Online classes and courses have been rising in both popularity and capability over recent history–the rise of virtual training if you will. And due to various states of lockdown as well as widening options for remote and hybrid work ever since 2020, we’re also accelerating toward widespread virtual training more quickly than planned. If you’re unfamiliar conceptually, would like to know more, or are exploring whether virtual training is a good fit for your business or organization, we’re here to lay out a full guide and walk you through the major points.
- What is Virtual Training?
- Why is Virtual Training Important Nowadays?
- Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Training in Learning & Development
- A Quick Guide to Adopting Virtual Training in Your Company
- Discover Kaltura’s Virtual Training Solution
- The Future of Virtual Training
What is Virtual Training?
The short answer is that virtual training courses are classes that trainees or students participate in from their home or office rather than a traditional classroom or other designated training environment. A virtual environment is instead used by a trainer or coach to show, explain, and teach skills.
Generally speaking, virtual training (sometimes referred to as virtual instructor-led training, or VILT) takes the fundamentals of an in-person training experience and uses a virtual platform to replicate the experience as effectively as possible.
Trainers and learners all log into the chosen platform from independent locations and take part in a workshop or class that takes place on live video in real-time. A true virtual workshop is highly interactive, not just a presentation, and participants are encouraged to engage in all manner of ways, ranging from sharing during discussions, starting conversations, practicing skills, and asking questions.
As far as requirements and duration, virtual training can be as short as a single-serving 60-minute workshop or an ongoing series of lectures and workshops leading to a single goal, competency, or certification. Other online, and even in-person, training could supplement the virtual sessions to create what’s referred to as a blended learning program.
So take note that a quality virtual training solution that will meet your specific needs will be a key factor–we’ll address that in more detail down below.
Why is Virtual Training Important Nowadays?
There is an obvious advantage of virtual training in that it doesn’t require physical presence at your class or session, therefore overcoming geographical obstacles. Whether there are limitations due to individual physical challenges or the location of the training in the real world, nothing (or at least far less!) is impossible. Additionally, it eliminates the need for (and expenses of) travel time away from work or home; remote workers can be included rather than miss in-office sessions, all learners can avoid interruptions in work or home life and conveniently access training.
So the virtual environment opens up access to training for more diverse options and participants. Obviously, in the recent pandemic environment, it is also the safest option, and numerous classes, workshops, and other public events have rushed to virtual formats since 2020. With a virtual training environment, all productivity doesn’t have to grind to a complete halt. Following this disruption, opportunities have flocked to online spaces. There are now worldwide shifts in business and education towards remote work and remote learning, and smart management will want to get in front of these trends.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Virtual Training in Learning & Development
In company learning and development (or “L&D”) the goal is to provide employees with skills and knowledge they need to take on and grow in their roles as well as grow the company whenever possible. Virtual training can be a great option for onboarding, upskilling and reskilling, and even leadership and management training.
Advantages of a virtual training implementation can include:
The main advantage of virtual training is flexibility—it can be designed and scheduled to best fit learners’ needs and reduce or eliminate impact to work and other areas of life. Obviously, virtual training has the edge in any situation (like a lockdown) where it is physically impossible to gather.
Virtual training can also be set up as asynchronous, or at least to have recorded, on-demand videos supporting live-streamed sessions to either catch up on missed classes or for review.
Virtual training is usually an excellent way to cut costs for everyone involved, from the learners and trainers to the company setting up the sessions. The main budget item is the initial cost of a scalable platform, however other external expenses (travel, venue, accommodations, etc.) are off the table.
Disadvantages may include:
- Challenges due to scheduling
OK, participants can now join your virtual training from anywhere in the world, great! What if part of your team is on-site in New York, part in London, part in Hanoi? It’s important to note that with learners in different time zones, scheduling sessions or providing on-demand options for catch-up will be particularly important.
- Challenges to dedicated learning environments
For various reasons, some people can struggle with creating a suitable remote-learning environment where they can focus–particularly when working at home with many distractions near! Other learners may just prefer the classroom environment to being required to be more self-directed. There can be concerns over having the proper equipment (i.e., “Can I install this virtual platform software on my tablet?”). None of this is usually insurmountable, but always worth considering.
