Posted On October 29, 2014

finger hitting enter on keyboard

There’s a so-called “truism” that a product or service can give consumers any two of three main attributes — quality, service (or convenience) and low price — but not all three.

It’s a trade-off. Horses for courses, and you get what you pay for.

In learning lingo, in many instances the best-quality learning is face-to-face because of the interactive, personal attention, both verbal and non-verbal, the learner receives from their expert trainer.

However, for some organisations the intrinsic value of face-to-face learning can be diminished by the inconvenience of the learner being away from the workplace, time pressures and, in some cases, incurring travel and lodging costs.

Elearning, on the other hand, is proven effective in a great many learning situations, and volumes have been written about large numbers of learners being reached cost effectively and being allowed to learn anytime, anywhere and at their own pace.

For instance, if they need to watch a webinar or video a second or third time, or think about a question for a while, learners can easily do so and on a range of popular internet-enabled devices. There’s also lots of evidence showing eLearning can even be more effective than face-to-face, such as in complex scenarios and role playing-based interventions.

But again, the convenience and effectiveness of eLearning can come with its own expense. While superb for “tick-the-box” training, hard skills reinforcement and many other interventions, the fact is that technology cannot yet deliver the immediacy and up-close-and-personal attention you get from a personal trainer.

(That said, from what we’ve seen of advances in simulations, robotics and artificial intelligence-enabled telemarketing systems, which can fool practically anyone into believing they’re speaking to a flesh-and-blood human, I’ve no doubt technology is catching up fast even as I type this.)

OK, so every method of learning delivery — classroom, eLearning or blend of the two — has its place and no one size fits all. So can any delivery method offer:

(1) quality in-depth learning,

(2) flexibility and convenience, and

(3) low price?

Yes. All three can be found in virtual training, delivered in a live online environment where the instructor and learner are in separate locations.

Spurred on by incredible improvements in bandwidth, hardware and collaboration software, virtual training is one of the fastest growing methods of internet-based learning delivery.

Essentially, it emulates the best traditional classroom learning experience — learners can watch, practice and ask questions of an experienced facilitator, unlike a webinar or video, in a highly productive learning environment.

They also benefit from sharing experiences with, and learning from, other participants who may be facing similar workplace challenges, just like in a classroom environment.

But by virtue of its online, simultaneous nature, they can also learn from anywhere. All learners need is a computer, internet connection and headphones with a microphone.

The result is a solution that suits today’s working and learning style, perfect for reaching dispersed, time-poor learners in a truly engaging, personal manner.

Cost? Sessions are only $90 per person for 90 minutes of live, interactive facilitated online training.

And because the latest virtual course offerings are skills focused, designed to improve (or refresh) participants’ productive use of Microsoft Excel, payback is fast.

The combination of short, punchy duration and focus on a specific skill, such as creating and using formulas in Excel spreadsheets, also helps avoid the dreaded “cognitive overload” – that point in many learning interventions when learners’ minds have absorbed all they will absorb at that point in time.

Virtual training is perhaps the closest method yet of delivering what learners precisely need when they need it, and without lots of subject matter they don’t need.

So, when it comes to quality, convenience and low price in learning new skills, two out of three ain’t bad — but now it’s possible to have it all.

Why not try it? Browse our suite of virtual training courses today!