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Learning Trends

What is Virtual Instructor-Led Training?

Virtual training empowers organizations to create a flexible, effective learning environment to upskill and reskill employees. And this learning trend is on the rise. According to recent reports, 80 percent of training in 2020 was delivered partly or entirely online across industries. When done correctly, virtual training provides many benefits for users and organizations and can help you create a learning culture and empower your employees for continued success.

What is Virtual Instructor-Led Training?

Virtual instructor-led training (VILT) occurs in a virtual or simulated environment or when the instructor and learner are in different places. These virtual learning environments simulate the traditional classroom, and users can access them anytime. 

There are three types of virtual courses:

  • Asynchronous: These do not take place in real-time. Courses are self-directed, meaning students can complete work and assignments within a certain time frame. Students and instructors interact through discussion boards, email, or messaging apps.
  • Synchronous: The instructor and learner interact online at the same time. In a virtual classroom, students receive instruction from teachers in real time and interact with instructors and classmates through text, audio chat, or video chats. 
  • Hybrid learning or blended learning: Encourages both in-person and online training solutions. Classes may take place in-person during a time frame and provide the option for remote communication in between sessions. 

Read more: Synchronous vs. Asynchronous Learning 

What is the difference between virtual instructor-led training and instructor-led training?

Instructor-led training (ILT) is the type of learning you’re most familiar with. ILT is formal and takes place in a classroom. 

Instructor-led training advantages:

  • Instructors can offer on-site or off-site in a classroom setting
  • Learners can meet each other and network, even pick up mentorship opportunities
  • Participants can apply skills directly to their work, which can help them retain information

Challenges:

  • Expensive and time-consuming to implement
  • Inconsistency between instructors’ teaching styles and messages
  • Takes time away from work
  • Interrupts employees’ daily tasks​​

Virtual instructor-led training (VILT), also called eLearning, takes place online, anywhere in the world, as long as learners are on any internet-connected device. 

Virtual instructor-led training advantages include:

  • Ideal for remote teams
  • Technology-forward teams that know how to use the software
  • Easily translate content into different languages to train an international group
  • Easy and cost-effective to implement VILT with a learning platform like WorkRamp
  • Saves travel time
  • Helps participants keep up with personalized learning plans
  • Gives learners extra time for self-study

Disadvantages:

  • Some team members may not have an appropriate learning environment
  • You’ll need someone to manage the logistics of an online program: such as sending links and passwords, distributing course material, and troubleshooting IT problems
  • Lack of time spent with peers

Benefits of virtual instructor-led training

VILT offers various benefits for trainers and learners. 

For trainers

Reach a larger audience

Virtual training helps companies extend their courses to learners who want to access them from a distance. Therefore, it helps the company reach a larger audience.

Increase capacity

Virtual learning also allows the company to offer instruction to more participants without the limitations of a classroom. It also connects people who may not have been able to connect before. 

Reduce costs

Virtual training lowers travel and lodging costs for instructors and students. While the instruction itself is not free, other costs are involved, like materials and development costs, which can lower the overall dollars spent. 

Save time

VITL is usually delivered in short sessions, which means less time away from the office and higher productivity. Employees staying at their desks to complete learning tasks will get more done than physically attending a class. 

Increase course profitability

By reducing the cost of staffing and travel budgets, while training more employees with applicable skills, you can see higher ROI for your L&D program.

For learners

Flexibility

Flexibility is a top benefit for learners. Some 81 percent of executives claim to be changing their workplace policies to offer greater flexibility to their workforce. 

With asynchronous courses, students can enjoy a flexible schedule that fits their time and location. In addition, they can search through available course materials and choose what they want to learn. 

Better knowledge retention

Learning models show that active learning, where students are engaged in the process and interact with the material, is more effective for retention. Online learning is interactive and fun. When students feel engaged with the lesson, it makes the material “sticky” and helps them retain more information. 

Inclusivity

An online learning environment is inclusive and equitable for all types of students. For example, course content is accessible for learners with physical impairments that can cause reading, seeing, or hearing challenges. It also allows people with learning differences to take extra time to process materials and take extra quiz time. 

Tips and best practices for effective virtual training

Create an engaging environment

Whether running a one-off workshop or building a customer education program, learning should be a fun, interactive experience. 

Here are some ways to turn static learning into engaging experiences: 

  1. Capture the learner’s attention right from the start of a lesson. Explain what learners will get from the module, set expectations, and highlight tangible outcomes.
  2. Provide content in various formats. Try delivering course material in different ways: case study exercises, call recordings and role-plays, group brainstorming, gamification, and group teach-backs. These formats encourage higher levels of thinking and keep learners focused. 
  3. Use knowledge checks to encourage retention. Go beyond the standard quiz. Create new opportunities for learners to apply knowledge, like through applied learning tactics, to ensure the material sticks. 
  4. Create peer-to-peer (P2P) learning networks. In a P2P learning network, employees present to each other. You could, for example, hold a monthly event where team members teach each other something they’re an expert in. Companies such as Google and YouTube have used this tactic to encourage teams to share knowledge and become curious about new topics. 

