Virtual Training: Debunking 5 Myths and Misunderstandings

Virtual Training: Debunking 5 Myths and Misunderstandings

After the last few months of global lockdown and with the world coming to terms with quickly going almost entirely virtual, you would hope that most would now have an understanding of what Virtual Instructor-Led Training (or VILT) is and be clear on what it can deliver.

Debunking 5 myths and misunderstanding about Virtual Training

However, there may still be some misconceptions of what VILT actually is and does. The most common ones we come across are

  • You have to be in the same room with people, actually together, in order to connect properly.
  •  Our employees don’t enjoy learning in the ‘Virtual Classroom’.
  • The technology will just get in the way of learning.
  • Participants won’t engage; they will zone out and be working through their emails.
  • It’s just not as effective as in-person, classroom training.

Well, I hate to break it to you; but these are all nonsense. Let’s go through each one and I will explain why.

If you’d like to experience this blog as a video instead, you can check it out here. Warning, there’s lots of different hats involved.

5 common misconceptions about virtual training

“You have to be in the same room with people, actually together, in order to connect properly.”

If there is one concept that has been completely blown out of the water by lockdown, it is the idea that we must be in the same space with people in order to connect meaningfully.

Zoom, Facebook, Skype and WhatsApp swelled rapidly in popularity as people looked for alternatives to physically being with their friends and family. Likewise, workplaces switched to remote offices; facilitating their employees connecting via video meetings and text chat. And it all worked great!

There were very few things that couldn’t be accomplished by switching to a virtual alternative to varying degrees of success.

So why would training be any different?

With a skilled facilitator, true connections are easily created during a workshop, between both themselves and participants and the participants with each other.

“Our employees don’t enjoy learning in the ‘virtual classroom’.”

People can quite easily confuse the term ‘Virtual Training’ with e-learning or webinars. Though these are three distinctly different ways of learning, they are often collectively bound together under the ‘Virtual Training’ banner.

So, because of this, if employees have had one negative experience, such as attending a poorly run webinar or ‘suffering’ through uninteresting e-learning modules, it can sour their whole opinion of Virtual Training.

When joining a skillfully run, professionally designed and prepared VILT workshop, the outcomes improve dramatically. Feedback from first time joiners to our sessions are usually overwhelmingly positive;-

“That was much better than I was expecting.”

“What a cool way to learn.”

“I am looking forward to my next session.”

And as ‘nice’ as the day trip out to a nearby hotel or conference centre might have been for those co-located workshops, most VILT participants really appreciate the absence of travel, and the convenience of being able to go online in order to achieve their required learning.

“The technology will just get in the way of learning.”

We get it; technology can be iffy at times. Sometimes, participants are skeptical of VILT because of using the technology. Perhaps previously, they might have had a negative experience with the virtual platforms or audio conferencing which has coloured their view.

As VTT has delivered VILT workshops for over 10 years, we have seen tech programmes improve substantially in both spec and stability in that time. Today, modern workforces are more in tune than ever with tech and virtual environments and though, granted, the tech won’t always run perfectly, yet 99% of the time, it will work fine.

If you ensure you are using skilled and confident VILT trainers, then your Virtual Workshops will run smoothly, even if tech issues do occur. With the right measures in place, even a power cut can be dealt with easily.

And, it really helps to choose the right platform for your business in which to hold your VILT workshops. Explore them all and have some test runs; it can make all the difference in the learning experience.

“Participants won’t engage; they will zone out and be working through their emails.”

This most common misconception is manifested when a Virtual Workshop is facilitated by a trainer who is not skilled at navigating and interacting with the virtual environment. Designing and delivering VILT requires additional skills to those of the traditional in-person workshop.

If you take your in-person training powerpoint slide deck and place it online in front of a virtual audience, then yes, they will delight in that extra hour’s catch up on emails or Facebook.

However, if you get it right, and your facilitator is skilled in the ways of creating engagement and interaction in the virtual setting, you will find all your participants are involved and absorbed in every moment. This way there is no time for their minds, or fingers, to wander elsewhere.

If you want some more guidance on this topic, check out our other blog on how to keep learners engaged in a virtual session.

“It’s just not as effective as in-person, classroom training.”

Especially in today’s times, many organisations use VILT as a key approach to their learning delivery. The benefits to this are numerous, so much so, that if you want to read them all, you will have to check out our other blog for them.

Some Surprising Benefits of Virtual Training.

Many in-person workshops were typically a day long and so this tempted designers and facilitators to overload (stuff) them with information; models, case studies, stories and so on to make the ‘most’ of the time in the room.

With VILT, it doesn’t need to be like this. Modern thinking regarding learning errs towards a much more concise, focused session, often referred to as ‘bite-sized’ learning. This is usually 1-3 hour workshops, facilitating a bitesize approach and encouraging learners to try out ideas, implement actions and embed their learning between workshops. This then allows participants to learn and apply, regularly.

So, there you have it. 5 misconceptions about Virtual Training and why they simply aren’t true. Are you embracing the virtual way in your L&D department as well as the new ways of working?

If you need a little help to get started, check out our eBook on “Getting started with Virtual Training” here.

Or, keep scrolling down for our contact form. We’d love to help you address any other concerns you might have about moving your training to a virtual platform too.

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