- Interpersonal interaction and morale
While some people learn well independently, others can find it more challenging to excel in training without class colleagues as an additional resource. Also in a virtual training environment, the in-person interaction and communication contexts are (obviously) not present. It’s important to offer the best possible interaction and collaboration features to your virtual learners!
Virtual training is a tremendous benefit in many situations, however, always be sure to examine both sides of the coin!
A Quick Guide to Adopting Virtual Training in Your Company
If virtual training has you intrigued, there are a few criteria that should solidify the decision.
Areas to consider:
- Has your organization made a budgetary commitment to “do more with less”, or committing to build inclusivity, improve employee wellbeing and/or work-life balance, or make more use of digital technology?
- Is your workforce geographically separated, becoming more flexible and remote (either through preference or by necessity), digitally focused, or wanting to become more digitally focused?
- Do you require consistency and/or scaling where employees in different locations have access to the same opportunities; for programs that can be scaled quickly with minimal use of resources; and/or for providing consistent training, content, and messages that need to be delivered to everyone, everywhere?
If you’re hitting any or all of these markers, then you should walk through the steps below and start thinking seriously about acquiring a virtual training platform.
Of particular note: What to do when you need executive sign-off before you can put virtual training resources in place? Well, we’re here to help.
- Align virtual training recommendations to your organization’s needs and strategy
- Be confident that virtual training is the right fit for your company
- Create a balanced plan for implementing virtual training capabilities (Including first and foremost, researching promising virtual training solutions)
- Be prepared for upfront investment in a virtual training platform, which will produce long term gain
- Get your leadership on board
How to Present the Virtual Training Solution and its Benefits to Your Leadership
Seeing is really believing. If you are convinced that virtual training is going to be a net benefit, but you still need leadership to sign off, one of the best ways to make a credible recommendation is by demonstrating a live virtual workshop. If that’s caught your interest, check out the section below!
Discover Kaltura’s Virtual Training Solution
On that subject, Kaltura would like to introduce our virtual training platform, Kaltura Virtual Classroom. But don’t let the word “classroom” box you in–our virtual training solutions are versatile enough to be both a best-in-class platform for schools and universities, as well as an optimal virtual training format (especially at enterprise level) for businesses and organizations.
Our virtual training solution can offer you all the tools for effective learning in one place, in a portable format you can take anywhere and use anytime to teach anyone. No downloads or installations are required. Kaltura Virtual Classroom is an easily branded continuous learning space that’s easy for your learners to reach in a click.
Within the virtual training environment, we enable a digital whiteboard, breakout rooms, and moderated Q&A options to keep students focused, active, and interacting. A continuous classroom space means that you can set up branding, playlists, quizzes, and whiteboard activities once, leave and come back, and pick right up where things left off. Meanwhile, learners have access not only to live-streamed instruction but to “out-of-class” activities, reviewing, and catch-up. Live classes can also be recorded for everyone’s convenience, including automatic transcriptions. Course material will be as accessible as possible, and learners can review it on demand. Built-in pro editing tools also give you the option to reuse and repurpose your content.
Additionally, there is moderation control, to ensure your training group is eminently easy to manage. Also, Kaltura loves data. Advanced analytics will show you how engaged your class was, when, and where during the training session–then you can figure out what works best and adjust your lessons to be more effective going forward.
Best of all, it’s browser-based (and includes a dial-in option) so it requires no special gear, software, or technical skills to get up and running. If you’d like to judge for yourself if Kaltura Virtual Classroom is an ideal virtual training solution for you, we also make it easy to take a free trial.
The Future of Virtual Training
As a final thought, virtual training seems poised only to become more popular in the foreseeable future. And while we like to stay optimistic, social distancing rules may be sticking around for a while as well, keeping virtual solutions to any in-person activity valid. So, it’s advisable to get with the program earlier rather than later. Future-proof your organization, and your own skills with virtual platforms, so neither one acquires a disadvantage. Additionally, whichever virtual training solution you opt to go with, it’s a solid suggestion to look for a future-proof platform as well. Do your best to choose a solution that’s able to scale and will be well-supported to grow and upgrade in the coming years. We hope this post has given you an adequate grasp of the basics and watch our blog for further deep dives into virtual training topics!
Ready to test-drive the best virtual training solution? Check out Kaltura Virtual Classroom