Virtual training makes learning accessible to everyone. By removing the geographical barriers to learning, VILT software helps enhance students’ product adoption, career development and knowledge – without sacrificing the instructor’s effectiveness. As a result, training departments are moving away from traditional, face-to-face learning and embracing virtual instructor-led training (VILT). Here are five important reasons for this switch.

1. VILT Eliminates Travel

With hefty airline, lodging, car rental and per diem expenses, travel costs can add up very quickly. When you compare in-person training and online training, virtual training eliminates the need for travel and lodging, making online training a cost-effective and accessible option. With VILT, not only do students have the ability to access content from anywhere in the world, but instructors don’t need to manage the wear-and-tear and stress associated with constantly being on the road and away from home.

2. VILT Mimics Real-life Classrooms

It is a misconception that face-to-face training is the only type of teaching that allows instructors to implement strategies that keep students involved and engaged. It is also a misconception that virtual training is just watching presentations and videos, without the interactivity of an in-person class.

In fact, today’s most innovative virtual machine training includes features that make virtual classrooms the same – or better than – in-person classroom environments, making it easy for instructors to provide effective and engaging learning experiences. For example:

  • Virtual training labs (sometimes referred to as lab environments) allow for hands-on exercises and practice examples using the actual software being taught, not simulations. These exercises give students the practical training they need to become productive with the technology they’ll be using at work.
  • Private and public chats allow instructors to efficiently communicate back and forth with individual students or with the entire class.
  • Whiteboards allow instructors to draw, write, and demonstrate flowcharts, process maps and IT network diagrams.
  • Using screen-sharing features, instructors can share their desktop or a student’s desktop with the entire class or a select group of students within the class.
  • Through remote lab control, instructors can easily access any student’s virtual training lab to show them how to fix an error or to demonstrate a best practice.
  • Activity monitoring tools allow instructors to continuously see if students are still working in their labs and staying engaged.

VILT software provides a nearly identical teaching experience for instructors – and, arguably, a better learning experience for students. The innovative features in VILT software have taken instructor/student interactions to a new level.

3. VILT Provides ROI for Organizations

Training departments save a significant amount of money from online training. In fact, according to a Citrix GoToTraining report, “Companies can save between $9,550 and $15,870 by moving one course from a traditional classroom to VILT.” These savings come from cost reductions in travel, lodging, transportation and instructors’ lost productivity.

According to a Tagoras report, “Association Learning and Technology,” these cost differences are greatest for employees and instructors who work across several sites (for whom travel would be required for in-person training) and for mid-level and senior-level employees (for whom the “opportunity cost of time off task” is greatest).

4. Moving to VILT Is Simple

Many people believe that transitioning from traditional training to virtual training is a huge endeavor. They expect the transition to involve many confusing and time-intensive steps, as well as numerous departments. However, the opposite is true. Moving from in-person training delivery to VILT involves four easy steps:

  1. Select your virtual training environment software. There are numerous online meeting tools available to organizations. However, an online meeting tool is different from VILT software, and these differences have a huge impact on student and instructor experiences. The bottom line is that VILT software is not the same as an online meeting tool.
  2. Make your local computer labs available online. In-person training delivery commonly requires students to work on pre-installed desktops in a classroom. For VILT delivery, hands-on labs must be available online. When you consider building a virtual training lab solution in house, you will probably realize that it’s a complex, expensive and time-consuming undertaking. Instead, consider contacting an experienced virtual training lab provider to help deploy your virtual training and IT training labs.
  3. Add VILT-specific slides to your existing in-person curriculum. In most cases, you can use the same slide decks for VILT and in-person delivery, but it’s a good idea to add a few slides to the course introduction that explain how the VILT software and virtual training labs work from a student’s point of view. This content will boost students’ confidence in using the tool and improve class participation.
  4. It’s important for instructors to run practice classes. Ask them to practice virtual instruction using role-play. Each participant should play the instructor, as well as the student, to become familiar with the various features that instructors and students can access.

5. VILT Provides Valuable Peer-to-peer Learning

Human interaction is critical for learning, but this interaction does not necessarily need to take place face to face. In fact, participation and peer-to-peer learning are integral parts of virtual computer training. This type of training has several features that allow instructors to effectively teach students and, when appropriate, allows students to communicate with one another.

For example, many platforms enable instructors to see all students’ remote desktops in a single screen at all times – allowing them to see where students are in their virtual training labs or which students are struggling. Other features allow instructors to zoom in on specific students’ screens and offer personalized help. For students, there are features to help them communicate, such as public and private chats and emoticons.

Organizations that make the switch to VILT will quickly realize that it was well worth the effort. By moving from face-to-face learning to a hosted training solution, your training department can focus on creating high-value training content, speeding up student proficiency and exceeding your profit and loss and learning goals.