I tried to avoid the subject as long as I could, hoping that the idea would just fade away, but no such luck. The date and time were set in our diaries. There was no escaping now. I was committed to attending a one-hour virtual training session with some guru virtual trainer.
In spite of doing all I could to have an off-site appointment that morning, fate would have no one want to meet me for coffee. Finally the time had come. I had to bite the bullet and attend.
Look, let’s face it – I had been a trainer since I was in nappies. I can train face to face under water, with my hands tied behind my back. I can tell jokes, make people laugh, make them cry, bring seriousness, use voice inflections, wave my size 13 hands around like a conductor to still the masses. So when you try to tell me, “This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm!” Ha, not likely.
I was depressed with the thought of going online to listen to some dumb virtual trainer for an hour. What could they teach me anyhow? My brain was working overtime and I had a thought, “Well if I have to be online, I will act like I’m there but really be on my other screen and be checking emails etc., they will never know.” (I have since found out that they do know when I am doing this)
Feeling a little more optimistic about the next hour I finally logged on. (Was I supposed to have tested my computer before now??). The session started with a screen I had never seen before and I felt awkward not knowing how to write, chat, type. My competitive juices started to flow a little and not wanting to appear as a complete virtual fool, I thought I better listen for a little while and learn.
Firstly the facilitator had us draw on a map what city we were in, then we had to type the temperature, next we chatting to each other, using the microphone to join a discussion. I hate to say it but I was starting to warm to this, some may think I was enjoying myself. I was chatting away, drawing, making animations – smiling, having coffee breaks, and raising my hand up and then putting it down. We watched a video, did a poll and I thought, “Im pretty good at all this.” Maybe I can crack a joke in the chat room – and then, just like that the 60 minutes had finished.
It was so engaging, entertaining, and interactive that two things happened to me: I actually learned a lot while having fun and I really connected with all the people including the facilitator and felt invigorated. Oh and one last thing happened – I saw the future of learning, it was virtual training. This is the next big thing! Virtual training is going to take the world by storm! How boring is virtual training? I didn’t have time to notice.
So how much of an organisation’s training budget is spent on the development of eLearning? Recent IBIS research shows that $26 billion is spent globally on eLearning or 13% of all training expenditure. Why are so many organisations continuing to invest in eLearning modules if it is not the most effective way to train their people? The same CIPD study also found that only 31% of organisations reported that most employees completed an eLearning course. Immediately the true cost of that “cost-effective” eLearning module exploded. How can the ROI be justified to any CEO or CFO?
Before I continue, I want to articulate my definition of eLearning. Over the years, I have found this word to mean many things to different people. My definition is:
“eLearning is electronic learning, in which the learner uses a computer to learn a task, skill, or process.
eLearning is asynchronous – this means the training occurs remotely, where learners partake in a course according to their own time frame or schedule as it fits into their work commitments. An example of this method would be self-study, self-paced classes, conducted and studied online or with the use of a computer-based training CD or DVD.”
eLearning has been available for about 20 years. During this time organisations found eLearning offered several benefits including reduced overall cost in comparison to face-to-face training, proof of learner completion/certification and consistent delivery. Organisations immediately saw eLearning as a great way to meet their corporate compliance obligations.
However the last measure of success of an eLearning module must be in the uptake or the engagement of the module by the workforce and more importantly its effectiveness at improving performance. With only 31% of organisations reporting that employees completed an eLearning course, the numbers tell us engagement with this type of training is low.
In terms of effectiveness, let’s look further at the numbers.
Traditionally eLearning has ranked highly for compliance training. As an example, companies saw a quick eLearning module as the silver bullet to reduce workplace issues related to bullying and harassment. With the passing of time and with so many employees completing their mandatory eLearning module, we would then expect the claims related to bullying and harassment to decline, correct? Interestingly around the globe, claims have sky rocketed! In Australia, claims of bullying and harassment have blown out dramatically. In the UK, bullying in the public sector has increased, with 6 out of 10 public sector workers being bullied. Do you hear more warning bells ringing??
As educators, we know people learn in different ways. We know that active learners tend to retain and understand information best by doing something active with it – discussing or applying it or explaining it to others. Reflective learners prefer to think about it quietly first.
