Virtual training was already a widely used training and development tool even before the pandemic, with many organizations already using Zoom for virtual training. But that usage has ramped up significantly with many learning and development (L&D) experts predicting that use will continue long after safety concerns have subsided.
Stefan Chekanov, CEO of Brosix says: “I don’t expect that traveling for training will resume before summer, perhaps even later.”
He’s not alone in his thinking. Laura Baldwin, president of O’Reilly Media says: “In 2021, I don’t see physical events and non-essential company travel returning. And to be frank, I don’t see that happening within the next few years either as companies have experienced the productivity gains of remote work.”
Companies are finding that training using Zoom offers a number of benefits, chief among them the ability to save time and money. Learning online means there is no need for travel and less time out of the office. In addition, staff can take advantage of learning opportunities no matter where they are. This, of course, has become especially important during the pandemic as so many employees are working from their homes.
Virtual Training Takes a Variety of Forms
In the corporate training environment, no two training offerings are the same. In fact, even within the same offering, variations may be necessary to address different learning preferences as well as access to technology and a range of work settings. Those settings now, of course, are more frequently in-home.
Virtual training with tools like Zoom allows L&D professionals to meet a wide range of trainee and content delivery needs. Zoom virtual training can be offered live, or synchronous, in a traditional way. Recorded for access later, in an asynchronous model. Delivered in small doses during meetings, and through impromptu coaching interactions between managers and employees—or employees and their colleagues.
Virtual Training Using Zoom
LinkedIn’s 2020 Workplace Learning Report was already showing a potential increase in online virtual learning, even before it became clear that changes driven by concerns over the spread of the virus would continue to be an issue. In this fourth annual survey, responses were received by more than 6600 professionals across 18 countries. Some interesting highlights from the report include:
- For the third year in a row, more than a third of L&D professionals indicated that they expected to increase their training budgets
- 57% of respondents expected to spend more on online learning in 2020
But even though virtual training has become the predominant mode of training these days, with so much variation around the country and between industries in terms of whether employees are on- or offsite, a hybrid workplace model is becoming common.
Growing Interest in a Hybrid Workplace Training Model
Hybrid learning, also being used in educational settings, combines elements of in-person and online interactions in both synchronous and asynchronous settings. It’s a flexible model that can be especially useful in organizations that have a wide range of training needs, employee segments and settings.
“Even before the pandemic, being away at a conference for a week was becoming untenable,” says Baldwin. “Rather than having to step away to learn, learning can be done from anywhere at any time – even while in the midst of a work project.” That’s the benefit that a hybrid workplace model can provide to companies of all types and all sizes.
But, as organizations find themselves using Zoom for virtual training more and more frequently, many are also finding themselves dealing with “Zoom fatigue”—a weariness with what can seem like a never-ending relationship with a computer monitor.
When using Zoom for virtual training, though, and especially when incorporating a hybrid workplace model, L&D pros can help to minimize Zoom fatigue by taking full advantage of features that allow for flexibility—and even fun.
Rehumanizing Training Online: Zoom Features for Training
Robert O’Toole, a senior academic technologist and philosophy graduate at the University of Warwick wrote an essay on the Zoom experience that we covered in a past blog post. He acknowledges the potential for “Zoom and gloom” but emphasizes opportunities to humanize the technology experience.
Class builds on the already popular functionality of Zoom to add features that allow trainers and educators to vary the learning experience to avoid Zoom fatigue and build engagement.
Now, instead of being tied to the traditional “faces in boxes” format of most Zoom interactions, organizations can mix things up in a variety of ways through:
- Online polling. Polling can be used to assess employee sentiment around specific topics, do temperature checks to get feedback on the training itself, or as an icebreaker or fun break during a serious session.
- Breakout rooms for team interactions. Training using Zoom doesn’t have to, and shouldn’t, take a traditional “sage on the stage” approach. Training sessions can be broken up online just as they can in-person with breakout sessions where attendees can easily interact with each other and then come back to share what they’ve discussed.
- Screen-sharing. Both trainers and attendees can share their screens during training sessions—whether sharing documents, spreadsheets, images, videos or websites. It’s easy to share this functionality across all participants.
- The ability to show videos. Video can both help to break up a training session and provide variety as well as offer a more visual way to share information.
- Whiteboard functionality. During a training session, presenters may use the whiteboard to share their thoughts or illustrate concepts in real-time. Attendees can also use the whiteboard functionality in the same way.
- Presenter mode. Instead of appearing in a Zoom “box,” trainers can use the presenter mode to put themselves in front of the material they’re presenting in much the same way they would appear in a traditional training setting.
- And much more!
Zoom fatigue is real; Class can help minimize fatigue during virtual training with a wide range of functionality that both presenters and learners can take advantage of to make the virtual training experience seem real.