What’s the Buzz in Customer Training

By: Erik Snider, VP Marketing at Strigo

Everyone’s talking about it now – virtual training. It’s no longer a nice-to-have; it’s a must-have in order to adapt to the ongoing challenges surrounding COVID-19. Some businesses have been quicker to make the necessary transition, while others are still struggling to take their customer training platform online.

Experts in the online education space offer practical tips and best practices for how to create and structure new virtual training programs, as well as how to grow and improve your existing training offering so that you can reach a wider customer base.

Let’s take a look at what they’re saying: 

Ramona T. Ayala at Training Magazine pinpoints a few key steps companies should take to help move their training platforms online. She says that companies need to commit 100 percent to virtual training and see this as a long-term strategy shift, and she also notes that it’s not quite as simple as using your same ILT (instructor-led) program and repackaging it as vILT (virtual instructor-led); you will need to restructure and redesign it for the virtual training sphere.

Some of her tips are spot on – as vILT is a reality that everyone needs to face head-on right now. But the question now is how well can your company pull it off, and will you be able to deliver impactful, engaging training in this format.

One point that we would disagree on is her claim that you cannot take an existing ILT program and turn it into vILT. In fact, you can, with the right technology, replicate the essential ILT curriculum in the virtual classroom. You can even exceed trainees’ expectations with a high-quality virtual education program. It’s an time to get excited about vILT.

Shift, another expert in the online learning space, offers six best practices for creating education programs that are geared toward a virtual audience, including how to structure your program for interaction and engagement. They suggest that in order to create a dynamic online classroom, you must take into consideration how learners interact with instructors, how they interact with content, and how they interact with other learners.

While eLearning is a broad topic, we agree that many of the same principles can apply across the virtual education sphere. What’s important when moving from ILT to a virtual classroom is enabling flexibility, such as breaking up learning into smaller bits and allowing trainees to choose the times that best suit them. With good technology, not only can you take a traditional curriculum and move it online, you can also provide flexibility for your trainees and create an engaging learning experience.

Adam Avramescu from Thought Industries, also shares some insights on how to transition to online training when there’s really no other choice. Unlike the others, who recommended mapping out a clear plan, dotting all the ‘i’s and crossing the ‘t’s, he encourages you to move quickly, get your training online, and be ready to serve your customers; and not to be afraid of making mistakes along the way. He says that you don’t have to get it perfect from day 1, and offers some suggestions of technologies and tools that you can cobble together to get you started.

While we applaud this “no fear, get it done” attitude, and recognize that companies need to get moving quickly, we don’t recommend that you start patching together different platforms, as this will lead to a very clunky experience. You’ll have much better success choosing an all-in-one platform which can cohesively bring together a variety of tools to help you set up a smooth virtual learning experience.

For companies that already offer online education, the challenge now is to create even more content and programming for knowledge-thirsty customers. Hubspot Academy sets a great example of a company that’s adapting by expanding their education offering. In response to the higher demand from customers for more online learning opportunities, they created a whole new education series called “Adapt 2020.” Each week, they host a live webinar, share relevant data and trends, and offer new educational resources on a range of relevant topics.

We love seeing how companies are rallying to create more online resources for their customers so that users can learn, grow, and ultimately drive success in their own businesses, even during this turbulent time.