Recent research by CloudShare shows a substantial gap between software companies that offer in-app video conferencing to their end-users, and those that do not. In fact, when in-app video conferencing is used, 66% of customers reach the end of the course, compared to just 46% of those who have no video conferencing element, or where the customers need to toggle between different applications.
Training content matters, but it’s the experience that moves the needle.
As the world settles into a more remote way of working and learning post-COVID-19, a Harvard Business Review article urges learning leaders to think about two essential elements of training online. Of course, the cognitive side — what you’re teaching your end-users, is important. But equally essential is what the article’s authors call the socio-emotional side of learning, which relies on an understanding of the way that trainees feel and think. In short, our customers are adapting to radically different circumstances from what they have traditionally been used to, and we need to focus on the trainee experience, not just which learning outcomes are on the agenda.
In the data above, we can see this in action. While a class without video conferencing may have checked all the cognitive boxes, covering all the elements needed to reach a certain technical learning goal, it is only with the video conferencing included that trainee participation goes sky-high. We’re seeing the socio-emotional side of learning, or to put it more simply — we’re seeing engagement.
Why is engagement so important in customer education?
Of course, all learners should be motivated to succeed in their training, but customers are an even harder audience to win over, since they often do not view training as mandatory. That means they need to feel intrinsically motivated to sit through an online course, and they’ll switch off if it doesn’t engage them. To measure this, participation and completion rates are essential metrics, providing a clear understanding of how engaged your customer is in the training experience.
It’s L&D’s role to ensure that training is as engaging as possible, getting those drop-off rates down to a minimum and showing that you’re understanding what your learners need, not only what’s on your curriculum. Collected from more than 2,000 instructor-led training (ILT) classes that took place between April 2021 and August 2021, this data shows quantitatively and unambiguously that in-app video-conferencing for corporate virtual training simply works. But perhaps more importantly, it shows that dedicated functionality tailored to engage end-users is critical in optimizing virtual training metrics, that ultimately lead to better customer retention.
How does in-app video conferencing boost engagement levels?
In-app video conferencing tools are purpose-built with this exact hypothesis in mind – that it would provide added engagement for trainees, and therefore improve training outcomes for software companies using an online training platform. This reasoning included:
- Ease of use: When you ask customers to juggle between multiple apps, it’s much more likely you’re going to lose their attention. As soon as they minimize one application to open a separate window on Zoom or Teams or elsewhere, your training is competing with their emails, notifications, or even just their eyes on the clock. In contrast, when your training takes place in a single window – your trainees are fully focused on your content and practice without distraction.
- Added monitoring: Instructors also have more opportunities to monitor the class in real-time when they have in-app video conferencing functionality. They can zoom in on a specific trainee’s screen, view how each user is engaging in real-time, and spot ‘warning zones’ where common signs point to the risk that a customer is losing interest. In this way, a skilled instructor can quickly pull the user back into the fold with a targeted question or by moving on to the next section of the class. This makes online learning with in-app video conferencing a lot more similar to a traditional classroom environment.
- Less technical problems: Customer education leader Sandra Elliot says there is no way to escape it, “If you’re teaching online, you’re going to be troubleshooting technical issues!” Elliot recommends exercise environments for hands-on learning but comments that you can’t avoid technical challenges from your customers. They may lose passwords or login details, their computer might crash, or they might have browser issues. It’s clear that the simpler the interface the better, and that includes integrating all of your instruction tools in a single application. One log-in means less customer frustration and failure to contend with.
An Exciting Call to Action for Software Companies Looking To Improve Their Training ROI
The data is crystal clear. While less than half of customers reach a 100% completion rate without in-app video conferencing, this number jumps to two-thirds when video conferencing is utilized as a part of the same training experience. This clearly shows that engaging experiences really do move the needle when it comes to software training, challenging training decision-makers to prioritize engagement in planning their tech spend.