Since the pandemic took hold of the world virtual training sessions have become the new normal but is virtual training a better way to learn compared to the traditional face-to-face method?
In this weeks blog we take a look at the pros and cons of training new organisations in our wheelchair service software solution through different methods. First things first what are they?
What is face-to-face training?
Face-to-face training is when a Training Coordinator comes out to your wheelchair service headquarters or agreed facility to deliver training in person to your employees. This could be one single session or over several days to suit your needs.
What is virtual training?
Virtual training is when a Training Coordinator will deliver your training sessions live through the computer via a shared link. The session allows people to continue learning even when face-to-face training isn’t possible.
So, the big question on everyone’s mind, is one method better than the other? Let’s see how they measure up!
The obvious difference is the ability to have a person in the room with you while the training is taking place. A Training Coordinator on had to guide you through instructions via a presentation or even over your shoulder demonstrating a step-by-step process can provide a huge confidence booster. Trainers can slow training down as you need it or repeat certain points to make sure everyone understands and is at the same level. We’re social creatures and while having the ability to connect from anywhere in the world is a big bonus it can’t always make up for that face-to-face interaction.
That brings us to our next pro from the virtual list, location. Virtual training has made it easier to attend a training session, reducing your commute to zero. Where a physical session requires a training room or available facility and potentially money to acquire that space, virtual training can be done from anywhere, even a beach in Maui (although we wouldn’t exactly recommend that as we’d be extremely jealous). No more waiting on people to arrive or second-guessing traffic jams, just a time and a link and you’re there.
Dedicated Training Time
Some employees are so busy that having a specific date and time set aside for training is beneficial. It allows them to qualify the time set aside with managers and teams letting them focus solely on the training session and not the rest of their working day. Whereas with virtual training they may push it back continually as other work responsibilities stake priority.
Availability comes in to play with virtual training when work responsibilities do need to take precedence over a training session. A great feature that comes with many of the video conferencing applications available from Zoom, Microsoft Teams or Google Hangouts is the ability to record live sessions, creating an archive of information. For those who cannot attend a session live if they have other work responsibilities, they can watch the training session back at their own convenience without falling behind. This is something that face-to-face training lacks or would be cumbersome to do without setting up a camera in the back of the room.
While there are a few of the obvious points there are many pros and cons for both types of training.
A vast majority of wheelchair services have needed to change and adapt their day-to-day and their training circumstances over the past 18 months to continue as normal as possible and deliver the training that their wheelchair service needs. CSS, as a software organisation, has had to make that transition too. Our main training scenarios were face-to-face and our Training Coordinators would visit our customers as and when needed to deliver training to existing and new employees. Our journey to virtual training during the pandemic saw us face a few challenges of our own.
Challenges Faced & Overcome
- Internet Connectivity – Making sure customers could access the links that were issued from our conferencing application was some organisations had firewalls in place for security purposes. We resolved this issue by ensuring we engaged with customers a few days ahead of schedule to ensure connections were secure and everyone could join with ease.
- Engagement – At times confirming users had understood the training was slightly harder virtually compared to the face-to-face method as our trainer couldn’t read their facial expressions or body language. To overcome this, we issued feedback forms to highlight areas that required a more in-depth explanation.
- Face-to-face training setup – There are many factors to consider before face-to-face training occurs. making sure every attendee was on time, could see the presentation and making sure the training room was prepared was a task that took a great deal of time and coordination to master previously. Now, virtual training sessions have eliminated that task as we can share instructor screens, so everyone has a clear view. Training links and reminders provided mean everyone can be on time no matter where they are.
Over the duration of the pandemic and more recently our team has managed to utilise virtual training to help ensure our wheelchair service customers are able to continue with the process of implementing a new wheelchair service software solution within their business and have the confidence that their team will be able to use the system to its full potential.
Virtual training has ultimately been the saving grace to come from the pandemic, it has allowed us to stay connected when it wasn’t possible to be together and provided us with the flexibility to offer employees more than they could have ever imagined in terms of working in different locations. While it has its virtues there are still some things that only face-to-face training can offer.
So, what is the answer? Which style is best? Face-to-face or virtual training?
Here at TCES Wheelchair we say both! The choice is always yours. You can discuss your preferences with our team during initial meetings and come to a decision that you’ll be confident in.