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October 2018: Virtual Training – The End of the Beginning
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Virtual Training - The End of the Beginning


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Virtual Training – The End of the Beginning

With nearly every industry facing the consequences of disruptive players, it’s no wonder the corporate training industry is not immune. In fact, those charged with oversight of leadership development have long had to think outside-the-box and bring “disruptive” thinking to the table just to survive. Now, a new frontier has opened as a result of recent technological advances: large-scale virtual seminars.

Gone are the days of mandating participants meet in person for a three-day training and development session – which quickly balloons to a full week once travel is factored in. ROI calculations can look a whole lot healthier when the sales team doesn’t have to be pulled from the field or the high potential managers don’t have to leave their posts for travel days before and after an event. Take out the travel and accommodation costs and the numbers look even more impressive. Many companies are now mandating “no travel” training polices – if you can’t get local training and development, you can’t get trained.

For these situations, training from anywhere, available anytime, on any device, is available and…it works.

Another industry disrupted? Perhaps. But the role of facilitator or corporate trainer is still vital in a virtual seminar. The role of team members providing collaborative opportunities, important feedback and communication, and healthy competition still thrives even if those teammates aren’t physically rubbing elbows.

Virtual training doesn’t necessarily mean “on-your-own” without guidance, support, or feedback. It means participating in a virtual classroom from your home office or kitchen table. It still includes working with your teammates to review strategy and make critical decisions, then coming together as a larger group for a full debrief. It can be very much like an in-person experience without the headaches and costs of travel.

Today’s online video meeting or conferencing systems and chat rooms allow for any number of participants from anywhere in the world to participate together, then be separated into virtual, small-group workrooms, and come back together for full class sessions. A facilitator can drop in on a team’s room and offer advice just as he/she would in a traditional classroom setting. Like any chat room, there are mechanisms for participants to ask questions privately or before the full group.
If your training budget is being squeezed due to travel costs, or your participants don’t want to waste travel days needed to be physically in the same room, consider how virtual training sessions might meet your needs.

Our own company – IndustryMasters – is using this approach to great effect now: we build business simulations for executive and leadership training programs. Where necessary, we organize in-person, face-to-face seminars in the traditional format, using expert trainers and facilitators who coach, teach, explain – and do all the things that trainers have always done. In person. Because some events have objectives that require face-to-face discussion.

We use an advanced, proprietary technology, which can deliver business simulations via the internet to any location on the planet, 24/7, and for any size audience – from a few users to many thousands. We are now running multiple, online, virtual webinars, for business teams across countries, across departments, across functions, and across cultures. We use video conferencing and meeting plans such as GoToMeeting, Skype for Business, and Zoom to create effective virtual seminars. These systems allow us to facilitate our business simulation events as if we were on location in a traditional seminar. We REALLY love this approach – and it means less travel days for our teams, as well.
We think this may be the future of training and executive learning – a combination of advanced video conferencing tied to an expert business simulation event that engages, motivates, and excites. At a much lower cost in terms of money, time, and travel “wear and tear” on your teams.

So, the “End of the Beginning.” We eagerly await the next technology wave that disrupts our business environment. As it surely will.

What is YOUR digital learning outlook? How is your training and development plan being disrupted?

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