To virtual infinity and beyond… Virtual sessions are rocketing!

By the 17 June 2020

These last months, my kids, my parents and many of my most “traditional” friends have had more virtual meetings, web sessions or classes than ever before in their lives… with multiple purposes: from being close and connected, to maintaining gossip at a healthy level or just keeping the ball rolling with their studies.

Same has happened with our clients: while a good portion of them were into virtual classes with us several years before confinement, many others “converted to virtual” practically overnight. It’s not rare to feel surprised for this sudden transformation… but it has not been an impediment to welcome it: change may be fast after all.

I can say it was easier on our side as training providers, because we were not discovering the modality (at least I’m speaking about Cegos: we had expertise and solutions and more than a decade of experience, but it would have been painful to start testing and learning in a period like this). The challenge for us has been to go safely through the exponential curve, multiplying our capacity to address the growing volumes. I’ll talk about the keys to succeed with that in my next post.

What we’ll briefly summarise today are the reasons why this modality was and is here to stay, and continue growing, even now that many regions are going through a safe deconfinement phase and it’s clear that face-to-face will be again a strong lever for interaction in L&D programmes.

  • Fully remote

No travel at all: not even between offices or inside the city. Do you dare to measure the time and money that is lost on unnecessary traveling or commuting? We once thought virtual classes were good for remote or dispersed audiences… well, let’s redefine “dispersed”.

  • Easier logistics

Get rid of the hassle of struggling through less added-value work such as venue booking, meals, coffee breaks, printing and shipping … and all the costs involved.

  • Adapted to modern learner needs

Even if most of us are not digital natives, we did survive, and as a proof of our adaptation, smartphones had already become part of our body, our schedule and our entertainment. Most professionals today want to learn in chunks, so they value shorter sessions, very focused content and quicker to book and get.

  • Replicability and Sustainability

Most of us as learners (and companies) could not afford 2-3 full days of training every two months, but we do need to learn and develop new skills many times in a year. This modality goes well with higher frequencies and is an ideal modular part on a learning journey. And in this case, doing it more often will not increase your carbon footprint: instead, it will drop to unprecedented levels!

  • Flexibility

Since these courses are more focused, it’s easier to match training needs with offering. Also, given the duration, they are easier to schedule. And as a major competitive advantage vs. other modalities, they can serve the purpose of programme kick offs, follow up sessions, return on experience sessions, etc.

Therefore, all the above added to the reduced total cost of ownership (and of opportunity) are enough motivators for most organisations to keep placing the bet on this modality. It’s so evident today that even if we still value the possibility of being close to one another (with or without social distancing), technology has made us jump a quantum leap in 2 decades, and the amount of virtual sessions you’ll have in your learning journeys will only increase from now on. I don’t think this will mean less face-to-face in the near future, but definitely more opportunities to learn.

What do you think?

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Sofia Magdagreva Since 2 weeks

This lockdown intensely sped up appropriation of digital tools. This will greatly help increasing the adoption rate of learning programs mixing all training tools. And definitely, virtual class training is a key learning tool…

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Yael Since 2 weeks

Responding to your question: I also believe F2F training will remain a cornerstone for valuable practice, in-depth discussions and an opportunity to exchange and get feedback with expert and peers. And I also agree that virtual training will remain, as it has proven effectiveness. So these two modalities will continue to be complementary (even used together) and in some other cases we’ll just select the best modality for the given criteria. In other words: there’s room for both (and more!).

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Jonathan Mohadeb

Jonathan Mohadeb Since 1 week

Thanks for your comments, Sofia and Yael, I’m happy to see you’re as well recognising the power of virtual class both as stand-alone and as part of a much richer blended learning journey.

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