By: Karen Spencer, Area Vice President, OrasiLabs Product Manager

Virtual training on software applications was an excellent option to reduce training costs and hit a wide reach of learners even before the pandemic hit worldwide. Today, organizations are arguably training customers and technology users more than ever before through leveraging the benefits of virtual training. However, not every instance of virtual training is a fool-proof effort. One needs to be cognizant of many factors, including the human factor.

The human touch

In the 2021 L&D Trends Survey, covering 1,000 learning and development professionals, the significant training challenges that emerged included:

  • How to convert face-to-face training designs into digital or virtual formats?
  • How to engage learners without the presence of in-person training?

What’s worth noting is that many respondents felt a loss of connection in a virtual training format that led them to feel stressed and overwhelmed. Before COVID-19, classroom training with an instructor in the room stood at 63 percent, and virtual at 10 percent, of total training. But after COVID-19 hit, in-person instructor classroom training nosedived to nine percent, and virtual shot up to 53 percent. But even then, 40 percent of respondents noted experiencing challenges with digital training design, delivery, and technology.

What is causing this gap as people move forward to a digital world?

A recent Upwork’s survey finds it inaccurate to say that the move to remote work reduces ones’ level of socialization. It’s shown learners often prefer training on a virtual tool if its manageable and emphasizes engagement as well as collaboration.

Though, if virtual training cannot address these aspects, it will not deliver the enhanced outcomes that are expected of it. Ideally, it must take of issues such as:

  1. Virtual fatigue
  2. Absence of in-person communication
  3. Inadequate interest and excitement
  4. Gaps on attention span – levels and consistency

Fix the training chasm

The way to meet learners’ needs is first to acknowledge any gaps in the learning process. Trainers should design and execute training programs that are proactively addressing issues of low engagement or collaboration. They need to ‘humanize’ virtual training.

Today there are some advanced and intelligent tools like virtual labs available in the industry, which you can use to:

1. Create engaging training sessions through a balance of lectures and hands-on activities that breaks down training into experiences that are easily digestible and less overwhelming.

2. Provide learners a safe environment that mimics their production application, so that they are free to explore creative solutions, apply their knowledge, and make mistakes.

3. Give instructors an over-the-shoulder view into students hands-on activities to increase real time feedback and collaboration.

4. Use an all-in-one platform with integrated real-time conferencing and simple intuitive interface for course delivery.

5. Apply automation to your class setup so that instructors can spend more time on student engagement.

Virtualize your training by all means. And humanize that virtualization. Today, it’s simple to leverage numerous features offered by advanced virtual labs to humanize the virtual training experience.