Learn more: More Doing, Less Telling: Creative Ways to Build Engagement in Training Workshops and Courses

Build short, incremental modules

Studies show that our typical attention span is between 10 and 15 seconds. Therefore, create modules that are easy to consume and stress-free to keep people engaged. You must format content to meet different learning styles to have a high completion rate and satisfaction score.

Kristi Thurston, Learning Solutions Manager at Kustomer, a customer service CRM, takes advantage of formatting to keep learners engaged. In the company’s L&D program, lessons are between 3 to 5 minutes long. If a lesson ran longer than 10 minutes, they’d break it into a new section. 

“Focus first on what the learning experience will be like, then fit the content into that.”

 

– Kristi Thurston, Learning Solutions Manager, Kustomer

Guidelines to follow when building your courses:

  • Lessons should be 3 to 5 minutes
  • Break up longer lessons (over 10 minutes) into sections
  • Limit courses to 20 minutes
  • Show videos instead of slides
  • Make learning content more engaging by adding interactive elements
  • Deliver lessons with a casual, high-energy voice and tone

Foster collaboration

About 91 percent of L&D pros feel that teams who learn new skills together are more successful. So create a dedicated channel in your company Slack account (or whatever communication tool you use) and encourage people to discuss courses. Participants can share knowledge and support each other when needed.

There is usually some type of chat built into most web meeting applications. Invite students to share their experiences, comment on the presentation, and brainstorm. You can incorporate this throughout your training or schedule a specific time. It’s relaxed and can make training more enjoyable.

Individuals who use social features watch up to 30x more learning content than those who don’t. 

Gather feedback

User feedback is critical to understanding the organizational impact of learning and the overall classroom experience. 

LinkedIn’s 2022 Learning Report found the two top measurement methods are:

  1. Qualitative feedback from employees using online courses
  2. Employee engagement survey scores

With online training software, you can easily gather feedback through built-in surveys and understand what parts of your program need improvement and which successfully achieve your goals. 

Tools for virtual instructor-led training

Technology makes life easier, even for digital learners. Effective learning technology can simplify training, save time, and guide learners toward their goals. In addition, the right technology will help you run classes seamlessly and easily.

 Let’s look at the tools you need to thrive.

Learning management system (LMS)

A learning platform helps deliver training virtually. It enables an organization to host, organize, and distribute materials to learners. A learning platform will help you create engaging blended learning classes, plus:

  • Make learning simple and reduce fatigue
  • Provide multi-session events
  • Support learning paths
  • Allow simple collaboration between learners
  • Offer advanced reporting options to show training ROI

“WorkRamp is easy to use and offers multiple use cases including employee L&D and customer enablement-with analytics and data to drive operational excellence. It has become the backbone of our enablement program and has helped support organization alignment and continuity.”

 

-Kristi Faltorusso, Chief Customer Officer, CustomerSuccess

Video conferencing tool

Face-to-face communication is essential, even when you can’t meet in person. It’s also necessary to train employees effectively when they work remotely. Look for a video conferencing tool that integrates with your learning platform.

For example, WorkRamp integrates with Zoom to support live training sessions. Learners can access the training within your system and log into Zoom to attend class. It also helps you track webinar registrations and attendance. 

Interactive whiteboard

An interactive whiteboard, aka a “smartboard,” is a display board that reacts to user input from a device. These interactive whiteboards replace traditional chalkboards and let instructors show images, presentations, and videos to an entire class simultaneously. You can use a free whiteboard like Jamboard by Google in your virtual classroom. 

Benefits of a learning management system for virtual instructor-led training

Recent trends show that learning platforms are growing in popularity, expecting to reach a $37.9 billion market by 2025. And for a good reason: A learning platform supports and improves virtual learning in many ways. 

With a learning platform, you can:

  1. Schedule and remind learners about VILT sessions
  2. Provide interactive activities to improve knowledge retention
  3. Monitor progress and learner performance 
  4. Offer post-training materials and resources
  5. Give learners easy access to experts

Overall, a learning platform helps you deliver training to employees, customers, partners, and students—in one place. It’s easy for instructors to use and centralize all training content into one platform so you can scale with confidence. 

“I’ve seen a lot of LMS software in my day, and WorkRamp is by far the best: easy-to-use, great product, fantastic team, and scales well for growing companies. Don’t overthink your LMS vendor selection process. Just do yourself a favor and implement WorkRamp.”

 

-John Ley, Senior Director, GTM Strategy & Operations, Brex

Why WorkRamp for virtual instructor-led training

A learning platform is critical to running virtual instructor-led training successfully. With WorkRamp, you can create robust training programs tailored to individual learner needs and customize and launch new training with just one click. 

With WorkRamp’s advanced reporting options, you can determine the revenue impact of your training investments and monitor employee performance. This way, you can create a growth engine for your organization that encourages learning and drives ROI in the long run. 

Want to learn more about how to use WorkRamp to create effective virtual instructor-led training? Contact us to schedule a free demo. 

Michael Keenan

Writer

Michael is a SaaS marketer living in Guadalajara, Mexico. Through storytelling and data-driven content, his focus is providing valuable insight and advice on issues that prospects and customers care most about. He’s inspired by learning people’s stories, climbing mountains, and traveling with his partner and Xoloitzcuintles.

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