7 Reasons Why Virtual Learning is Trending in Today’s World
Training staff is always a tricky landscape to navigate. Some people look forward to the opportunity to get out of the office for a day of training. Others despise the idea and spend the whole time thinking about the work they’re not getting done. The point is, everybody, learns differently, and this is what makes it difficult for employers to manage.
However, with the increasing adoption of virtual classroom studies in Australia, particularly since the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic, people are quickly adjusting to a new way of learning. Online courses have recently become a necessity rather than a choice, and many people are discovering the benefits sooner than they might have.
Here are 7 reasons why the virtual learning experience is taking off in today’s world.
What is Virtual Learning?
Virtual learning, as the name suggests, is learning in a virtual environment. The concept is being used more frequently in schools, universities and all types of training institutions around the world. Rather than sitting in a classroom environment, participants can now learn from the comfort of their home or desk.
Virtual learning uses technology to connect participants with a facilitator, who leads a training course just as they would in a physical environment. As technology improves, the tools at the disposal of trainers are becoming better. For participants, this means more engaging classes and easier ways to study.
Some courses include video functionality, some just use audio. Others may only involve video or audio from the facilitator, while participants can use a ‘chat-room’ function. All virtual training is different, but people are starting to love the convenience.
Virtual Learning is More Cost-Effective
Firstly, virtual learning is more cost effective for businesses. Staff spend less time away from their desks for virtual learning. This means productivity isn’t compromised in the way it is when several staff go offsite for training.
The cost-effectiveness also relates to the course content itself. Traditional classroom-based courses are often focused on broader topics. In some cases, this is useful, particularly when it comes to personal development courses. However, for more technical applications such as Microsoft Office training, you can sign your staff members up to courses that are very targeted to their own jobs.
By attending a series of shorter virtual classes teaching specific skills, staff can learn everything they want to learn, and nothing they don’t!
Virtual Learning Education Takes Less Time
Virtual classes are generally shorter than classroom-based ones. For one thing, there’s no travel involved. Participants can log in to a virtual classroom from their desks, or from home if working remotely. So, when you cut out the time spent traveling to and from a training facility, virtual classes become far less time consuming.
Online courses are also structured to be shorter. This might mean you need to attend multiple short courses rather than one whole-day course, but this is much more appealing for employers and staff. It’s far easier to work a few 90-minute courses into a schedule than it is to remove someone for a whole day.
Flexibility of Learning Styles
Everybody has a preferred learning style. Some would rather plod through some online information at their own pace, taking everything in and consolidating their learning as they go. E-learning courses are excellent for this. Others like to interact with others, or be led through course content by a facilitator. This is also available online thanks to virtual classes.
As a result, virtual learning education is able to cover a range of learning styles that appeals to more people. If you’re the type of person who likes to think about everything and take it all in at your own pace, classroom learning doesn’t particularly cater for you, but online learning does.
People are Embracing New Technology
Another reason virtual learning is trending throughout the world is the development of new technology. As the digital world evolves, people want to take advantage and find efficiencies wherever possible. Businesses in particular, when they have dynamic leadership, are always looking to embrace the newest technology and find out what it can do for them.
Virtual learning is part of this, and that’s why many companies now prefer the online method over classroom-based training. With new technologies come new opportunities, and this certainly helps the uptake of virtual learning. It’s important to remember though, that not everyone is so quick to adapt to new technology. So, if you’re getting your staff involved in virtual learning, some may need a little more support than others.
Online Learning is Great for Remote Workers
Remote working was starting to become more prevalent even before Covid-19. But since the pandemic, we’ve seen a huge rise in people working from home for safety reasons. It’s a difficult situation to work through, as many businesses are only just coming to terms with remote working as a concept. So, adding virtual learning into the equation can be daunting.
However, it’s important for staff to still receive training and development opportunities even if they’re working remotely. In staff engagement surveys all over the world, training and development is always a focus for employees. So, if you’ve got staff working remotely, don’t forget about their development needs. Virtual learning gives you a platform to make it easy, convenient and practical no matter where your people are working.
People Want More Variety in Training
As mentioned before, employees actually crave learning and development opportunities. Where the process goes wrong is when staff are sent to a bunch of courses that aren’t really relevant to their jobs or careers. Planning training for staff should be collaborative because it needs to benefit both the business and employee.
Virtual learning offers a greater variety in content, and that’s appealing to a lot of people. For example, you may have a staff member working in an admin role they’re a whiz at Microsoft Excel. It doesn’t make sense to send them to Excel training just because the rest of their team needs it. That person may have an interest in project management, so that’s the training you should be offering. Virtual learning makes it easy to deliver the right training outcomes to the right people.
Virtual Learning is More Eco-Friendly
While it may not be your main consideration when organising training for staff, sustainability is worth thinking about. Forward-thinking businesses are trying to consider eco-friendly, sustainable options for everything they do, so why not training?
If you think about the standard classroom-based training course, how many paper handouts do you see? Hundreds of pages per course, usually. This is a thing of the past in the virtual learning environment. Course content is delivered digitally, with no printing required.
Also, consider the energy use. Rather than lighting a training room and possibly running several additional computers, staff can learn from their desks, where their computers are already on.
Virtual learning is certainly trending throughout the world, and now is the perfect time to start considering if it’s right for your business. You may have people working from home, and this could be a practice you continue even after Covid-19 restrictions are lifted. If that’s the case, you’ll need to consider new ways to deliver training and development opportunities to staff.
Virtual learning makes sense on so many levels, and businesses are now discovering the benefits. Cost efficiency, time efficiency and greater flexibility is something every business is searching for, so it’s little wonder that virtual learning has made such an impact in a relatively short amount of time. We’ve come a long way from the first e-learning packages, so the world is now seeing far more engaging, functional and useful training being delivered in a virtual environment.