Virtual Training Top Trends To Watch In 2019
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The Virtual Training Top Trends You Should Adopt This Year

As we head into the new year, chief learning officers (CLOs) and training executives are seeking to up their game. That’s a smart move. The corporate training market in the U.S. is steadily expanding, with a CAGR estimated at 10% through 2022, underscoring the fact that learning is becoming more critical in the workplace.

To meet that need and stay ahead of the competition, CLOs and training executives must excel in the development, implementation, and funding of corporate training initiatives. The challenge is to accomplish these goals within the constraints of the real world, where time and cost savings are always a factor. There’s a big drive to be more efficient, prompting a stronger focus on virtual training and IT labs. Thanks to ongoing innovations, these technologies are shaping up as a promising way to deliver cost efficiencies.

That’s where the cloud, which has emerged as the “great enabler”, comes into play. It allows virtual training for mobile and remote workers, wherever they’re located, as well as self-paced and on-demand courses. At the same time, improved internet connectivity eliminates many concerns about equipment and technical support. Here are some trends for you to watch in 2019:

Multi-Step Classes And Collaboration Benefit Instructors And Learners

In multi-step classes, virtual instructors guide students between environments without the need for additional classes. This simplifies the process for participants and requires less management from instructors. Perhaps most importantly, the ease of moving from level to level in a logical progression helps students learn, resulting in much greater comprehension.

Furthermore, monitoring tools can result in a level of transparency that benefits everyone. Instructors can see what students are doing as they’re doing it and use that feedback to enhance their teaching. Students can also interact directly with the teacher via chat or other interfaces, creating an opportunity for collaboration and the ability to get help when they need it most. Such real-time monitoring and communication enable an instructor to know when a student needs help.

Recognizing these advantages, many enterprises are implementing multi-step classes, and that trend will accelerate. LinkedIn’s 2018 Workplace Learning Report [1] projects that companies will be dedicating more budget to scalable online learning solutions that meet growing skill demands.

Self-Paced Training And Certification Programs Give Students The Flexibility They Need

The biggest challenge in Learning and Development is not figuring out what kind of training is required. That’s important, but it comes second, according to Mettl’s 2018 State of the Workplace Learning and Development. The number-one challenge is getting employees to actually attend and participate in the training.

The solution is self-paced training courses and certification programs. Learners can access programs on the cloud wherever they are and on whatever device they prefer. There is no hard and fast schedule, so students can stop and start as their own schedule dictates, picking up right where they left off. Additionally, cloud-based online courses can give students access to the information they need when they’re in the workplace, trying out new skills.

That is exactly what employees want, according to the LinkedIn study. More than half of those surveyed said they prefer to learn at their own pace, and almost as many prefer to learn at the point of need.

Besides providing flexibility to learners, this approach saves companies time, money and management hassles. Self-paced virtual training courses don’t require instructors, and there’s no need to schedule or often repeat multi-day courses.

In many cases, training can be automated and integrated with different Learning Management Systems. Cost savings are possible when training is offered through a service provider. If a student doesn’t log out of a virtual lab, for example, this idle resource can be shut down automatically so there are no surprise bills for unused services.

Gaming Scenarios Are Worth Exploring

A hands-on experience is one of the best ways to learn, and games excel at providing that immediacy. Games engage and stimulate students, helping them focus on the task at hand. Sophisticated scenarios enable students to encounter and cope with situations approximating real life, without the fear of causing real problems when they make a mistake.

Take Security As An Example

Often, security professionals spend their time tracking the latest threats, protecting the company from hackers, and researching information security and compliance best practices. Games provide a great way to simulate that. In fact, gaming scenarios to educate IT and security pros have become a popular use of virtual IT labs (you’ll often see Capture the Flag-type games at security conferences). This approach is paying off: A recent study revealed that 77% of U.S. companies with interactive employee-training programs have seen a reduction in the number of attacks.

Virtual Training Cuts Preparation, Travel, And Costs

Planning on-site training at events such as product launches and partner conferences can be a headache. It can take weeks or months of advance work and then more time at the venue to keep things running smoothly. Personnel costs are steep, and the high cost of travel for everyone required on location adds to the expense.

Virtual IT labs can slash the time and costs involved in on-site training events. An internet connection enables participation by those who are too far away to travel or who can’t break away to attend in person. Given the benefits, it’s no surprise that virtual events that organize classes together are gaining in popularity with enterprise software companies such as Palo Alto Networks and Atlassian. The payoff can be enormous. In fact, an IBM study [2] found every dollar invested in online training yields $30 in productivity.

Staying Alert

Keeping on top of developments in virtual training is vital to remaining competitive. It’s also important to assess results and calculate ROI to gauge the effectiveness of programs and adjust them as needed. Soliciting feedback from users is critical as well, as it can help shape products and services. In all these areas, online learning solutions and digital technologies can play a key role, and astute CLOs and training executives will be making them top priorities in the year ahead.


[1] 2018 Workplace Learning Report: The Rise and Responsibility of Talent Development in the New Labor Market

[2] The Value of Training