What Type Of Platform Do You Need?
You may think you are ready to choose a virtual training solution, but have you decided on the platform yet? Although they share some similarities and are sometimes viewed as interchangeable, there are big differences between presentation platforms, online meeting platforms, and online training platforms.
Presentation platforms have grown more popular with the rising interest in webcasts. While they may be helpful for broadcast-oriented communications, presentation platforms are limited by the fact that they share information in a one-way format, with little interaction.
Virtual meeting platforms are designed for business colleagues that may be globally dispersed to gather in a virtual environment and communicate with each other. They provide opportunities for workers to collaborate, brainstorm, and create action items. Most offer basic videoconferencing, the ability to screen share slides or documents, and some social interaction components such as chat.
Virtual training platforms are designed specifically with learning in mind. In addition to all the standard meeting platform features mentioned above, the best ones offer features that encourage interactivity and provide options for assessment. Training platforms often include shared whiteboards, small group breakout rooms, polling, and other interactive options that can help facilitators drive deep learning. Timely analytics and metrics allow enterprise leaders to evaluate the success of their training endeavors.
It is imperative that organizations understand and recognize the role of the right technology platform in delivering effective, uncompromized virtual training. Specialized platforms are equipped with niche capabilities that can help drive the business value of enterprise learning, unlike meeting tools primarily geared towards optimizing cost. Organizations should consider investing in separate, dedicated platforms for presentations, meetings, and trainings to maximize the business value of each medium to its fullest.
Ponder The Following
What are your priorities? Do you want to hold online meetings? Present webcasts? Facilitate interactive training?
What do you need participants to do? And which platform features will be key to accomplishing the goals? Do you need whiteboards? Breakouts rooms? Quizzes?
What level of flexibility and control do you need as an instructor? Flexibility and customizability are key in allowing instructors to make the tool fit their style of instruction, and not vice-versa.
What is your infrastructure like? Consider compatibility with your existing ecosystems, such as the LMS and social media platforms
Key Factors To Consider When Choosing A Virtual Training Solution
To deliver effective and impactful virtual training, one must begin with the platform. Most virtual training platforms offer the same basic feature/functionality options, such as screen sharing, chat, polls, whiteboards, etc. Learning leaders tasked with the responsibility to select a virtual solution for their organizations may want to consider the following factors:
Will your training be primarily presentation-oriented, or are you seeking more interactive experiences that encourage participants to chat, work in small groups, or annotate parts of presentations they find compelling? Features such as audio, video, chat, file sharing, live sharing, and breakout options help build audience engagement. The best platforms have many options for interacting and allowing participants to share in the learning experience, as opposed to just sitting back and remaining muted.
Your choice must seamlessly integrate with other solutions already in existence at the enterprise-level. How readily will the virtual training solution integrate with your learning management system? What tools do participants already have access to and feel comfortable about using? Consider the unique infrastructure of your organization. Who will be supporting the deployment and ongoing production needs, and do they have the bandwidth to answer questions and troubleshoot? There are more production considerations for virtual classroom delivery than there are for traditional face-to-face delivery.
Think about the tech infrastructure and capability of the organization. How tech savvy are the facilitators and participants? What kind of equipment (computers or mobile devices) will they be using to enter virtual classrooms? Do they have the proper training and support to leverage the technology?
Alignment With Organizational Needs
The virtual training solution needs to effectively support interactions that will achieve desired learning outcomes and goals. These differ, depending on the company. As one industry expert explains, “There’s no one-size-fits-all answer. I often use the analogy of choosing a car. Someone living in a wintry climate might look for a 4-wheel drive vehicle, while someone who has year-round sunshine wants a two-seater convertible. Each one is the ‘right’ solution for the situation.”
Examine your organization’s needs for online learning. Do you need to have small group interactions, including practices, role plays, and group brainstorming? Then choose a platform that has breakout rooms. Do your remote learners regularly use tablets? Then choose a platform that has a mobile app. Do you have many facilitators who teach the same topics and need consistency? Then choose a platform that has reusable templates. And so on.
Ease Of Use
How much of a learning curve is anticipated for those that will be using the solution? All participants need to be able to log in and get to work without requiring a troubleshooting team. You want to avoid frustration at the onset and choose a virtual training solution that is intuitive for both trainers and participants to access.
The many benefits of virtual training can have a positive impact on your organization. Download the eBook Top Considerations When Choosing Αn Enterprise Learning Solution and learn how to choose the option that is best for you.