what-is-virtual-training

Boost Your Business with Virtual Training: Cost-Effective, Scalable, and Engaging

As video conferencing specialists, we witnessed first-hand the emergence of the hybrid workplace as companies look to reduce costs and increase productivity following the pandemic.

This increased demand in virtual collaboration solutions has resulted in a significant improvements in what can be achieved using such platforms, such as advances in video conferencing and virtual training solutions.

Most of us have used Teams, and Zoom for virtual and hybrid meetings, and most platforms feature some powerful video collaboration tools. Some of us may have used video conferencing for more than just video calls, such as receiving company policy or process updates, or even systems training.

But what about using a dedicated hybrid learning platform for complex training programs, or upskilling workforces on a national, or even global scale? Is it possible to deliver virtual training as effectively as it is in-person? Can virtual training offer benefits to businesses which exceed even that of traditional training methods?

The UK has the fastest growing AR (augmented reality) and VR (virtual reality) market in Europe with growth predicted to reach £62.5 billion by 2030. Being home to some of the world’s most creative and immersive technology companies, businesses in the UK are ideally positioned to take advantage of the pioneering virtual training experiences being offered.

In this article we explore the innovative world of virtual training, including ground-breaking innovations, business benefits and the best platforms available.

What is Virtual Training?

Virtual training is a method of delivering educational content remotely, using the internet to facilitate learning new skills or refreshing existing ones. It allows participants to attend from the comfort of their own location, be it their desk, home office, or even their sofa.

In today’s competitive landscape, industries such as pharma, healthcare and manufacturing require a highly skilled workforce that can adapt quickly. Traditional training methods can be expensive, disruptive, and struggle to keep up with the rapid pace of change. This is where virtual training shines.

oneroom-conference-room-online-training

What is the difference between online and virtual training?

Virtual training requires users to be online, yet the two terms have some key differences.

Online training is asynchronous, which means learning materials are pre-recorded and delivered through a web-based platform. Participants access pre-recorded lectures, video tutorials, or online modules at their own convenience, offering flexibility for busy schedules.

Virtual training, on the other hand, is synchronous, meaning live, interactive training sessions are conducted in real-time over a virtual platform. A virtual instructor leads the session, making it similar to a traditional classroom setting, but with the advantage of remote participation. 

If attendees are a mix of in-person and remote participants, this becomes a hybrid learning environment.

virtual-training-in-hybrid-workplace

What are the benefits of virtual training?

In previous article we discussed the benefits of video conferencing for both employers and employees and virtual training builds on this premise to take things one step further. Online platforms offer powerful collaboration tools for communication within a hybrid meeting environment, but some offer interactive learning possibilities which are exciting, to say the least. 

Before we delve into the specific benefits for particular industries, here are some of the overarching ways that virtual training can improve businesses who adopt it.

Cost Savings

Eliminate travel expenses, venue rentals, and instructor costs associated with traditional training programs.

Improved wellbeing

Some training programs can take months to complete which, with traditional learning methods, would require employees to be away from home for extended periods of time. Virtual training allows participants to learn remotely from the comfort of their own home, without disrupting family life.

Scalability

Train large teams of employees simultaneously, on-demand, without geographical limitations.

Improved Knowledge Retention

Interactive elements and gamified learning keep trainees engaged, leading to better information absorption and application.

Standardised Training

Ensure consistent training delivery across all locations with pre-recorded modules and virtual assessments.

Onboard New Hires Quickly

Streamline the onboarding process by delivering consistent, interactive training modules remotely, reducing time to productivity and minimising disruption to existing teams.

Upskill Existing Staff

Provide employees with opportunities to continuously learn and develop new skills through virtual courses, simulations, and workshops – all accessible on-demand, from any device.

