Look for cloud advantages, cost-effectiveness and trainee-cum-instructor friendliness when you choose a virtual online training solution
If virtual online training was an option earlier, it has become a necessity now. World over, organizations are making the shift to virtual online training. Estimates by the World Economic Forum show that global end-tech investments that were around $18.66 B in 2019 would grow at a rapid pace. The overall market for online education is expected to hit $350 B by 2025. A major portion of this market would be commanded by language apps, virtual tutoring, video conferencing tools, and online learning software, especially after COVID-19. Similarly, more companies are embracing new software applications for augmenting their business processes. This is also where good tools can complement the application platforms that are training the requisite set of new competencies to these user-organizations.
Leaning towards virtual online training
Industry analysts estimate that as much as 85% of L&D (Learning and Development) functions must have shifted their in-person training to virtual modes. This includes areas like onboarding, manager development, and leadership programs. Gartner has observed that six in ten L&D professionals have created new training. The need for apt tools is paramount on both individual and enterprise segments. Trainers and specialists in various domains want tools that can assist their growth efforts and pandemic-driven training demand. For those enterprises that are investing in cloud and other applications too, it becomes easy to have simple tools that can align well with the platform.
It is easy to understand some prime drivers here.
Virtual online training technology is:
- Full of consistency and stability to their ongoing programs
- Enabler of new skills like survival, resilience, collaboration, automation and customer-centricity in the workforce
- Easy to implement
- Good on ROI
- Amenable to quick adaptations, intelligence and personalization
- Scalable and simple
The virtual training space will be a $579.44 B market by 2027 as per ResearchAndMarkets. But the report also highlights factors like resistance to adopt this technology and lack of investments in R&D. That is where we need to consider some blind spots objectively.
The hesitation, the challenges
The proliferation of tools in the market is good news in terms of more choice. But that also means more confusion, heterogeneity and implementation hurdles. More often, you find yourself caught up in a tight decision scenario. You know that it is the best time to invest in virtual online training. But how do you make sure that you pick something that will actually deliver sustainable gains?
Remember these Es: Elastic, Easy, Equal
Your Choice Criteria: A Quick Manual
First, look for a solution that comes with cloud capabilities. Because unless you have adequate scalability and elasticity, it would be hard to aim for an impressive impact. Also, the intangible outcomes of learner-convenience and smooth training can show better results when the solution is on the cloud.
Second, in the same context, find providers who can customize and adapt their offerings to your special needs and constraints. These can be related to your last-mile learning environments, instructor expertise, content, development goals and work-competencies. A good solution will always give you or your app platform a personalized edge. So pay attention to adaptability.
Third, see how tech-heavy it is. You should be focusing on devising relevant training goals and sharpening the course material. You should not be running around the plugs and wires for all the tech set-up. That should not be your headache. The solution should allow you an environment that is easy to configure and flexible to meet your infrastructure needs or limitations. This is possible with some industry-leading solutions who deliver lightweight modules with reusable templates and elastic capabilities. This is where it becomes easy to deploy a solution without any location or platform barriers. This is where it’s easy to embrace new features and releases because the solution provider has designed the entire product that way.
A 100% SaaS-based application, which can be set up in minutes, that’s what you should be asking for. So you can configure the new training environment with simple, browser-based and self-service access. Instructors and course creators should not ask for critical resources or skills or IT personnel for the set-up. If you have to invest in complex virtualization, containerization, etc. then it defeats the purpose of saving time and money with virtual choices. The solution should also enable easy email notification and file transfer areas. It should be as simple as pressing a button.
You also have to keep in mind that a lot of data would travel back and forth over uncontrolled networks. Confidentiality of IP will be tough to safeguard now. Similarly, privacy-protection of data (voice, video, location details, online behavior and tools used) would be a challenge. Lean towards solutions that leave no loose-ends in this aspect. Invest in virtual online training solutions that emphasize security. You need someone with proven, extreme proficiency, and confidence in security capabilities.
Finally, you have to get the ideal combination of both instructor and trainee strengths in a solution. A lot of tools miss out on striking the perfect balance between both sides of the screen. A good tool meets the needs and limitations of instructors. But it also ensures simplicity, pace, and engagement for learners. As long as you can find these twin advantages in a tool, you have nothing to worry about.
So let these considerations assist you in finding the virtual training solution that will bring you the effectiveness, efficiency, intelligence, affordability, and excitement of a good training intervention. Any solution that ticks these key boxes will easily and consistently deliver the outcomes you are aiming for.