By: Marc Remond, vice president, meeting and learning experience solutions, Barco APAC

Learning and development (L&D) has evolved rapidly in the last few years across Southeast Asia as companies and governments, especially in Singapore, invested heavily in cultivating the workforce of the future. When virtual classrooms became the primary mode for adult training and continuing education during the pandemic, companies and training organisations saw the limitations of conferencing solution ‘quick fixes’ and opportunities to create better learning outcomes. After this experience one thing is clear: effective digital education solutions will be a big part of L&D in the future.

Retaining human connection

There are many solutions on the market to choose from with features to meet a company’s specific training needs in support of long-term business goals. The delivery method and ability of a solution to enable human connections plays a critical role in the success of training, given its potential impact on trainers and participants’ experiences. Solutions that replicate in-person training environments maintain the quality of lessons and provide the engagement and interactions that can get lost in virtual environments. Before adopting new, more robust virtual classroom solutions, L&D departments and organisations should weigh these ten factors. Each factor can enhance L&D activities or become a drain on employee productivity and company resources. 

1. Pedagogy

Before talking specs, talk pedagogy to determine the method and process of training that should be put in place to meet the business’ needs and goals. Understanding what skills employees need to be trained on and the timeframe, can help L&D organisations create virtual classrooms that successfully meet these requirements.

2. Size

Determine how many participants will generally attend sessions. Training 10 people requires a completely different solution than training 80, which will influence how the trainer delivers lessons and the level of interactivity that can happen with participants.

3. Place

Consider where the trainer be working from and ensure that the solution has the flexibility to meet these needs. Ask the same question on the participant side to understand if they will all be remote or mixed with in-class participants in a hybrid classroom environment.

 4. Feedback

Feedback on training is an important motivator and indicates whether the lesson material is getting through to participants. Aside from oral feedback, digital feedback features such as virtual hand raising and session analytics can add tremendous insight.

5. Interaction

Interactive tools such as questionnaires, polls, quizzes, and screen sharing help to ensure engagement by keeping everyone involved during the class. Ask about the features most important to you when evaluating virtual classroom solutions.

6. Collaboration

Collaboration between participants in subgroups can be a valuable addition to virtual classrooms. Identify solutions that enable breakout rooms.

7. User-friendliness

Within enterprises, trainers are very often team members with specialised knowledge, rather than an online training expert. Selecting an intuitive solution allows the trainer to feel more comfortable and offer the best virtual classroom environment.

8. Test

Testing out solutions can also help to determine which one meets all of the business’ training needs.

9. Long-term impact

Selecting the right virtual classroom solution can have a long-term impact on the effectiveness of trainings and its contribution to the company’s strategy. Take the time to evaluate the options before making this important decision.

10. Multiple Streams
Bringing multiple cameras and content streams into the class improves eye contact, engagement and interactivity between trainers and remote participants.

L&D programmes will continue to gain a foothold in the region to foster continuous learning for employees as a consequence of the pandemic. As its economic impacts change how industries and businesses operate, training must also evolve to deliver lessons in virtual classrooms effectively. The right solution can make all the difference in enhancing learning outcomes.

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