Practice Critical Procedures in a Safe Environment

Utilise virtual reality (VR) to create realistic simulations of complex machinery operation, emergency response protocols, or even soft skills development, allowing employees to practice and perfect their skills in a safe, controlled virtual world.

virtual-training-vr-integration

Virtual Training Platform Advantages and Disadvantages

In its most basic form, virtual training requires an online video conferencing platform, most of which now include a suite of productivity-boosting collaboration tools, such as virtual whiteboards, content sharing and breakout rooms.

In this section we look at some of the platforms businesses can use to carry out virtual training, along with the advantages and disadvantages of each.

Zoom

The widespread adoption of Zoom for video conferencing during the Covid pandemic provides a familiar setting to provide virtual training sessions.

zoom-conference-camera

Advantages

With features including screen sharing, chat, virtual transcripts, online whiteboard and support for up to 1000 participants, Zoom is able to provide many of the features the corporate world needs when it comes to virtual training.

Disadvantages

Zoom is primarily designed for video conferencing, and engaging interactive elements such as breakout room discussions or real-time hands-on practice can be challenging. Zoom might not be ideal for highly specialised training requiring features like collaborative whiteboards or intricate simulations.

Microsoft Teams

Many businesses using MS Teams will look to use their existing platform to roll out virtual training programs. Recent developments such as MS Teams Front Row help to replicate real world meeting experiences which can enhance virtual learning experiences.

Microsoft-teams-front-row-example-room

Advantages

MS Teams is able to increase engagement with real-time collaboration features which encourage group interaction, such as file sharing and seamless integration with document, spreadsheet, and presentation creation software.

MS Teams Front Row emphasises the importance of putting attendees on an equal level, all visible on the screen all the time. This helps participants feel more valued which improves engagement and therefore productivity. Taking advantage of a 21:9 screen ratio, the gallery is moved to the foot of the screen, placing attendees at eye level, as they would be if they were in the same physical room.

This layout frees up space in the rest of the screen so that Fluid Components such as the agenda, tasks and notes are visible at the same time as images of the attendees.

Disadvantages

Teams primarily facilitates discussions and presentations, which can lead to a more passive learning experience compared to interactive activities.

While Teams allows file sharing and chat discussions, assessing trainee knowledge through built-in quizzes or assignments might be limited.

OneRoom

As a dedicated learning platform, OneRoom from X2O Media offers a range of innovative features which, at least for virtual training, elevates it above traditional video conferencing platforms.

oneroom-online-training

Advantages

OneRoom takes the concept of remote participation to a new level, as well as offering superior audio and visual performance compared with MS Teams and Zoom. 

This unique hybrid learning environment is strongly focused on maintaining a one-to-one connection, giving users a permanent place in the room, even when joining remotely. This is achieved through cameras on each screen which provide each attendee with a unique perspective, as if they were present in the classroom, allowing in-person and virtual learners to contribute equally.

Spatial audio enhances the experience further by simulating a 3D environment, mimicking natural sound direction making it easier to identify who’s speaking and follow conversations. It creates a more natural and engaging experience by replicating how we hear in real life. 

OneRoom also aims to solve some of the problems associated with online and classroom learning by integrating polls and quizzes into the platform so that engagement can be measured. 

For example, if employees are provided with a test to complete following a training session, the system can provide information on levels of participation. By highlighting if learners became distracted, such as clicking away from the test mid-way through, trainers can follow up with them to ensure the knowledge being imparted is retained.

Virtual breakout rooms allow interaction with the teacher in each room and powerful tools including interactive whiteboard and content sharing make it a truly collaborative experience for virtual and in-person attendees.

oneroom-hybrid-learning

Moreover, OneRoom can integrate with VR which opens up a whole new world of virtual training possibilities. Virtual simulations remove the risk of learning in a real-world scenario, as well as helping those training to ‘hit the ground running’. 

It provides an immersive training experience, allowing learners to interact with equipment and machinery in a safe, virtual environment. The applications of VR in the training landscape are exciting, to say the least, and are likely to be a major element of company or educational learning in the years to come.

A further advantage of OneRoom is its scalability, providing a straight forward way to roll our training programs on a nationwide or even global scale.

