Training is an important element of professional career growth, and the successful delivery of training relies on careful consideration. Several questions should be considered about training:

  • What topics would be most effective?
  • Who should participate?
  • When should it take place?
  • How much is this going to cost?

In this article, I’ll walk through some considerations for another important question: Should we do live or virtual training?

What Type of Training Is It?

First, you need to consider the training topic, because some topics can naturally lend themselves to live or virtual training. For instance, a development class that would mostly consist of screen sharing and computer demonstrations about technical concepts and coding would likely be a good candidate for a virtual class. Participants would have easier access to side-by-side comparison if they’re attempting to replicate demonstrations themselves, and they will be able to capture quick screenshots of concepts, code, and diagrams that they want to refer to later.

Conversely, soft skills training (for example, classes on conflict mediation or professional networking) is usually best handled in a live training environment because live training is more impactful with interactivity and human response. Soft skills training also benefits from activities such as small-group discussion, role-playing, and interpersonal feedback, which are easiest in a live training environment.

These are just two examples, and although you can conduct almost any training in person or virtually, it’s worth considering the type of environment that will offer the best experience for the participants.

Where are Your Participants?

In the debate between live and virtual training, location matters for a few reasons, including cost. If all your training participants are in different locations across the country, it may not be cost effective to fly them to a single training location. In that case, you may opt for virtual training. However, if most of the participants are in one location, and only a few people need to travel, the benefits of training may offset the cost.

What’s the Training Length?

Training is intended to be educational, informative, and in some ways, intensive. It requires a lot of focus to learn something new, especially when training spans over several days. While this affects live and virtual training, it’s important to remember how much screen time people will be experiencing with virtual training. You should also consider that in a virtual class, participants must be able to focus without distractions. You should ensure that virtual participants can take training in a location that will minimize distractions from a typical workday, if possible.

Summary

Successful training needs to be considered carefully. Although the debate between live and virtual training is not the only consideration, this question can be a good way to start identifying your expectations about the training experience, performance, and environment, and it can help you make a thoughtful decision based on the needs and potential impact of the training event.

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By: Daniece Rainville