Few things have propelled progressive technologies forward more than the Covid-19 outbreak. As a result, interest in virtual classroom training has skyrocketed in recent months.
Not all of the interest is being spurred by the pandemic, though. Companies and educational institutions have been looking closely at online classroom training for some time because of its potential benefits. One of the chief advantages is productivity. It’s an obvious lure, but using virtual classrooms to maintain and boost productivity can be harder than it looks at first glance.
What follows is an examination of some of the benefits and trade-offs of online learning. There are layers of issues involved in remote learning, so it’s important to know what they are and how best to address them.
The Productivity Question
In the world of virtual learning, productivity is a hot-button issue. Many companies find themselves lured to virtual learning by the promise of boosted productivity and profits. Sometimes, those companies find themselves stymied by complications they didn’t anticipate.
Of course, the first step is to analyze your business needs. Do you have employees on the road or in remote locations who could benefit significantly from access to virtual classrooms? Are you constantly training and retraining, or are your information needs fairly simple?
The answers to these kinds of questions will give you a starting point to decide if virtual training is right for you. Additionally, your answers will also help you to determine the services you need. The potential benefits are often overestimated or deemed insufficient, so we’ll look at those first.
Benefits of Virtual Training
The biggest benefit of virtual training is obvious—it’s cost-effective. Virtual classrooms eliminate the need to travel to a specific site to learn new techniques and information, so they save time too.
These benefits also extend to scheduling. Employees can access recorded classes at any time, and “live” sessions can be set up far more easily. This kind of learning represents a new way to look at logistics, and these tend to be additive once the basics are in place.
Benefits extend beyond the workday as well. Many employees have busy family situations or a disjointed schedule. Those challenges can be addressed by the availability of online learning. Online training tends to increase job satisfaction, which can be a huge asset when it comes to employee retention.
Similarly, this flexibility applies to different learning styles as well. Those who value privacy tend to do especially well with virtual training. Remote learning can also be an ideal way to include those who have atypical communication styles. Another advantage is the effect it tends to have on the retention of information. An online presentation can be altered to accommodate different learning styles. This eliminates a lot of the guesswork that’s often involved. In fact, research bears this out. It may seem like remote learning could be less effective because it’s intrinsically less intimate and personal, but that's simply not the case.
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One of the most important factors in the effectiveness of virtual learning is the ability to apply it to the right kind of material. Virtual learning is excellent for situations where “hard” knowledge is involved. Hard knowledge is usually dense information that requires multiple rounds of exposure for retention. Typical examples of hard knowledge would be computer-based tasks, accounting, typing and certain kinds of law. Virtual learning works wonders here.
The flip side of this particular advantage is that in some cases, the development of “soft” skills may not be suited for remote learning. This includes things like problem-solving and conflict resolution. Relationship training typically falls into this category as well. Other examples would be sales, public speaking, teaching and counseling. All of these rely to some extent on the use of non-verbal skills that are harder to convey in a virtual environment.
Hands-on training can also be a challenge. Remote training may be problematic for applications like manufacturing and construction, and creative endeavors, such as painting or sculpture.
It’s also important to mention that distractions can be a major challenge to virtual classrooms. Because of this, virtual training works best when material is presented in a way that’s fun, engaging, and interactive.
Making Information Available
Another good way to boost productivity via virtual learning is to make hard information available via transcripts. The benefit of transcripts is that they’re basically evergreen. This makes them easy to use and also to update in order to add new modules.
Transcripts can also be used as teaching tools, and their versatility shouldn’t be underestimated. They can be reviewed to add more emphasis on certain aspects of the material. They can also be useful for answering any questions that come up. Transcripts can easily be transformed into quizzes or specific notes, which can become additional separate presentations.
Specialized learners can also reap the advantages of transcripts. Examples of this would be those who are deaf or hard of hearing. Transcripts are also beneficial to those with learning disabilities and ESL learners. These individuals may need more time or repetition to absorb the material.
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One final important benefit of virtual learning is the ability to expand it into multimodal training. Transcriptions can be repurposed and used to create study guides, tests, and more. This helps instructors to be efficient and gives students more learning options. Transcriptions can also make it easy to section off lessons, index material, present versions for skimming, and so on. Plus, one good thing about transcriptions is that they don’t take up too much storage space.
The benefits of having a large library are huge, especially when that library includes both virtual and physical material. It’s easy to add video and audio, and these elements can be used for SEO expansion as well. These are just a few of the advantages of virtual learning. When it comes to online learning, the potential productivity benefits are nearly limitless for those willing to dive right in.
Contact A Professional
When you’re ready to upgrade your virtual training and online platforms, contact us at ReadyTech. We can help you transition to digital learning today. Success is just one call away.