There are several factors motivating the transition from classroom instructor-led training (ILT) to virtual instructor-led training (VILT). While VILT has increased in familiarity and respectability, the classroom environment remains the more appreciated training scenario. However, a couple substantial reasons validate the shift to VILT.
These reasons may be divided into two broad categories: cost and learning effectiveness. Both areas include several specific, demonstrated benefits of VILT that serve as powerful arguments for carrying forward our increase in actualizing VILT.
VILT is economically feasible because it offers reductions in training expenses for several line items:
- Travel expenses are not a concern since VILT requires no travel to an onside location, for either the instructor or student.
- Accommodations costs zero out. Instructors and students have no reason to stay in hotels because they can participate in VILT courses from their own worksites.
- Lost time costs are reduced significantly. Travel to extended onsite training sessions previously invoked lost-time expenses, as did the classroom time itself. As VILT training is shorter modular delivery and requires no time off work to travel, the savings can be significant.
- Training materials are no longer a cost item. Online materials and the hands-on interactivity using digital media eliminate the expense of hardcopy training materials such as workbooks, handouts and wall visuals.
The financial savings of VILT are significant. In the early days, however, lack of comfort and appreciation offset the monetary savings arguments that supported VILT. The position was common that VILT did not engage students and as a result the quality of learning was sub-par.
The last few years have demonstrated improvements in the learning effectiveness of VILT courses.
These benefits cover a range of tactical to strategic advantages from VILT offerings.
- Instructor-led methodology: The value of an instructional setting that is two-way, person-to-person in real time is evident. VILT carries out these same valuable features as does the traditional classroom with specific qualifications. While the two-way, face-to-face feature may not be of the same proximity, the participant can enjoy these features from the comfort of their own workspace.
- Continuous learning environment: Online training of the VILT model offers a continuous and varied training/learning experience. In addition to the several tools applied during a VILT session, the learning environment extends to include social media, polling, digital libraries and video resources.
- Availability to the most remote: As businesses and workforces became globally remote, participation in the same training at the same time with one’s colleagues became a real challenge. Now, VILT offers learning opportunities for even the most distant team members.
- Broadcast media strategies: The format of VILT is a live broadcast nature. This allows a number of media elements to be included in the actual VILT session: visual, video, audio, interaction, polling, chatting, and more. The effective integration of these components bridges the potentials for training to educate, entertain, inform and persuade.
- Instructional viability and vitality: From a unique perspective, VILT offers an expansion of the instructional dynamic over classroom ILT. The use of engagement tools on an instant basis may enliven and enhance the facilitation, making it engaging for the participant.
The future of VILT is relatively certain. The cost-savings plus the scalability will drive the educational value of VILT. Greater experience with VILT will let us refine these benefits and improve our development and delivery of training sessions.