Disadvantages

When it comes to virtual training it’s hard to fault OneRoom due to the reasons outlined above. The initial outlay may seem like a drawback for some companies who are looking to utilise the systems they already have in place, particularly if they currently use Zoom or Teams. But when the investment is considered in relation to the costs of carrying out training on a large scale, using traditional methods, the savings soon begin to add up.

Which Industries Benefit From Virtual Training?

From learning experiences integrated with VR headsets, to interactive presentations using a combination of digital media, industries can leverage virtual training in a multitude of ways to create unique, immersive training environments. 

In doing so, they equip themselves with the ability to train huge numbers of employees quickly, but more importantly, effectively. A study by PWC showed that VR-trained employees were up to four times more focused during training than their e-learning peers and 1.5 times more focused than their classroom colleagues
 

Manufacturing

Manufacturers can utilise virtual training to enhance employee skills, improve safety, and streamline operations. Virtual training allows for familiarisation with controls and procedures plus maintenance operations, potential hazards and emergency scenarios can be simulated in a virtual environment without risk of damage or injury.  

For example, trainees can practice operating heavy or intricate machinery, or even program robots, in a safe, virtual environment before transitioning to the real world. 

As well as this, virtual training is ideal for learning and perfecting assembly processes step-by-step without even setting foot in the factory, minimising disruption to existing production lines and ensuring consistent quality from the start.

Video content can even be live-streamed to learners wearing VR headsets, providing an immersive environment for training to take place, boosting engagement.

virtual-training-with-vr-headset

Pharma and Healthcare

The pharmaceutical industry thrives on cutting-edge advancements and strict adherence to protocols. Virtual training offers unique advantages that traditional methods struggle to match. As well as this, the pharma industry is likely to have geographically dispersed teams but by adopting a virtual training ethos companies can eliminate these geographical barriers.

Virtual training enables faster onboarding and upskilling, which, for example, could expedite the development and launch of new drugs, giving your company a competitive edge.

Studies show virtual reality (VR) training in pharma can lead to 80% knowledge retention a year later, compared to 20% with traditional methods. This translates to a more competent workforce and potentially fewer errors.

Integrating VR with virtual training programs allows for safe and realistic simulations of complex procedures, reducing risks associated with on-the-job training and ensures employees are prepared for real-world scenarios. Imagine a doctor wearing a GoPro during a complex procedure, presenting the footage to trainees wearing VR headsets. This provides a much more immersive and engaging learning experience compared to traditional videos. 

Education audio visual virtual reality AV equipment being used by child

Education

By incorporating virtual training into the educational landscape, educators can enrich student learning experiences and maintain their engagement and interest.

Hybrid learning is transforming education, helping to connect students with a unique platform regardless of location, increase accessibility, and enable education providers to achieve omnichannel delivery of their courses. Students can connect with each other from different classrooms and countries through virtual collaboration tools fostering teamwork, and intercultural understanding.

The option to integrate VR into hybrid learning experiences creates an immersive environment, resulting in a higher degree of knowledge retention. VR can help bring abstract concepts to life and spark curiosity in a way that textbooks and videos simply cannot.

Screen showing Yealink video conference participants

Conclusion

Virtual training offers a multitude of benefits for a wide range of industries, from cost savings and improved employee wellbeing, to upskilling on a global scale with improved knowledge retention compared with traditional training methods. 

In short, virtual training, when implemented effectively, can be a game changer.

Here at Digital Vision AV, we specialise in providing the cutting-edge audio-visual technology needed to transform your training into immersive virtual experiences. We can design and install a virtual training solution that seamlessly integrates with your existing audio visual equipment, ensuring a smooth, yet immersive experience for all participants.

So, if you need help deciding which virtual training platform is right for your business, get in touch with us today or simply call us on 01442 620078. We offer impartial advice as well as a free quote, and installation is always carried out at a time which suits you so as not to interrupt the flow of business.

Share this post