If face-to-face training is expensive and time-consuming and eLearning is not showing to be effective at the behavioural level, there has to be a better way. It is now time to see how improvements in technology and Web 2.0 can be capitalised upon.
Enter the New World of Virtual Training
Improvements in technology and the Internet have opened up new ways for organisations to reap huge benefits.
We can all now access the new world of online, synchronous* training where specially designed training programs are delivered over the web by a live trainer. This new method is called Virtual Training.
Bersin by Deloitte defines the virtual classroom as “a tool for delivering live online learning. It is often called “synchronous learning.” The interface mimics the face-to-face classroom in many ways with a roster, hand-raising icon and an instructor leading the group. The primary difference between the face-to-face classroom training and virtual classroom training is that the latter is used to deliver content live, over the Internet to people who are geographically dispersed.”
Imagine your teams, partners or channel simply logging into a training session from the comfort of their home or office. They can meet online with others in a group, are asked questions, broken up into virtual rooms to prepare presentations or case studies, answer quizzes and watch videos all whilst being guided by a live trainer.
Virtual training sessions are designed by experts in virtual instructional design so everybody’s learning style can be catered for. Instantly feedback can be captured and an assessment can be made on the efficacy of the session. Immediately your ROI has improved.
Responding to a Culture of Speed
Senior leadership teams are now constantly focusing on the need for speed in new market entry, time-to-market, cycle-time reduction, and competitive advantage.
With virtual training you can deliver effective training live without spending a dollar on travel, venue hire, printing or catering.
The possibilities are endless. Here are a few:
Drive product adoption by offering your customers easy access to web-based training
Educate your channel partners and field reps regularly, so they always have current information
Train global employees to advance their skills, or push revenue-generating initiatives to market faster
Imagine the revenue opportunities that you could capitalise on by embracing virtual training. Improve the skills of your people with live, online training delivered without the high costs associated with face-to-face training.
The Learning Factor is changing the way leading organisations maintain and upgrade their skill base. In fact, we’ve turned the whole idea of training on its head.
The old one-way style teaching is a relic. Instead, the Learning Factor connects your employees, channel partners and customers with the information and ideas they need to be successful. Our results come from making information available when, where and how people will get the most from it. The potential within your organisation is huge and we’re here to help you develop it.
We have expertise positioned across the fast growth region in the world, Asia Pacific. If your organisation is growing and you need your people to grow with you, check out our training solutions or drop us a line.
Our people help make your people smarter
Our teams are made up of some extremely smart cookies who really love what they do. TLF teams have worked with businesses of almost every size across Asia Pacific and they know the best ways to connect people with information and ideas. That’s the principle at the heart of what we do: we connect people, information and ideas and let human potential for greatness take over.
The Learning Factor’s head office is in Sydney, Australia – the gateway to the fastest-growing region in the world. We work on a global scale and, of course, with our local teams we’re able to work seamlessly across time zones; in fact, this is what we love.
Your people have the potential. Use it.
Build a road map that takes you to where you need to be
Teaching and learning will help your organisation thrive but everyone’s working at different levels. New staff are still trying to find the coffee machine, old hands are mentoring your brightest talent and everyone is trying to exceed the goals they’ve been set.
The Learning Factor model has been designed to cover the entire learning life cycle so no one slips through the cracks. As network orchestrators, we know what needs to be done to reach your goals and we can get it done. Regardless of whether you’re starting from scratch or you’re looking to go the extra mile to excellence, The Learning Factor will take you to where you need to be.
We are able to audit your workforce. Our diagnostics can give you a clear picture of where you are right now and help us put together exactly the right training programs to meet your corporate goals. This is your road map to success.
We Design customised training programs that complement our existing library of training courses.
We Train using world-class training facilitators, positioned across Asia Pacific.
We Administer every detail of your training programs, leaving you with more resources to focus on the more important parts of your business.
We Consolidate your suppliers and vendors, cutting out expensive crossovers and duplication across your organisation.
We also measure, analyse and report to make sure your training meets your strategic objectives and tactical goals. That is where training becomes real.
The Learning Factor has your entire learning process covered; whatever stage your organisation is at now, whatever training support you need in the future.
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Head Office: Level 25, 88 Phillip Street, Sydney NSW 2000 Australia