Upskill and Reskill Employees with Virtual Classroom Solutions

With skills evolving, emerging, and expiring, forging connections between organizational skill needs and employees will redefine the virtual classroom business outlook.

Corporate training and employee development have become a vital cog in skill requirements for the future workforce. In 2018, more than $87.6 billion was spent on corporate training and development across the U.S. Virtual classroom solutions enhance the way organizations engage their employees, deliver corporate information, build brand awareness, and provide real-time performance data visualization.

Even though budgets are volatile, organizations have not moved away from infusing billions of dollars on the manpower. The World Economic Forum has predicted that approximately 35 percent of the top skills required across all job landscape will change. With skills evolving, emerging, and expiring, forging connections between organizational skill needs and employees will redefine the virtual classroom business outlook.

Investment in and demand for virtual classroom training will see a noticeable spike, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the fact that business leaders have identified skill shortages as a major workforce challenge. The need for new skills has never been more relevant.

Shared online space has become led to better analytics, increased engagement, and reduced operational costs. In the context of job disruption, the World Economic Forum (WEF) claims that approximately 75 million jobs will be wiped out by 2020 globally. Bespoke virtual classrooms are taking a giant leap forward as remote teaching and learning go mainstream. With the impact COVID-19 outbreak has had globally, the virtual classroom has complemented “Education 4.0.”

Factors paving the way for Education 4.0 include:

  • Problem-based and collaborative learning: An apparent transition from process-based to problem- and project-based content delivery, requiring peer collaboration, is likely to be the new normal as entrepreneurs look to be in line with the future of work.
  • Technology skills: Stakeholders are expected to include content based on developing digital skills, such as digital responsibility, programming, and the use of technology.
  • Creativity and innovation: Organizations are focusing on content that bolsters the skills needed for innovation, such as analytical thinking and complex problem-solving.

In the context of job description and polarization, corporate training and employees’ growth have become indispensable in the backdrop of robust advancements and globalization in technology that has transformed the world of work and civic space. The fourth industrial revolution has paved way for automation and intangible value creation, with growth drivers creating notable shift in the skills needed to boost the ways in which people work and contribute to the economy.

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the dynamics of learning and forced global experimentation with remote teaching. So how can entrepreneurs and employees bolster their skills and adapt to the tectonic shift in training and employee development? Will the relationships between process and content change? Will the office-at-home environment become the new normal?

As entrepreneurs and other stakeholders live though a real-time case history in a crisis management, they will need to up their game, spearheading virtual teams from the front. Technology has become a boon to keep learning going amidst the pandemic, which has compelled many companies to defer face-to-face training.

How to Enhance the Feasibility of Virtual Classes

  • Customize online training: Virtual classrooms are an ideal solution for HR as they offer myriad possibilities to customize the training and boost online classes in a personalized way. Facilitators must use suitable software to share live applications, videos, and documents with functionalities integrated in the e-learning platforms.
  • Ensure that virtual classrooms provide a seamless online class experience: Functionalities such as virtual whiteboards should be used often in virtual classrooms, as they can show any sort of file without the need for installation. A 360-degree virtual class that streamlines communication with sound, image, and bidirectional audio is another important element.

Forums, online working classrooms, and chats that complement learning and underpin teamwork in the company should be deployed often. The virtual classroom is a natural fit as a response to the disruption created by digitalization and will boost successful training and help managers and employees gain new abilities and professional skills.

  • Implement learner-centric solutions: Tapping into an unsurpassed network and transferring business will require learner-centric solutions to keep up with the continuously transforming business landscape. Learner-centric solutions include continuous user feedback.

Overcoming Challenges

Virtual classrooms come with unique set of challenges that may frustrate stakeholders. In layman’s terms, virtual learning means trainers and employees are separated from each other and are working outside the office. The challenges become more daunting when training needs to be shifted to work-related projects and tasks.

Distraction: Facilitators and employers are expected to ensure remote employees have a dedicated and quiet workspace. Any sort of distraction may interfere with online training effectiveness.

This can be resolved by adding a level of flexibility to the curriculum and providing opportunities for online collaboration. Providing individual learning plans and integrating face-to-face virtual interactions also will help.

In the case of Webinars and corporate training classrooms, investing in reliable equipment is a good idea, as is using wired Wi-Fi for virtual classrooms.

Little or no face-to-face supervision: Lack of supervision is widely recognized as a roadblock to streamlined virtual classroom functionalities. Facilitators tend to be skeptical about whether employees will work as hard without in-person supervision.

