Are you training your employees, partners and customers in a way that benefits your company? Effective training requires serious time commitment, lesson plans, and practice. This can be a challenge to implement properly, but organizations that get it right find that they have a competitive edge that leads to success. It's for this reason that many companies are turning to virtual training to simplify the process while increasing its worth.
In 2016, Citrix GoToTrainingreported that 36% of all corporate training sessions were hybrid and virtual instructor-led because of its ability to increase operational efficiency. However, the reality is that online IT training is only as effective as the features you have in place to enhance the experience, including providing students with a lab environment that enables them to learn and work with real-world scenarios.
Not all virtual training labs are created equal. They require a strong, fast, and flexible cloud-based provider, particularly when it comes to complex environments for technology training.
So, what key features should your virtual training lab have for the best learning experience?
Let's take a look at the top 7...
1. Instant VM Import
You want your virtual IT training lab to be quick and easy to set up so you can provide your learners with real-world environments. Chances are you already have a VM setup, which may be very complex. You want to avoid having to set up your cloud-based labs from scratch.
Look for an IT lab vendor that lets you import your existing virtual machines to their platform easily. This will help you get started quickly and avoid having to involve your IT team.
2. Complex Networking Environment Support
Your on-premise app environment can be quite complex, including special network configurations such as nested virtualization and promiscuous mode handling. Bringing such complexities to the cloud can be quite challenging - and may not be supported by generic cloud providers. Therefore, one of the most valuable features of an online training lab is complex networking environment support.
You should look for a provider that supports your unique requirements and enables them to be easily replicated and shared no matter how complicated they are.
3.Personal Lab Environments
When it comes to virtual training, you want to provide each student with an individual environment that they can use as a "playground." In this way, they can practice the lessons taught in the training session and experiment in a safe environment that can easily be reverted to a clean slate.
This means you should look for a virtual training lab provider that makes it easy to automatically provision each student lab according to class type - virtual instructor led, self-paced, or certification courses.
4. Over-the-Shoulder Instructor Capabilities
Whether it's an in-class lesson or an online training session, the quality of the instruction is based on the quality of the instructor and the communication. Just because your instructor is across the country or on another continent, doesn't mean your virtual training session can't enjoy excellent instruction interaction. All it takes are the right tools.
Make sure your virtual training lab solution includes a built-in instructor console, over-the-shoulder assistance to see what students are doing and the ability to take control and provide students with one-on-one help when needed.
5. Peer-to-Peer Communication
Just as the instructor is vital to learning, so are the students. Many individuals learn better when working in a group environment rather than when on their own. A key feature that is often missing from virtual training sessions is the ability for students to interact with each other and to share ideas, ask for help, and provide feedback.
Choose a virtual IT training lab provider that offers classroom chat for real-time student-teacher and peer-to-peer interaction. Effective training platforms make collaboration and social learning a key feature.
6. Highly Customizable Classroom Experience
You want to provide users with an attractive and friendly classroom-like experience where you can provide background material about the class, upload and share resources with students, refer to external links, add your company logo and messaging, and customize the look and feel to fit your brand.
Look for a customizable classroom set up where you can configure the viewer's display with tabs or adjust other experience options to create the right environment for your training session.
7. High Performance
Last but not least, a virtual training session is only successful if it is easily accessible and runs smoothly. There is nothing more frustrating than an online classroom that constantly crashes, runs slow, or regularly experiences glitches. To ensure the lowest latency, make sure your provider has multiple geo-disburse data centers, so that you can run your classes from the nearest location possible.
Your training experience makes a big impact on how learners feel about your product and their loyalty. That's why it's critical to choose a virtual training lab solution that makes performance a top priority, ensuring the best experience for your learners and your business.
Effective online IT training requires a fast, productive, and user-friendly learning experience. The ability to learn in real-life environments adds a great deal of benefit to your learners and your business. The more complex your company's needs, the stronger, faster, more flexible, and greater functionality required of your virtual IT training labs.
written by Michal Frenkel, Director of Product at CloudShare