If you are looking at digital learning and want to learn more about virtual classroom training, we’ve put together this short guide to help you.
Virtual classroom training aka Virtual Instructor-led training (VILT for short) has been available for a while. It’s only over the past few years that appetite for it has increased.
Both terms refer to training that is delivered in virtual or simulated environments, with trainers delivering training to participants in separate locations.
The benefits of such an approach are often highlighted as saving time and money on travel. However, this undersells the approach and delivery method. There are other benefits.
Pros of virtual classroom training
Consistency – Virtual classroom training helps provide consistency of training to a wider audience. Allowing dispersed office employees can get the same access to training as those in the head office.
Connects remote employees – for remote and geographically dispersed teams this can be a wonderful experience to spend time with colleagues.
Convenience – can access virtual classroom training in the most suitable environment – be at home, at the office or hiring a quiet space to learn.
Part of a blended approach – Virtual classroom training can be mixed with face to face classroom . For example, attending classroom training for the first part of the course before attending remotely for the rest of the time.
Time-efficient – reducing time spent travelling to training centres.
Quality – you have the same access to expert trainers, labs, breakout rooms that you’d have on a face to face course.
Easy to use – popular platforms such as WebEx, Zoom, Adobe Connect for virtual classroom make it easy for attendees to access
Repeatable – sessions can be recorded allowing you to access the content after the initial session.
Better environmentally – reduced travels means a lower carbon footprint.
Overcomes a lack of quality alternatives – if you are a major city or business hub then chances are there will be quality training providers close by.
I need amazing internet – yes you need to have good bandwidth and thankfully the majority of home wifi speeds are more than sufficient.
I’ll be staring at the screen all day – whilst virtual classroom training is delivered via screen you will have activities to do away from the screen, in small teams as well as regular breaks. Most office based employees spend all day starting at screens anyway.
It’s hard learning alone – trainers will invest more time in engaging with everyone, creating breakout sessions and ensuring all attendees are involved.
It will be complicated – virtual classroom systems have improved significantly in the past few years, simplifying the process of logging in and accessing relevant information.
Not every subject suits this approach – absolutely. For practical hands on training e.g. working at heights, operating machinery virtual classroom training isn’t relevant. However for topics like IT, MS Office, Project Management, Business Analysis and more virtual classroom training is an excellent option.
“I was a bit nervous about my first Virtual Classroom training course, however, I needn’t have worried. The trainer handled the class extremely well. I have enjoyed the course and taken a large amount of information from it” Andrew, Payment Services
Preparing for virtual classroom training
Will I need specialist equipment? The short answer is no; however, you will need Wi-Fi with good bandwidth, plus headphones and microphones. If you will be doing a lot of virtual classroom training, then we’d recommend investing in USB headphones.
How many screens will I need? It’s advisable (and in some courses, especially technical IT) to have an additional screen to allow you to do the remote labs, reference material open whilst you see the training on the main screen
Do I need IT permission? Maybe. Check the platform isn’t blocked by any firewalls as soon as possible – ideally once booked. You don’t want to find out 15 minutes before you start that IT doesn’t permit the platform.
Make sure you won’t be interrupted. Choose a suitable space, let your colleagues know and turn off all possible distractions.
So, what should I do?
We always recommend choosing the right learning method and approach to achieve development goals. This is rarely a single approach. Therefore, virtual classroom training should form part of your overall strategy.
Popular virtual classroom training topics have been more focused on IT subjects such as Amazon WebSphere (AWS), Azure, Cisco, Citrix, CompTIA, ITIL, Microsoft, Red Hat, VMware, MS Office and 365.
However, with his new normal we have seen more demand for virtual classroom subjects such as Time Management, Wellbeing, Working from home, Emotional Intelligence, Leading Virtual Teams, Resilience, Collaboration and Creative Thinking.