This sudden transition to a virtual world has shown us all how we adapt to change. It doesn’t matter what social media platform you visit, you’re bound to see a tip or trick for “working from home.” Yet, with the exception of a few emails, I have seen very little about how to continue professional career development.

Many of us have career goals that require training from subject matter experts, and most of those trainings are designed for the traditional classroom. This is convenient for both instructors and students who typically travel for training. For one – if they’re all in the same room, they’re all in the same time zone. So, how do you take an intercontinental training and adapt it for virtual attendance? While it’s not without some obstacles, it can be done!

The Importance of Continued Training and Career Development

Continued career development isn’t a luxury. In today’s fast-paced and competitive climate, it’s a must. Almost from the moment onboarding ends, professionals start training in other areas. And employers want them to stay up to date on current skills, products, processes and trends. In other words, training and development continue throughout a person’s career.

Studies have shown that individuals who receive continued professional education and career development training are more satisfied, typically bring a better quality of work to their companies, and are more likely to stay with the same company. Furthermore, companies that provide their employees the opportunities to develop skills for the position they want typically see better retention.

For individuals, improving your skills with online training is the ultimate way to climb up the success ladder, because the investment is both personal and professional. When you assess your personal skills and desires for the future, you can choose training that will maximize your individual potential. Then, you build upon your existing knowledge and abilities and introduce new skills that will enrich your work experience as well as your upward mobility.

The Benefits of Virtual Training

While there are certainly a few challenges and pitfalls to online training, there are also huge opportunities. For example, teaching a course in a traditional classroom can limit the number of participants who attend due to constraints caused by travel and time differences. However, a virtual environment allows for attendees from across the globe. Eliminating those barriers to participation can have a positive impact on the quality of learning, as people who may not be able to attend in person can still bring thought provoking questions and creativity to the group. Moreover, people who share common interests such as career development goals, can become interconnected and enhance their networks with valuable resources.

Another benefit to virtual training is its flexibility and easy access. Traditional classroom training requires travel to a specific location. With online training, participants can attend from anywhere. And today’s virtual environments also mean that you can attend using a number of different devices. Furthermore, the speed with which people can access online notes and support, record and replay lectures, and take assessments/quizzes, help professionals learn better and faster. The easier and more convenient courses can be taken, the easier it is for professionals to reach their goals.

These are just a few of the benefits to virtual training. It is, of course, also a huge cost saver as expenses for travel, lodging, and meals are eliminated. Also, online training encourages an open-forum type setting, which can lead to comprehensive discussions that identify strengths and weaknesses.

Virtual Career Development in Action

Late last year, we began customizing a private course on customer service for a leading international Heavy Equipment manufacturer. Attendees were to come from across the globe to a central location for a half day, in-person training. We had scheduled the training for mid-March, however, as travel bans increased, they asked if it was possible to adapt the course for a completely virtual audience.

The primary challenges with having global participants at any live, virtual event are time zone differences and language barriers. With that in mind, we worked first to create a team of 3 facilitators to be available to offer the course at both 10am and 10pm ET, so overseas participants would be able to attend at reasonable hour. Then we established how interactivity (mostly the Q&A session at the end) and translation, if necessary, would function.

We used two virtual platforms simultaneously to broadcast the training. Although this meant there was a delay in back-and-forth of the Q&A session, it helped us communicate the course concepts to more than 400 employees from around the world.

All things considered, the virtual training was a great success. The irony of having to utilize our own customer service skills to modify a class on customer service was not lost on us. Mostly, we’re just happy we can help aspiring leaders continue to keep their career development on track. Not to mention the employers who still need their staff trained in policies, procedures, and best practices. After all, we may be walking to a different drum when it comes to our work environments these days, but the training beat must go on.

Do you need to adapt an in-person training to a virtual environment? We can help! Contact us.