners to choose training slots that work best for them. This flexibility also drives a higher attendance rate and engagement, contrary to popular belief.
The convenience of virtual training derives from the ability to do it anywhere subject to a stable internet connection. It also offers employees the ability to schedule training frequently, without causing major disruptions to their regular working schedules or productivity. With virtual training, there is no need for trips out of the office, or whole days of work lost to long commutes to a central venue. Simply, participants log on at the time of their training, and log off once they are finished, going straight back to their regular work.
When we consider the expense the physical, tradition classroom training carries; with the additional cost of hotels, venues, subsistence, transport and so on, it is no wonder that virtual training can be much more cost effective. By switching your training to a virtual alternative, you will be surprised to see how much further your training budget will stretch, with those additional expenditures removed.
Diversity and Inclusion
Ensuring that everyone has equal opportunity for training and personal development in a business has previously been difficult, especially if you have remote or home workers. With virtual training, this is no longer a concern. In fact, 87% of organizations are now using it to reach their geographically dispersed workforce.
Hosting your training session virtually means that anyone, in any location of the business can attend. With careful planning, you can even cater across time zones. Removing the need to travel to a central hub, or head office, for training means that now, your organization can equally provide learning to all its employees.
What is a typical virtual training session?
Okay, so what does a typical virtual training session look like? Well, some of it comes down to the individual virtual trainer who is running your session, but for us, here at VTT, it looks like this.
When the participants arrive, they are met by their coach, who has their camera on and is smiley and enthusiastic to meet them. They get to know one another while they wait for the other participants to arrive. During this time, the coach will encourage some interaction and discussion with the participants, whilst also helping them set up their virtual classroom to optimum effect.
Once this is done and everyone is set up, the session can begin.
Throughout, the coach will ensure everyone is engaged and has equal opportunity to speak and interact with both themselves and the other participants. Contingent on the length of the session, there might be a short break in the middle too.
The coach will make use of the chosen platform’s features and tools, such as chat, annotations, pointers and stamps to measure engagement and foster some genuine interactivity from the group, so they really feel connected to the subject at hand.
The time flies and soon the end of the session is approaching. The coach will provide resources, a playbook and a link to give feedback on the session that they have just experienced.
After answering any last-minute questions or concerns that participants may have, the coach waves a cheery goodbye and looks forward to seeing the participants again in their next virtual workshop.
In conclusion, a virtual training program is an instructor-led, virtual training experience that encapsulates the good bits from traditional classroom training and builds on this. It has a host of benefits such as inclusivity, lower costs, convenience, reduced impact on productivity and provides flexibility to your employees.
Make training enjoyable, interactive, accessible, and cost-effective by making the switch to virtual training today.
Want some help on how to get started? Contact us and we would be more than happy to assist you.