Virtual Classroom Training Is A Mainstay Within Organizations

As of early 2021, 98 percent of organizations used virtual classrooms to deliver at least some training to their employees, according to new Association for Talent Development research.

Virtual Classrooms: Leveraging Technology for Impact, sponsored by Jigsaw Interactive, states that virtual classroom training comprised at least half of formal learning hours delivered at 65 percent of organizations.

The report suggests that virtual classrooms will remain significant for talent development professionals after the pandemic. Eighty-eight percent of organizations expect their spending on virtual classroom training to stay the same or increase over the next year.

According to the report, “Talent development leaders must be committed to maximizing virtual classroom training and the budgets that support it.”

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Key findings of Virtual Classrooms: Leveraging Technology for Impact include:

  • COVID-19’s workplace disruption drove much of the surge in virtual classrooms’ popularity, with nine in 10 organizations citing it among their top drivers for using the tool.
  • As organizations embrace virtual classroom training, the research suggests that they should fill it with engaging activities for learners. The top activities in virtual classroom training were small group activities (81 percent), icebreakers (74 percent), and scenario-based learning (71 percent). On average, high-performing organizations used significantly more activities in their virtual classroom training than other organizations.
  • The research also suggests that organizations should leverage as many of their virtual classroom platforms’ features as possible to help learners interact with trainers and one another. The most-used virtual classroom platform engagement features were chat (93 percent), screen sharing (90 percent), and hand-raising prompts (82 percent). On average, high-performing organizations used a greater proportion of the virtual classroom features available to them than other organizations.

“Today’s virtual classroom features mimic what we see in the traditional classroom setting,” says Darryl Wyles, an ATD Education facilitator, in an interview for the report. “We can take advantage of them to establish a connection with our audience and provide a more engaging class, and they also give learners the ability to connect with each other.”

Nearly all organizations that participated in this research (95 percent) moved at least some traditional classroom training to the virtual classroom during the last 12 months. These organizations consistently considered updating at least one aspect of traditional classroom courses’ format and design when adapting them for the virtual classroom. They most frequently addressed learning activities, with 85 percent modifying or replacing some or all existing learning activities to take advantage of virtual classroom features.

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