What Does Virtual Training Mean? Evaluating Characteristics and Benefits
What is virtual training?
Simply put, virtual training is a learning experience that is accessed using computers and the internet. Training occurs the same as it would in a co-located environment, only the coach and learners are physically separated from each other.
Given the rise in virtual working due to the global pandemic, we have seen more and more companies transition to a virtual training environment. While there are some who hope that classroom training may yet make a return, it is unlikely to be soon and unlikely to look the same way it did before.
Taking your training virtual is the perfect way to move forward in these uncertain times. Not only is it more affordable, flexible and directly applicable to a diverse workforce, when done properly, virtual training has been proven to be more effective than traditional co-located classroom training.
Virtual training – basic characteristics and benefits
- It is remotely accessible for all and can be offered worldwide. With some careful planning, most time zones can be catered for
- There is much more capacity for individualization; training delivery can be organised to different levels, competence, needs and even different learning styles
- It’s a safe and secure learning environment
- There is greater flexibility offered in terms of time, location and learner pace
- It’s effective! Cost-effective, time-effective, scalable and creates effective learning transfer!
So that’s the short overview of what makes virtual training beneficial to you; but what about some tangible virtual training benefits to taking whole training programs and processes and moving them online?
Well, here’s 3.
Traditional classroom training saw participants travelling from all over to a central venue in order to partake in the training course. When whole teams were travelling for this training, it would mean massive amounts of coordination and planning to ensure a smooth experience.
Virtual training can be accessed from anywhere where there is internet. This eliminates the need to coordinate time and travel for multiple participants at once, thus driving down cost, time and resources needed to ensure the same smooth experience.
Many virtual training programs spread their learning material over a longer period. The lack of travel and preparation time results in an increased allowance of regularity that can be brought to the workshops. This creates a more effective learning environment because it allows more time to digest the information between workshops, thus enhancing learning transfer.
Virtual training usually consists of small increments of learning, with a mixture of breakout group discussion and collaboration to whole room participation, usually lasting from 1-3 hours in length.
This means overall that the training is less disruptive to the employees’ workday than it’s traditional day or half day classroom counterpart. Since virtual training can be conducted in small, asynchronous workshops, it can be used to more easily fit around busy working schedules, usually only requiring an hour or two at a time over a series of weeks.
This flexibility and fluidity allows for consistency in your training approach, which leads to higher attendance and greater learning transfer.
Given the global situation we find ourselves in, the number of remote workers has rocketed in recent months. The idea of travelling into a central office to work has become something of a distant memory, with the vast majority of us simply logging into our systems from home.
Virtual training needs no central office to be effective. It allows anyone with access to a laptop or computer and a stable internet connection to participate in training.
There has never been a more inclusive, accessible way to provide training in an organisation! Wherever your employees are based; remote, homeworker, hot-desking office attendee, nomad worker, virtual training offers them all the equal opportunity to attend virtual workshops and learn new skills.
Often, we find this leads to a much more diverse virtual classroom. Since this training is available to all, it allows for participants who may have struggled to attend a traditional co-located workshop to participate in live, interactive collaboration and discussion with other colleagues. This creates rich, varied conversation which invariably is hugely effective, creating insight and deeper understanding of key issues.
As highlighted above, virtual training usually is easily integrated into the working day and does not require any travel. This means that participants can apply the skills learned during a virtual workshop immediately into their working environment.
Virtual programs are often delivered through multiple bite-sized workshops which allows participants to practise a concise number of the tools and techniques as they progress. This compares favourably to a one day classroom event where trainers can try to cram as much learning in, often causing overload and therefore diminished learning transfer.
This way of learning improves retention and provides an on-the-job application that enhances outcomes for learners.
Virtual training has a great deal to offer you as a business. From helping to make your budget go further to enabling improved learning transfer for your participants, the benefits and ongoing opportunities are massive.
If you would like to discuss how best to get started developing a virtual training program and implementing it into your business, please get in contact with us today. We would love to help get you started.