However, this can be resolved with the help of advanced software installation during online training. Using connected technologies and artificial intelligence (AI), it is possible to detect participant status (whether employees are participating in a live discussion, indications of which may change as participants leave the room or raise their hands) and ensure participation control (i.e., only one person may be allowed to speak at a time).

Dearth of information: Employees are expected to assess the when, what, why ,and how of remote training before the course takes place. They will need to know how it works, how to ask questions, and how to access the training.

Kicking off with briefing ground rules pertaining to remote training is key, as is engaging trainees by rewarding their efforts. Virtual learning platforms tend to have a built-in certification function that automatically awards certificates of completion.

Virtual classes are valuable for employees with disabilities as it eliminates the need for travel. Trainers are well positioned to set the tone of the class and help trainees become virtually visible.

Tips to Consider for Building the Workforce of the Future

Virtual classrooms streamline next-gen technology, complemented by directional audio-visual communication, interactive large whiteboards, intuitive interface, and high-definition collaboration and content-sharing tools. Some tips that can help bolster the future workforce:

Minimizing Technical Glitches

Even though delivery design and content will remain paramount to the virtual classroom ambience, it would be too naïve to ignore technical glitches. Hiring a producer for every course who can assist learners and drive the platform will help the facilitator to focus on the transfer of learning.

Fostering Interactivity

The majority of virtual meeting platforms are equipped with video and voice conferencing equipment and real-time chat. Irrespective of the physical location, virtual classroom solutions include polling questions, on-screen annotation tools, and virtual breakout rooms, allowing brainstorming, small group discussions, and skill practice.

Adept Facilitating

Gesticulation and facial cues tend to assist facilitators in tracking the level of participant engagement. A facilitator is expected to ask for regular feedback, such as “Can you all see the slides?” and “How is my speed?” An adept facilitator will help create an inclusive online environment.

Utilizing Multiple Camera Views

Use of multiple camera views provides a holistic view for trainees to enable trainers to deliver content and instructions to remote employees. The technology will provide a real-time classroom experience.

Assessing Case Studies

Analyzing case studies and leveraging a wide range of assignments, such as written response and audio, should be a well-thought-out process. Organizations use “likes” and discuss case studies with both positive and negative feedback.

Leveraging Videoconferencing

Videoconferencing has become pivotal to boost seamless learning experiences and has made virtual experiences almost as real as face-to-face ones. Today’s virtual classroom strives to provide the best delivery options, including real-time interaction with the instructor, imparting knowledge and know-how to a massive number of employees who may be at diverse locations.

Virtual classes are providing unparalleled opportunities to internal talent and have become invaluable in boosting confidence to propel higher engagement of the internal workforce that has a cascading effect on the team.

Organizations are enabling flexibility and self-paced learning and allowing learners to access information on the go. Videoconferencing also can help to align an individual’s goals to the organization’s goals, particularly when a set of mentors is curated across the organization.

When it comes to training employees, companies are striving to leverage what’s available and make the optimum use of online corporate training. Virtual classroom training has become a catalyst in bridging the gap between distance and time.

Transcriptions Still Hold Prominence

Lecture transcriptions of online training materials are seen as a valuable investment to bolster the learning experience of both instructors and trainees. A transcription could prove to be invaluable in using technology to enhance the teaching skills and help innovators know what they don’t know.

Transcriptions can help fill the knowledge gaps that can come during additional research on their own or during office hours. Transcriptions can help trainees go back over the parts they missed and help foreign-language individuals improve their knowledge by translating the text into their desired language.

Professional development that triggers employees to change their leadership or customer service behavior will need reinforcement to ensure new skills and knowledge are effectively applied.

Considering the upsides and opportunities, several corporations have started using virtual classrooms to deliver mainstream training and employee development courses. They are enabling collaboration by learners and trainers, enabling interactive access to experts, and bolstering the experience of the online classroom with increased interaction to reduce feelings of isolation.

Virtual classrooms can add value to employees’ growth and will continue to see advancements in technology as they remain pivotal in bridging the gap between trainers and trainees to keep the real-life experience intact.

Sunil Jha has been a part of the content industry for nearly two years. Having previously worked as a voiceover artist and sportswriter, he now focuses on writing articles on numerous topics, ranging from business and technology to trade and finance. With a business-oriented educational background, Jha brings the expertise of intensive research and a strategic approach to his writing.