Behind every efficient and successful company is an effectively trained employee. But in addition to the challenge of training an employee, it is also a daunting task to give them hands-on practice with technology. The answer is to utilize virtual training software, such as virtual IT labs, to allow instructors to train while giving employees the hands-on tools to apply what they have learned. What results is better employee engagement and knowledge retention. Read on to learn how virtual IT labs like ReadyTech’s can aid in effectively training your team.
What is a Virtual IT Lab?
A Virtual IT Lab (VITL) is an online training environment that simulates and enhances the virtual classroom experience through virtual classroom software. If a VITL is effective, it can replace the more passive, in-person classroom experience with a virtual training platform that is interactive and engaging, leading to better trainee outcomes and a more productive company. If you have never heard of VITLs before today, it is because they are a relatively new innovation. Just recently, the VITL has become an opposable thumb to training employees in job-related skills, as they provide the employer with many benefits.
What are VITLs Benefits?
Below are some of the benefits of VITLs and how they can effectively upskill your employees.
They are instructor-led.
This is perhaps the most important benefit to VITLs, as most people tend to believe that online learning is synonymous with learning from a robot or a virtual simulation. Luckily, the instructor figure is retained in the VITL because it is understood that an instructor is the main player in a student’s success and retention in a course.
The fact that VITLs are instructor-led benefits the trainee and yourself. Instructor-led classrooms help to keep students on track, engaged, and retained, ensuring you have not wasted money in training a disengaged employee, that the employee leaves the training with a positive experience, and that you have a well-trained employee who feels taken care of, invested in their work, valued, and ready for their job.
An instructor-led class ensures that students’ questions are answered by an expert and that concepts are explained as thoroughly as needed. Instructors give students feedback and suggestions for improvement, as well as individualize a learning experience.
Finally, instructors in a course help the student feel supported in his or her training, resulting in better learning outcomes.
They foster quality interaction.
21st century jobs, as well as training for them, should be taught with a 21st century mindset and 21st century technology. VITLs main point is to not only simulate but also enhance the classroom experience. In this way, VITLs have enhanced features for classroom interaction. The video conferencing, whiteboard, virtual lab, and chat features keep students learning, engaged, and communicative.
In VITLs, every student is on the instructor’s radar when remediation or encouragement is needed. An instructor can provide just-in-time feedback to a student who is struggling or give a student personalized help when needed.
Students benefit from peer-to-peer interaction and collaboration as they would in a traditional classroom setting. In addition, interactions between peers become more frequent, focused, and valuable. Students who might otherwise be shy to speak in a social classroom setting can communicate more with ease online, and written discourse can be pondered better. This leads to more quality and focused interactions, enabling the students to learn better from one another and from their own inquiry.
They provide the student with better learning tools.
Students who need something clarified or repeated for better retention of knowledge have the ability to pause, shift, or even rewind a lesson in VITLs. This is a valuable tool that is not possible in a regular, fleeting classroom setting. VITLs empower students to learn at the pace that makes sense for them rather than be left behind in a rapid paced classroom setting.
They are widely accessible.
Anyone with a computer and internet connection can access the course from anywhere on the globe. This means that training is not beholden to geographical location or wrangling twenty or more employees in one room at one given time. The flexibility ensures that your company’s time and money is never wasted. In addition, this is an equitable way to provide training to any employee no matter where they are.
They are an equitable means in which to learn.
VITLs are inherently egalitarian in their teaching approach, and they can and will meet any student where they are in their skillset, no matter their age, intellect, or resources.
VITLs allow an instructor to see the entire classroom at once and monitor student progress. This differs from a classroom setting where some students might sit in the back and both the instructor and student naturally become disengaged from one another.
In addition, the virtual lab allows students to see and interact with the instructor and their peers clearly and equally. And most notably, if a student becomes disengaged or participation has halted, the virtual lab feature allows an instructor to be informed right away and is able to provide remediation just in time.
They can reach a larger audience.
In-person classrooms typically have a seating and room capacity that limits the number of trainees to be taught at one given time. Luckily, the virtual classroom is without walls, allowing for a considerable number of more employees to be trained at once and preparing your department or company as a whole in better time.
They are cost-effective to the employer.
Sometimes training occurs in-house in a different location than where your company is headquartered, and in the past this would be solved by flying out trainees for several days or even weeks at a time.
With VITLs, there is no need for travel expenses, such as flights, per diem meal and transport compensation, and expensive hotels, cutting overhead costs and helping your company to remain financially sound. In addition, there are typically no other materials needed for VITLs, such as a text book costing hundreds of dollars, as the material is all located online and in the course. Costs to the employer are dramatically reduced with the use of VITLs.
How Can VITLs Benefit Your Company?
They provide personalized learning.
With VITLs, companies can create beginner, intermediate, and advanced courses and allow students to begin at different entry points. This ensures that you and your employee’s valuable time is not wasted and he or she is receiving the training needed.
One issue in regular classroom settings is that most students’ skill-sets exist on a wide spectrum. This means that inevitable training will be either too slow or too fast for most of the people in the room because they all have differing knowledge on what they are learning. It was rare in the past to be able to receive training or education at one’s own pace, as typically every student in the class would need to learn at the instructor’s pace. VITLs deliver learning that is specialized to each individual rather than providing a blanket course that will either lose half the audience because those individuals are more advanced or leave the other half behind because those individuals need a more remedial approach.
VITLs remove that obstacle for learners and enable them to learn at their own pace. This is especially important if a student needs to stay longer on one concept, and he or she will not lose out on important information if the rest of the course has moved ahead. The student can catch up when they are ready.
They measure training impact.
If you need to train your employees, it is important that they remain on track and finish in a reasonable amount of time.
VITLs have analytic features that are able to track how many labs or modules have been started and accessed as well as how a student is progressing through a course. Instructors have the ability to access learners’ labs remotely and troubleshoot issues or nudge a student who has been stuck on a certain concept or topic for a few days. With this feature, the instructor can make adjustments to help the learner in real time.
ReadyTech provides companies and employees with a hosted training solution that offers hands-on, virtual training software to aid employees in practicing job skills. Companies that invest in employee training benefit from reduced attrition rates and hiring costs, better productivity, knowledgeable employees, and a competitive hiring environment.
ReadyTech provides you with all the software you need for your virtual classroom, and we offer a full-service setup process as well as 24/7 live support. Contact us today to get started.