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Virtual Corporate Training: Embracing the Advantages and Navigating the Challenges

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Corporate education or corporate training refers to the process of teaching employees new skills or strengthening existing ones to improve job performance and prepare them for future roles within the company. This education can be taken simultaneously or at different times, depending on the employee's job requirements and individual learning goals. The goal of corporate education is to equip employees with the necessary skills and knowledge to perform their jobs effectively, leading to increased productivity and improved overall performance of the organization.

The COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted the delivery of corporate education, with virtual experiences becoming the norm for many organizations. New hires and employees had no choice but to learn online, and the whole onboarding process was conducted using online tools and platforms. This shift to virtual learning has opened up new possibilities for companies, as it provides greater flexibility and accessibility to training programs while reducing costs associated with travel and in-person training, through for instance video calls and meetings. However, certain jobs like medical training require hands-on training and cannot be taught in a virtual environment. Corporate education is an essential component of employee development, especially during these unprecedented times, helping to improve job performance, driving organizational success and representing an excellent way to boost employee morale.

Advantages of Virtual Education

Online trainings offer the advantage of flexibility, allowing learners to access course materials and complete assignments at their own pace and on their own schedule. They are often more cost-effective than traditional in-person trainings, as they eliminate the need for travel, accommodations, and other expenses associated with attending in-person sessions. It eases out the management logistics.

Cost-Effective Methods

One of the most significant benefits of online corporate training is that it is cost-effective. As Brandon Busteed notes in his Forbes article, "The expense and time of bringing together groups of employees for in-person training is exorbitant in comparison to high-quality online versions." By using online training programs, companies can save money on travel expenses, room rentals, and other logistical costs associated with in-person training. Moreover, online training removes the logistical pain points of in-person training, making it more accessible and flexible for employees who may be working remotely or have other scheduling constraints. In addition, online training programs can be easily updated and scaled to meet the needs of a growing workforce, ensuring that all employees have access to the latest skills and knowledge they need to excel in their roles. Overall, the cost-effectiveness and flexibility of online corporate training make it an increasingly attractive option for companies looking to improve the skills and performance of their employees.

Remote Worker Assisting To A Virtual Training

Scalability and Geographical Flexibility

Scalability and geographical flexibility are two essential factors that enable organizations to provide employee training on a large scale while catering to the needs of a globally distributed workforce. This is also why various companies decide to organize events and team-building activities remotely. By leveraging these advantages, businesses can efficiently train both new and current employees who require re-skilling, regardless of their location. With the rise of international teams, online training solutions have made it easier for businesses to provide accessible training to everyone, through live remote sessions, without the need for extensive travel, avoiding the risk of jet lags and unforeseen circumstances. In today's uncertain times, such as during a pandemic or flight strikes, online training eliminates the risk of training disruptions, allowing businesses to continue to upskill their workforce with minimal interruption. Ultimately, scalability and geographical flexibility offer organizations an opportunity to create a highly skilled and competent workforce, which is critical in a constantly evolving business landscape.

Employees Exchanging Their Thoughts During A Virtual Meeting

Flexible Schedule

Another significant advantage of online training is the flexibility it offers to individuals in terms of scheduling. With online training, people can choose to learn synchronously or asynchronously, allowing them to complete the training at their own pace and allowing employees to 'design' their own schedule. Moreover, putting a deadline for training ensures that participants are accountable and committed to completing the course within a set timeframe. Online training platforms also allow for customization of content, enabling learners to focus on specific areas of interest or areas where they need improvement. One of the key benefits of online training is the ability to gather and analyze data on participants' learning and responses. This objective data can be used to improve future training sessions, making them more effective and relevant. For example, by tracking participant progress and quiz scores, trainers can identify areas where learners are struggling and provide additional support to improve their understanding. Online training's flexibility and data-driven approach make it an effective tool for organizations looking to upskill their workforce and promote continuous learning.

Hybrid Solution is needed though: Necessity to bring people together

Nonetheless, online trainings can lack the face-to-face interaction and personal connections that learners may find beneficial in traditional in-person trainings. Technical difficulties and lack of access to reliable technology or internet can present challenges for learners participating in online trainings. Also, online trainings may not be suitable for all types of learners, particularly those who benefit from hands-on, experientia and more interactivel learning. Some specific features for remote learning might be needed. A hybrid solution, incorporating both online and in-person elements, may be a better fit for some learners.

Team-Building Activity: Bonfire

Disadvantages of Online Learning

Despite its growing popularity, online learning has been found to have some drawbacks, as suggested by research studies. For instance, the 2022 Report on the State of Learning in the Flow of Work conducted by 360Learning surveyed 500 UK employees, revealing that although 70 percent of Learning and Development teams offered online learning, it was regarded as a non-effective way of learning by staff themselves. Less than a third of the people mentioned it as their preferred training method. There are several reasons why online learning may not be preferred by some individuals.

Firstly, social learning is missing, as there is limited opportunity to form relationships with co-workers or peers who are also taking the same course. This eliminates the chance to network and exchange ideas with others, ask questions and receive feedback, which can be a valuable part of the learning experience. Secondly, online training sessions can be lengthy, and it can be challenging to maintain concentration alone. Additionally, the chosen location for online training may not always be conducive to learning, such as at home or in crowded cafes. Finally, asynchronous learning modules can be difficult to self-discipline oneself to follow, as learners must manage their own time and motivation to complete the course. While these challenges may exist, the benefits of online learning, such as flexibility, accessibility, and cost-effectiveness, cannot be overlooked, and it can still be a valuable tool for professional development.

A Hybrid and Balanced Solution: Online and In-Person Trainings

While it is true that face-to-face training requires meticulous planning and scheduling, such as booking a conference space that is easily accessible to everyone, organizing catering, ensuring a good internet connection, and arranging transportation such as flights and transfers to and from the airport, it has its advantages. These are the main points you question yourself on before organizing a team event. For instance, face-to-face training offers better opportunities for relationship development, which can be a crucial aspect of the learning experience. Additionally, employees tend to be more focused, perform better, and exhibit higher levels of engagement when meeting in person. Group dynamics can be beneficial in enhancing creativity and motivation to learn, with participants feeling more inclined to participate actively and ask questions. Lastly, face-to-face training provides an added advantage of extra assistance in person, enabling learners to get real-time feedback and support from trainers or facilitators.

Team During A Corporate Retreat In Nature

In conclusion, both online learning and face-to-face training have their advantages and disadvantages, and there is no one-size-fits-all approach to corporate training. Employers must recognize the importance of investing in their employees' development to increase retention rates and ensure their growth and success within the company. With the fast-paced business environment, it is crucial to upskill employees continually and provide opportunities for self-growth. Therefore, it is essential to offer a range of training methods, including online learning, to provide flexibility and accessibility while also incorporating face-to-face training to foster relationship development, focus, and engagement. Tools, such as budget estimators, can allow businesses to estimate the costs of a face-to-face event, such as corporate retreats. By combining these methods, organizations can create a well-rounded and effective training program that meets the needs of their employees and their business goals.

About the author
Assia Dalla Vedova
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Assia Dalla Vedova, a marketing maven with a rich background in tech, showcased her prowess at TeamOut (YC W22), enhancing brand presence and SEO strategy. An ESCP Business School alumna, she excels in crafting impactful digital marketing campaigns and fostering brand growth.

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