Cancelled plans have been par for the course this year, with Covid-19 making the concept of calendars seem like some quaintly optimistic relic from another world.
But life must and will go on. I wrote recently about the need to bring training back to the top of the agenda, with particular consideration for the unexpected new skill sets that the coronavirus era now demands.
However, for all the businesses that are leaping at the chance to resume their training programmes with virtual classes, there is still resistance from those who aren’t sold on the idea. For some, in-person sessions are the long-established norm and virtual training can’t possibly be a viable alternative. So, they keep putting training plans on hold until things ‘get back to normal’, despite ongoing delays and uncertainty.
Is virtual training any good?
My answer is a resounding yes, but then again, I’m a business skills trainer so I would say that. But I’m also in a great position to explain why virtual training offers all the benefits of classroom-based training, plus some extras. Anyone worried about a lack of in-person engagement should try a virtual training session and see if they still feel the same way afterwards.
Technology is up to the task
If your only experience of video conferencing was one stuttering Skype call a few years ago, rest assured that the technology has come on in leaps and bounds. Now, multiple people can enjoy an engaging, fully immersive training experience via video link, with useful added features such as instant messaging. There can still be occasional technical hitches, of course, but today’s tech is robust and innovative.
Everyone has the best seat in the house
With screen sharing and online white boards, no one has to peer from the back of the classroom to try and see the slides. Also, even the most timid or softly spoken delegates can speak up to ask a question or offer a response with the touch of a button. We find that this ‘level playing field’ boosts confidence and engagement.
More bang for your buck
During breaks, delegates are free to chat and network with each other virtually, just as they would during an in-person training day, so that personal connection isn’t lost. But they can also use that time to do some additional reading or exercises to help them build on what they’ve learned. Plus, taking away the time and stress involved in commuting to a training venue can result in more relaxed, engaged participants.
Never cancel a training course again…
For those whose plans have been blighted by cancellations and postponements this year, this is the big one. The unpredictable nature of the pandemic is wreaking havoc on businesses everywhere. But even if a strict national lockdown is introduced at the last minute, your virtual training programme cannot be ruined – unlike in-person training, which falls victim every time.
If there is one thing that is almost guaranteed immunity from coronavirus, it is virtual training!