Connecting virtually, whether that’s friends, family or work life has been growing in popularity in recent years. But no-one could have predicted just how meaningful virtual interactions have become to us since the COVID-19 outbreak.
The pandemic has forced many of us to adapt the way we live and how we will change going forwards – virtual communications are going to play a significant part in all of our lives.
The ease with which we have adapted to virtual interactions came as a surprise to many. Many businesses have gone beyond what they might have expected to be possible. Working from home, virtual learning and virtual training, which I am going to talking about today, have all been adopted with an efficiency that no-one could have predicted.
But what does this mean in terms of developing your team? How much of a part will virtual training play in our working lives? What are the benefits, and how can you use it to upskill your workforce?
Let’s delve a little deeper.
The Rise Of Virtual Training
Even before COVID-19, there was an uptake in online learning, but the pandemic supercharged the need for these virtual training solutions.
Online and virtual training is one of the outcomes of the coronavirus outbreak that has been so successful that many leaders and employees are keen to continue using this type of learning, even as things return to ‘normal’.
Classroom-style learning is being replaced in favour of digital training because it fits more closely with the way people work today. Individuals are looking for adaptable, effective methods which focus on continuous learning over time.
So What Are the Benefits of Virtual Training?
With social distancing measures set to be in place for the foreseeable future, businesses are looking for ways to upskill their workforce in an increasingly challenging environment.
It’s almost as if virtual training was designed for times like these. Not that anyone could have predicted that virtual training was going to play such a huge part in 2020!
Let’s take a look at some of the benefits of virtual training.
In-person training dictates that everyone learns at the same pace when, in reality, this is not the case. Everyone learns at different speeds – and for this reason, the flexibility of virtual training is a significant benefit. When even live, instructor–led training is recorded and delivered in modules, employees can undertake training at the times of day it suits them, take a break whenever they want and replay parts to understand better. Some people can sit for hours at a time and still be soaking up information; others need a more stop-start pattern – virtual training can provide for all learning styles.
As home spaces turned into workspaces recently, the issue of work-life balance has been raised, as people figure out how to juggle being on and off duty in a world of fluid working. The convenience with which online training can be carried out is a huge bonus for getting teams together. The issue of travel is eradicated – leaders and attendees of in-person training had to travel, sometimes long distances, to be present for sessions. It goes without saying that with virtual training, you simply log on wherever you are. This makes virtual training highly cost-effective, as you save on travel, room hire and other associated costs of in-person training.
With virtual training, you can test and track employee learning with tests at the end of modules. Of course, not all leaders will include quizzes or exercises at the end of programmes, but these can be an extra dimension which is proven to help individuals learn better. In traditional training settings, employees might not call upon their training for days or even weeks, by which time much of their learning has dissipated.
In terms of calling upon new knowledge, virtual training allows individuals to retain their new skills at a higher level. Short, interactive modules which virtual learning allows for is known as ‘microlearning’ and helps learners by breaking up the information and making it more manageable and memorable.
We have covered the topics of the benefits of short-burst learning and training strategies for knowledge retention in our leadership masterclass recordings, which you can watch here.
As you can see, virtual training has many benefits! Which is no doubt why it has become so popular with organisations.
Next, let’s take a look at why now has emerged as the perfect time to invest in virtual training for your team.
Upskilling For the Future
Training and developing your workforce for success is not a new concept, although the number of organisations who get it right is much lower than you might think.
A growth mindset is a basic human need. This Harvard Business Review article states “At the most fundamental level, we are a neotenic species, born with an instinct to learn throughout our lives. So it makes sense that at work, we are constantly looking for ways to do things better”.
Training in organisations usually follows the same structure with a workforce being trained en-mass in an area which does not always apply to each individual, in a way that doesn’t benefit everyone.
Much of this traditional in-person training is either irrelevant or poorly executed. We know this by the documented research around low training success and knowledge retention rates; much of the training that is delivered does not connect with the employee in a way that sticks and makes a difference.
As the dust settles and we find a ‘new normal’ in a post-COVID world, there will be challenges for all businesses.
Economists are predicting a recession – the size and impact of which is yet unclear. Some businesses will make it through the recession; others will not. What is clear is that the organisations who invest in development to upskill their workforce are the ones who will fare better.
Now more than ever is it essential that you upskill your employees. During lockdown and on furlough, there has been an increase in individuals taking it upon themselves to undergo training and learning. This is representative of a wider feeling among employees that if the future looks uncertain, the best way to protect yourself is to upskill.
How to Begin Implementing Virtual Learning
The working world after lockdown is set to look very different from what we are used to experiencing.
Are all of your employees returning to work, or will some continue to work from home? Do you have employees who will remain on furlough until the current government scheme ends in October?
Whatever your workforce now looks like, you can begin to implement virtual learning today. Furloughed employees are allowed to complete training too, so this is the perfect time to consider online development programmes.
At Excel Communications, we specialise in virtual learning programmes on a range of topics including leadership, management and commercial training, as well as personal impact and wellbeing courses.
Virtual training is going to be a part of workplaces as we adapt to a life post-COVID-19. Now is the time to invest in the future of your business.
About Excel Communications
LEARN, GROW, SUCCEED
Excel Communications is a learning and development consultancy based near London in the UK. For more than 30 years, we have been collaborating with clients across the globe.
Partnering with Excel empowers you to evolve your people and business, by fuelling a love for learning.
We work with you to create unforgettable, customised learning experiences to achieve your vision of success and growth, with tangible results.
We have a team of expert trainers delivering programmes across five continents in multiple languages. Call us now on +44 (0) 1628 488 854.
If you would like to watch our leadership masterclass recordings, you can access the latest complimentary guide here.