Top Five Practices to Look for in a Virtual-Training Provider
Organizations are always looking to trim budgets for expenses they deem unnecessary. These days, unfortunately, that often includes travel to instructor-led training events, which can limit employees’ training opportunities. (And if you’re not in a major city, this alone often limits your options for training overall).
The rise of on-demand training options meets some of that need, but nothing can quite replicate the effectiveness of having two-way conversations with a live instructor, which is why live virtual training has grown in popularity. With many virtual-training options to choose from, here are some of the best practices to look for in a virtual-training provider:
5. Vendor-Authorized IT Training
When possible, it’s usually best to go with training provided by the vendor who created the technology you’re using. Often, the vendor will deliver some training directly, but this is rarely their core competency as their focus is on developing new innovations and enhancing their products. Instead, utilizing a company whose core focus is only on delivering training will give you the best experience. However, gray-market training varies greatly in how up to date and accurate it is, so look for virtual-training companies that are authorized training partners of the vendor.
4. Convenient Support Team
One common frustration in attending a virtual class is when valuable class time is spent troubleshooting connectivity issues. Look for a virtual-training provider that has a dedicated team who works with students ahead of time to test and ensure proper connectivity. And when class begins, the support team should be there to handle any technical problems and ensure all students have their course and lab materials. These problems should be dealt with separately from the instructor, who is free to begin their introductions. Additionally, the support team should provide email and toll-free phone support throughout the class. From the beginning, virtual-training providers should ensure every student can access the class properly, without disrupting other students’ learning or taking up the instructor’s time.
3. Two-Way Audio and Video
When live virtual training first appeared, it was largely just audio from an instructor, who may also share slides through technologies like WebEx. But over the years, as internet connections became more robust, the introduction of video changed the virtual-training game. Being able to see both the instructor and their screen simultaneously kept students more engaged.
Today, best-of-breed virtual training goes even further and encourages full two-way audio and video, where the instructor can also see and hear their students. This helps them to sense the level of engagement, better determine when it may be time for a break and see when students appear confused. The interactivity component brings a human aspect to the screen, helping students feel more engaged and less distracted.
The best way to ensure every student has a smooth two-way audio and video experience is to partner with a virtual-training provider that offers the option to send each student a high-quality headset and webcam before class. This helps prepare students for success on their first day of interactive learning.
2. Best-of-Breed Tools
There is a whole host of video-conferencing options on the market that allow two-way audio and video communication, as well as other common options like chat. Look for a virtual-training provider that uses one of these high-quality tools — like Zoom, which offers features such as polls and break-out rooms to help instructors keep students actively engaged.
1. Ample Experience
Practice makes perfect. Look for a training provider who has years — better yet, decades — of experience in delivering vendor-authorized virtual training for dozens of different technologies. This type of virtual-training provider employs experienced instructors who are used to utilizing their virtual platform so will be well-versed in the unique challenges of keeping remote students engaged. And engagement is the key to success in virtual training.