The Truth About Virtual Training For Your Business

By Chris Porteous,
business.com writer
|
Mar 11, 2020
Image Credit: nd3000/Getty

Not all training is created equal. Here's how to be sure your team is getting the education it needs.

Companies are expected to constantly retrain their employees to ensure that they have the skills needed to survive and thrive in a modern workplace. Despite this emphasis on workplace training, many business owners refuse to invest in workplace training regimes because they feel as if they produce lackluster results or are simply a waste of money. In reality, proper workplace training can rejuvenate your ailing workforce, avoid challenges, and help your company get back on its feet after a period of commercial stagnation.

What’s the truth about virtual training initiatives, specifically, and how should business owners go about approaching them to achieve the best results possible? Here’s the truth about virtual training for your business, what about it to embrace eagerly, and what to ignore.

Not all training is the same

There’s no simpler way to define virtual training regimes than to state that they are often radically different from one another. One company can provide an excellent virtual training software that helps your workers conquer new, complex subjects in a relatively short timespan. Others will provide you with a lackluster product that frustrates and confuses your workers like never before. Any business owner considering such virtual training regimes should thus understand that it’s imperative to do your homework well ahead of time to find an excellent training service that’s the right fit for your specific workforce.

Look at what’s worked for others, yes, but know that nobody can provide you with the right answer for your unique business because it’s unlike every other one in the marketplace. There are two primary types of virtual training; the first type of virtual training happens in your office, where employees learn on company machines by using software purchased by the company. The second type of virtual training is defined by allowing employees to learn at home, where they can access company-acquired software on their own personal devices to learn in their free time. Much in the same way that confined space training is different from customer service training, these various types of virtual training will differ from one another. 

Of the many pros and cons of workplace training, there’s no denying that the worst aspect of it is that there’s no in-person teaching occuring. Thus, it’s essential that your workforce is capable of digesting complex instructions without the help of an in-person expert to facilitate the learning process. To make the most of any virtual training regime, your company will need self-starting employees who are capable of informing themselves without the need of a manager breathing over their neck every five seconds. Consider that before purchasing any expensive workforce training software which may require an expert to be made of meaningful use. 

You should also know that an extensive plan to guide your employees along their journey will be needed to ensure your money isn’t wasted. Any business owner who wants to do right by their workforce should set some time aside to read up on creating a plan to effectively conquer virtual training without wasting their time or capital. Only after you’ve devised such a plan should you move on to the next step of learning about virtual training.

Consider the tech at play

You can’t make good use of virtual training if you’re deeply unfamiliar with the latest technological advancements. You don’t have to be a regular IT expert, but knowing the basics is a necessary facet of taking advantage of this new kind of training. Business owners who aren’t up to date on how virtual reality technology is being leveraged to maximize training opportunities could be dismissing a tool that proves incredibly useful in their specific circumstances. 

Virtual and augmented reality aren’t the only innovations which are making virtual training easier and more affordable than ever before. The prevalence of smartphones and other small, handheld digital devices is making it easier and easier for workers to study up at any time of day in virtually any place. Many workers like to study from home or on their commute, but won’t be able to due to a lack of technological access. By providing your workforce with smartphones or similar digital equipment they need to access complex training software, you can retrofit a dying workforce and turn it into one that’s ready for whatever the future brings with it. 

Virtual training labs, too, are worthy of the consideration of any employer who wants to add a modern flair to their workplace recruitment and training strategy. We’ve seen an increase in the usage of virtual training labs over the past few years for a relatively obvious reason - they’re now cheaper and easier to use than ever before. Indeed, entire companies have cropped up in the past few years just to market these and related services to other businesses trying to retrofit their workforces.

Virtual training labs are popular because they claim to reduce the loss of efficiency that occurs when in-person expertise isn’t offered to a person learning a new, complicated subject. While it’s different from having somebody literally right next to you, a virtual training lab can give the impression that you’re being taught by somebody who’s “right there,” which in turn makes it a more human, fulfilling, and engaging experience for all involved. 

Know how to do it with success

Finally, business owners who are considering virtual training initiatives should study up on how to do it with success unless they want to waste valuable time, money, and energy. Begin by clearly stating your goals and asking yourself how a virtual training regime will help you meet them; if you need to ensure your workforce is up to date on the latest technology, for instance, you should be asking yourself how this particular piece of software will introduce them to and familiarize them with such technology. If you’re looking for warmer, more positive customer relations, ask yourself if other methods might be far preferable. 

Of course, anybody who doesn’t take time to read up on common tips for succeeding at virtual training is doing a disservice to themselves and their company as a whole. Knowing how to only pick that content which is relevant to your workforce won’t just save you money, for instance, but will also ensure your employees are more engaged when they begin their digital learning sessions. After all, who wants to pay attention to a subject that has nothing to do with their daily responsibilities? As you’ll come to realize sooner rather than later, business owners and managers must play an active role in the selection of training materials if they want to reap the dividends of virtual training regimes. 

You should also know that sometimes mixing virtual training with in-person training provides the best results. Everybody learns differently, so don’t think there’s a one-size-fits-all solution that will ensure all of your workers leave with more skills than they ever possessed before. Sometimes, allowing certain workers to train by using digital technology while enabling others to receive in-person instructions is the only surefire method for success when it comes to workplace training. 

Before long, your company will be achieving more progress than ever before when it comes to training, all thanks to your reliance on digital technology. Virtual training programs can’t totally replace more traditional training methods, but they’re quickly becoming appreciated around the globe thanks to their low-cost, high-reward nature that’s only likely to improve as time goes on.

I'm a serial entrepreneur and owner of three internet ventures, including My SEO Sucks. A contributor to ZeroHedge, Entrepreneur.com, Forbes, Inc.com, and dozens of other media outlets, I believe in SEO as a product. I developed a proprietary technology fueling the #1 rankings of My SEO Sucks clients. In guest speaking ventures across North American, I advocate for organic search traffic as the backbone of any comprehensive digital marketing strategy.
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