Virtual Tech Alters 21st Century Corporate Learning

Webcasting and virtual environments can help improve speed to comprehension while delivering greater ROI.

By Eric Vidal, Director, Product Marketing, Event Services Business Segment, InterCall

Technology has altered the reality of today’s learners. The evidence is all around us. Employees (students), both young and old, constantly have their noses buried in large and small screens, often at the same time.

Failure to recognize this fundamental shift in the world is doing students a disservice. Luckily, the growing BYOD (Bring Your Own Device) trend among organizations allows employees to use their smart phones, tablets, etc., for training is ideally suited for the corporate classroom. It allows corporate learning programs to help 21st century learners take in information in a manner that is more aligned with the rest of their lives.

Increasing Student Engagement

One area in which instructors are always challenged is increasing student engagement. It can be difficult to immerse students in unfamiliar topics because they don’t have the right lens through which to view it.

This is where a virtual environment can make a huge difference. Using this technology, instructors can create an atmosphere that is appropriate to the subject matter. For example, if the class is studying a technical topic, the “classroom” can look like something out of The Matrix.

Learning from the Learners

One additional advantage of incorporating Webcast or virtual environment technology is the ability to capture behaviors. HR training leaders can review classroom lessons and see which aspects got students excited and active, and which ones dragged the class down. Armed with that information, they can adjust future lesson plans to make them more effective. If different learning styles were tried, they also can see which worked best, helping shape future classes.

Beyond Devices

Yet if all you’re doing is changing the medium, you haven’t really changed the game much. That’s because the opportunity in today’s corporate classrooms isn’t about devices—it’s about learning more effectively.

This is where virtual technologies, such as Webcasting and virtual environments, can make a huge difference. Here’s a good example.

Imagine starting a class by asking three questions to test student comprehension of the previous day’s lesson. But rather than waiting for one of the better students to answer, everyone anonymously clicks on the answers and the results are made available almost instantly. That information then can guide whether it’s time to move on, or more effort needs to be spent on a particular topic.

You can do that with Webcasting technology. Classes also can be recorded and made available as downloads later, helping students review the information and increase their comprehension.

Utilizing Chat

Chat can be used to encourage more student participation during live instructional sessions. Some students may be reluctant to ask questions during class for fear of looking stupid in front of their peers. But with a chat function enabled, students can ask questions electronically (and anonymously), driving higher participation while helping shape the classroom discussion more precisely.

Keeping Students Up to Speed

The remote learning aspects of virtual technology can have a particularly large impact on employees who need to comprehend particular information but are injured, ill, or otherwise unable to attend classes when they are offered. If the class is Webcast live—and the student is well enough to log in—he or she can follow along during the lesson and even participate via chat.

The New Reality

Technology has, without question, altered the reality of today’s students. They perceive the world very differently than even those of 10 years ago. And that has changed the reality of the 21st century corporate classroom.

Webcasting and virtual environments can help organizations make those adjustments, improving speed to comprehension while delivering greater ROI. Most importantly, they help engage students in a way that fits their daily lives—which helps further the corporate training mission.

Eric Vidal is the director of Product Marketing for the Event Services Business Segment at InterCall (www.intercall.com), a conferencing and collaboration services provider. He can be reached at evidal@intercall.com.

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