11 Surprising Benefits of Virtual Training

11 Surprising Benefits of Virtual Training

Virtual Training, aka VILT (Virtual Instructor-Led Training) is on the increase with 86% of organisations either already using VILT or planning to do so soon (according to The Association of Talent Development (ATD)’s 2017 'State of the Industry Report').

VILT replicates a face-to-face (F2F) classroom workshop in an online environment. VILT workshops when designed and delivered by skilled trainers can be as interactive and effective as well run F2F workshops.  What is virtual training (VILT)?  Click here to find out more.

If you are looking for convincers to zap any misconceptions of virtual training (VILT), then the following may be worth considering:

  1. Improving learning transfer
  2. Increasing time efficiency
  3. Making cost savings
  4. Matching a flexible workforce
  5. Enhancing wellbeing
  6. Encouraging digital
  7. Facilitating collaboration
  8. Enabling global reach & inclusivity
  9. Reducing Risk
  10. Limiting carbon usage
  11. Being recordable and reusable


1. Improving Learning Transfer

We propose that skillfully run VILT workshops can rival F2F training in learning transfer. Research in this area over the last few years has demonstrated that VILT can produce at least equal and often improved learning transfer to that of F2F. The explanation is found in the approach trainers take when we investigate VILT and F2F approaches.

VILT by its nature is bite-sized and normally runs for around 1-3 hours. This allows participants to process focused chunks of learning and apply specific actions and behaviour changes both during and following a workshop. This then gets layered up with VILT programmes as participants alternate between learning and application. 

Due to travel time and related costs much F2F training is delivered in day long workshops (or more). This can encourage trainers to overly ‘cram’ the event with multiple key points, models, processes etc. As a result too much content can be offered which may not then not fully absorbed and put to use by the participant. VILT really does provide a quality answer in how to create lasting learning transfer.

2. Increasing Time Efficiency

As VILT workshop participants join via their computer at either home or office, time efficiency is improved.

  • Zero travel time for learners and trainers.
  • Zero need for travel time outside of working hours.
  • Less time away from the desk or ‘day job’.
  • Participants can get back to work immediately after the workshop.
  • Learners can join a VILT workshop from home or office, whichever is more convenient.
  • No early morning departures or late-night returns for learners.
  • Zero need for learners to cross boards, need visas etc.

3. Making Cost Savings

For many organisations budgetary control has become a priority during this recent period of austerity. ATD’s 'Virtual Classrooms Now' whitepaper reported that 81% of organisations confirmed saving on travel costs as a reason to use VILT.

From our own research on a typical 1-day F2F workshop in the UK, Europe and the USA, we found surprisingly high costs were accrued for travel alone. You will see in our infographic that a one-day workshop in the UK, for 14 people incurred travel costs of more than £2300 ($3013, €2576.)

in addition to savings on travel, VILT delivery removes cost of training rooms, meals, refreshments, printed materials and so on. Using VILT as part of your training delivery approach can deliver a great deal more for your investment or just save you lots of your training budget.

4. Matching a Flexible Workforce

Last year, a report by Gallup showed that 43% of American employees had spent some time working remotely. Unsurprisingly this number is on the increase.

Organisations are now rapidly moving to enable and encourage colleagues to work remotely. This is in part, due to the quality and reliability of tech in this new digital age. VILT is a perfect this new flexible workforce as learners can participate from anywhere using the technology they already have.

So VILT encourages colleagues to learn ‘on the go’, at pace, fitting in with modern working practices and daily pressures. Having to stop work and travel great distances for training events just doesn’t match with today's digital world.

5. Wellbeing

Both wellbeing and work-life balance are high on the agenda for most organisations, with general agreement that looking after colleagues improves happiness, engagement and productivity.

As VILT workshops can be joined from either office or home, travel time is minimised, and hotel stays are eradicated. Colleagues can schedule bite-sized VILT workshops conveniently in to their diaries. Moving to VILT will help enhance both wellbeing and work life balance for those in your organisation.

6. Encouraging Digital

We should recognise the fact that much in our world is accessed online. An Ofcom report found that in the UK, people claim to spend an average of 24 hours each week online outside of work - double the amount of time spent in 2007.

Organisations are driving strategies which embrace being digital and traditional F2F training days in a hotel / conference centre just don’t align with this.

Could using VILT workshops help you to align with your organisation’s strategic intent?

The platform technology required to run VILT workshops is most likely in place and used by your organisation already such as Skype for Business, WebEx etc.  The digital world is here and those in L&D who want to stay apace or develop the future in learning, need to change, adapt, adopt and develop the way forward.

7. Facilitating Collaboration

We still hear to this day from some within L&D that training is best delivered “in a room – F2F”. In a world where we are all so well connected online, why would we not embrace the same for training? Many work teams today are based disparately and yet still work collaboratively and already use tech for their work and comms. If a team can work together virtually then they can learn together virtually and more regularly too.

VILT workshops can include all members of a team from those contributing part-time, to those sited remotely. When all of the team can learn together in a collaborative environment, then outcomes improve, and diversity is gained.

Can you help your teams to both work together and learn together?

8. Enabling Global Reach & Inclusivity

ATD’s “Virtual Classrooms Now” whitepaper reported that the No. 1 reason why organisations are using VILT is to reach a geographically dispersed workforce.

Using VILT, employees from different offices, cities, countries and even continents can now learn together. Consistency and scalability can be achieved reaching an entire workforce meaning L&D equal for all, regardless of colleague location.

In 2013 when Microsoft wanted to globally refocus managers on how to have more effective performance conversations, the choice was VILT. Therefore, wherever located, managers received consistent training with the opportunity to practice in real time, gaining insight from colleagues around the world.  The outcomes were positive and travel cost free with the training delivered at pace and globally.

Click here to view our fun 1 minute video of Jules the studio cat at The Virtual Training Team explain how she likes to learn with her remote colleagues!

9. Reducing Risk

In recent years many countries have experienced extreme weather events such as flooding, forest fires and ash clouds. Sadly, the last decade has also seen terrorist events on the rise. When these events occur, travel becomes more challenging and heightens employee risk. In such conditions many colleagues simply don’t want to travel – especially for work!

Using VILT workshops removes the need to travel for training which in turn reduces risk for colleagues’ work lives.

VILT workshops are immune to traffic jams, airport delays and rail strikes!

10. Limiting Carbon Usage

The IPCC recent shocking report on the impact of global warming shows that we need to more and sooner.  In the near future organisations will be challenged to reduce the carbon they use and report on how much carbon they are using. Many have stated that strategically they are looking to decrease their use of carbon, or indeed become carbon neutral, which will inevitably involve limiting usage such as business travel. More L&D events will need to be achieved online and soon.

L&D professionals should also take in to account the fact that many of us are making personal commitments to reduce our own usage of carbon.

With zero travel required for VILT workshops reducing carbon footprint is an easy win.

11. Being Recordable and Reusable

VILT workshops are run as live training events and yet can also be recorded so the content can be utilised in additional ways:

  • Recordings enable those unable to join the live session to experience what they missed.
  • Content can be edited into easily accessible short ‘nudges’ – useful in preparation of real events post the VILT workshop.

If you want to access more resource on getting started with Virtual Training (VILT) then click here, or download our eBook below.



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