Already popular, remote work is now at an all-time high thanks to COVID-19. This trend, coupled with the fact that many large industries have employees spread all across the globe, means that virtual training is the wave of the present and will keep surging into the future. Most companies have caught the vision and are finding clever new ways to manage their business and their workforce from a distance.
One of the areas affected by this “new normal” is employee education and training. Gone (or at least scarce) are the days of large, in-person conferences and seminars. Instead, employers have two primary training options: 1) On-demand learning and 2) virtual classes. On-demand learning refers to offerings such as webinars and video tutorials. These choices have little to no real-time interaction, and employees access them on their own time and in their own space. Virtual classes, on the other hand, are highly interactive, social learning experiences that take place in a virtual classroom in real time.
Both options are examples of virtual learning, but virtual classes provide better learning options in the following ways.
They are Socially Collaborative
Psychologist Albert Bandura theorized that learning is a cognitive process which takes place in a social context and happens only through observation or direct instruction. On-demand learning does not provide that social context, and many learners miss the interaction with their colleagues. Virtual classes allow coworkers to gather and mingle inasmuch as possible given the venue, and such social learning breeds friendship, teamwork, and trust.
They are Interactive and Engaging
Left to their own devices, many learners struggle to focus, especially if they have home or office distractions going on at the same time as a video or recorded webinar. It’s easier to tune out when you have nobody to talk to and nothing with which to interact. Virtual classes are far more interactive and engaging.
They Foster Accountability
Virtual, live classes require learners to dedicate their time solely to the training opportunity, instead of squeezing it in among other job responsibilities and completing it in fits and starts. Some learners tend to procrastinate on-demand offerings; after all, nobody else holds them accountable for taking a course or paying attention while they do. They are invisible attendees, whereas in the classroom setting they’re present and accounted for.
They Provide a Real-World Environment
The success of some trainings depends on real-world, tangible results. Instructors may need immediate feedback, or the subject matter may require step-by-step, monitored direction with visible outcomes. Any training that requires hands-on practice and immediate assessment must be performed in a live, virtual classroom environment. This setting also gives instructors/ facilitators the flexibility to observe the learners, respond to questions, and adapt the content accordingly.
They Accommodate Different Learning Styles
Millennials learn differently than Baby Boomers, who learn differently than Gen Xers, etc. By the same token, some people are highly visual learners, others are more auditory, and still others require hands-on instruction. Due to their less interactive nature and therefore their inability to improvise or change tactics, on-demand classes are not as accommodating to different learning styles as virtual classes are. Jigsaw Interactive’s adaptive learning environment gives companies the means to provide real world, real time virtual employee training that makes the most of everything remote teaching and learning has to offer.