If you wanted to make a name for yourself within a company, what kind of initiative would you spearhead? Product development? Improving customer satisfaction? Breaking into a difficult new market? Whatever it is, it would have to be something that executives and shareholders would notice on the bottom line at the end of the year.
So, why are we unlikely to see “invest in virtual computer training” on that list?
Training and education aren’t as superficially exciting as some of those other initiatives. You don’t feel the same sense of victory from helping people acquire a new set of skills that you do when you launch an attention-grabbing marketing campaign, land a huge new client or invent a new product. It’s easy to see how people can overlook training and education.
However, overlooking training is a critical mistake. Investing in the right kind of training can generate significant value for your business. Effective training and education helps companies make more money, deliver better results, and retain their best and brightest employees. Not all the benefits of improved training are easy to quantify, but when you know what to look for, you can see all the ways that training pays dividends.
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Training for the Right Skills
When it comes to achieving value from training, it’s key to train your employees in the right skills. For a long time, soft skills training has been a popular subject in online training courses. In today’s high-tech workforce, however, soft skills alone aren’t going to give your workers much of an advantage.
The world is changing, and the driving force behind many of the most dramatic changes is technology. We use more technology as part of our everyday lives than ever before. Every day brings new innovations, new ideas for integrating technology into our home and work life, and new opportunities either to master the skills needed to function within this changing world – or to be left behind.
To acquire valuable skills, learners need a platform that goes beyond traditional, passive online learning models. They need a platform that gives them hands-on practice, the freedom to experiment and make mistakes, and expert guidance to direct them.
Virtual Training Labs: Ideal for Technology Training
When it comes to learning new software and acquiring other high tech skills, virtual training labs are close to the ideal platform. They offer nearly all of the advantages of in-person instruction with a lab environment, while eliminating many of the inconveniences and drawbacks.
With virtual training labs, learners can use their own device to connect directly to a virtual training environment that perfectly replicates the hardware, software and screen display of whatever setup they need to be trained on. They can use the real thing, gaining hands-on experience in a safe and secure environment.
To cement skill acquisition and help students take their knowledge to the next level, virtual training labs can offer virtual instructor-led training (VILT). With VILT, an instructor is present in the virtual training environment to advise and monitor students while helping steer class discussion and hands-on exercises in productive directions.
Nearly any online training solution that includes a cloud lab environment will provide a better value to the organization using it, because labs are the most effective way to teach “hard” tech skills online. Hard skills have a meaningful impact on employee development, leading to better knowledge retention, increased productivity and higher ROI.
If you’re still comparing in person training and online training, consider how costs add up for remote employees who have to travel for in-person training. While each organization’s actual savings may vary, online training can cost as much as 70 percent less than the in-person equivalent, based on ReadyTech data.
For students and training departments alike, virtual training labs provide much of their value in two key areas: cost savings and productivity.
- For students, there’s no travel required, which means no arranging transportation, no employee wear and tear, no having to make hotel reservations, and no per diem expenses to reimburse.
- For training departments, there’s no need to set up or tear down labs, procure training spaces, maintain the training facility, or ask IT people for fixes and upgrades.
- For students, less travel means more time working at their desks.
- For instructors, less travel means more time preparing educational materials and teaching courses.
Many companies overlook their training departments when they’re looking for areas to operations. Before the advent of high-speed internet and computers, this oversight may have been understandable; the technology to make virtual training labs (also known as IT training labs) that match the potential of real-world labs wasn’t available.
While the most direct ROI from a virtual training platform comes from the reduction in travel costs, there are many other ways it can add value to your bottom line:
- Students who learn via virtual instructor-led training retain information better than students who read or listen to lectures from traditional e-learning courses.
- Workers whose employers encourage their ongoing education have higher loyalty and morale and perform better.
- A well-trained workforce has less employee turnover, which saves considerable HR costs.
- A single VILT training session can reach many students at one time, no matter where they are
Training delivery platforms deliver clear benefits to students, instructors, training departments and the organization as a whole. There isn’t a single stakeholder that won’t realize benefits from a virtual training software that empowers employees with the skills they need to excel in today’s high-tech business world.
Considering the current situation, what excuse do companies have for maintaining a training department that’s stuck in the 20th century?