Comparing virtual training to E-learning and webinars

Isn’t virtual training just another name for webinar? No! Read on to learn the differences as we compare virtual training to other popular training methods.

There are a lot of misconceptions on what virtual training actually is. Here are some of the most common ones we have heard:

  • “Virtual training – isn’t that where you log in and learn by yourself?” — No!
  • “Virtual training – isn’t that another name for a webinar?” — No!

Comparing virtual training to other training methods

Virtual training, or VILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training), webinars and e-learning are all very different ways of learning. They all have advantages and disadvantages, what is important is that you choose the best approach to deliver your learning solutions. Let’s be clear on how they differ by considering:

  1. Virtual training vs E-learning
  2. Virtual training vs webinars

We’ll explore the difference between these 3 training methods below:

1. VILT vs E-Learning

E-learning is often described as the ‘Netflix of learning’. Content can be accessed 24/7 globally via a smartphone or laptop. Content is pre-loaded enabling learners to work through it alone and at their own pace. Therefore, e-learning has access flexibility and yet is fixed in content and process. There is often a test at the end to quantify knowledge transfer.

The 2 key differences between VILT and e-learning

1. How learners interact:
  • VILT involves groups of colleagues learning at the same time. It is interpersonal where participants take part in conversations sharing scenarios, situations, ideas and actions.
  • E-learning is a solitary experience. Learners may be able to compete against colleagues on progress and still it is learning that you do on your own.
  • Learners need to pass a test or quiz to be accredited or able to move to a next stage.
2. Timing and togetherness:
  • VILT is live. We prefer to call it VILLT: Virtual Instructor-Led LIVE Training. This is what some people miss – the fact that VILT is live, together and interactive.
  • Learners log in from different locations and participate in ‘real’ time by having conversations together.

Click here to view, and save our infographic which compares VILT, e-learning, webinars and F2F training.

2. VILT vs webinars

Webinars can deliver content to large, disparate groups of people. Using similar platforms to VILT, participants dial in at the same time. They are led by a presenter or panel with information imparted one way. Interaction occurs when participants ask questions via a chat function or the mics are opened at the end for questions. This way the content is downloaded from the presenter to the learner in a one-way flow.

Webinars work well for groups to experience consistent content concurrently e.g. training, message from the Exec, product launch, roll out.

They are recordable too – useful for briefings, information download, updates etc.

The key differences between VILT and webinars is the direction of communication. Webinars are mostly a one-way sharing of information, wereas VILT has the advantage of ongoing interactive communication between the virtual coach and the participants.

Final thoughts

When comparing virtual training to other training methods we can see the following differences:

  • E-learning can be accessed anytime and anywhere.  It is a standard non-flexible approach to learning with no F2F interactivity or coaching.
  • Webinars are for large groups. Recordable for later use, but they have limited interactive learning potential.

VILT allows groups to come together at the same time from across the globe. Led by a ‘live’ coach, interactivity is between the coach and the learners. Transfer of learning is maximized through the use of technology.

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