Does Virtual Training Still Work When Hands-On Instruction is Needed?


Skills development is tricky even under the best of circumstances. It requires expert instruction, real-time feedback, and hands-on practice. That means in-person instruction is the only way to go, right?
Not so fast: in-person instruction is great for skills development, but it’s not the only option. While virtual or remote training can sound like it's too far removed to be useful when hands-on instruction is required, it actually works extremely well.

That’s because virtual training almost exactly simulates seated classroom environments.

While the instruction is not in-person, it is still live and real-time. Thus, the instructor can keep an eye on, engage with, and respond to all participants in real-time just as she would in an in-person situation. Moreover, virtual training platforms can create breakout rooms so that smaller groups can collaborate, while the instructor can pop in and out of each at will. After participants finish, the instructor can pull everyone together again, and the whole class can look at their work and discuss.
And because virtual training is not prepackaged or canned, instructors can still customize everything by reviewing and incorporating the business's own writing samples into the coursework. This makes the instruction more useful, relevant, and impactful for participants. So, participants can still apply concepts, undertake collaborative exercises, and develop questions to live examples in real-time, with the ability to submit questions at any time.

In fact, virtual training may even beat in-person training in a few respects.

For one thing, shy and quiet people can submit questions at any time, without ever having to worry about speaking up, raising their hands, or interrupting. (You'd be surprised how many people hold back in in-person environments).
Another way virtual training beats in-person training too: participant engagement statistics.
A virtual training platform can provide behavioral analytics that detail, for example, how many participants minimize the screen and do something else. Instructors can monitor this information in real-time and quietly nudge distracted students. It also reveals which media elements participants click on and engage with, helping both instructors and organizations track how participatory the sessions were.
Virtual training also enables bite-sized instruction in a way that’s often not logistically possible with in-person.
That’s because the sheer logistics of in-person training – having to reserve a classroom or conference room, having to bring an instructor in, etc. – often necessitates condensing all instruction to one or more full days. Unless the instructor handles it very well and the students are on top of everything, that compressed scheduling can be overwhelming to students and potential erode long-term learning retention.
But virtual training, because of its sheer convenience and flexibility of being accessible from any computer, can be scheduled in smaller increments (e.g., two-hour windows) that help participants “chunk” their learning experience in a way that maximizes retention with minimum effort.
About Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned small business (WBENC and WOSB), Historically Underutilized (HUB), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has been designing and teaching customized onsite and online technical, business, and scientific writing courses for over 30 years. We also develop and teach specialty courses, such as how to write proposals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and deviation and investigation reports, and how to prepare and give great presentations. Links: Wikipedia, Internal