How to Use Virtual Learning to Solve Business Problems

In your business, would it be helpful to:

  • Provide actual hard data to the most senior leaders at your company (beyond number of attendees) to demonstrate the effectiveness of your learning program?
  • Engage learners and their managers with short videos through the entire 9 month duration of your high-potential leadership development program to ensure participants apply their learnings on the job?
  • Refresh previously existing content to roll out in a new and different way to a broader audience? Perhaps it could reach more people more quickly virtually than it could by bringing people in for training in person?
  • Bring to life a new operating model for a department after implementing organization design changes?

Our clients have taken on all of the business challenges outlined above over the last 24 months or so. The shift to virtual or online learning to solve problems has been dramatic.

Learners are:

  • Comfortable engaging with technology now more than ever before
  • Located in multiple physical places – in many cases all over the world
  • Costly to bring together in person
  • Interested in ensuring you use their time wisely IF you do bring them together in person

The learning designed as a result of these (and other) factors takes a variety of shapes. Depending upon your learners and what kind of behavior change you seek, it could incorporate Virtual Instructor Led Training (VILT) or eLearning.

VILT – Virtual Instructor Led Training                                                                                                    

In this type of training experience, participants engage from their “home” location all at the same time. They sign up, typically through a Learning Management System (LMS) to participate in the conduct of a course on a specific date and time. It is, in essence, a virtual classroom setting.

The training is facilitated by a professional(s) who takes them through the content and may also engage them in breakout sessions, using the technology enabled by tools such as WebEx. Participants engage with one another in real time as well, while receiving feedback and having conversations with each other during the training.


These courses are now NOTHING like the computer-based training (CBT) days of the 1990s. Back then, the training seemed like it was basically an electronic page turner. Animation software and the use of avatars has enabled training developers and instructional designers to create true learning experiences which embed the learner in situations. This approach enables learners to interact and make decisions to progress.

For the learner, this feels much more like playing a game online. At the end, a knowledge check over the content may (or may not) be incorporated. These courses can be completed from any device – laptop, tablet or phone. So they can go with you wherever you may travel – on a plane, during your daily commute on a train or sitting at your desk.

Betsy Winkler is a Partner at PeopleResults. She can be reached on Twitter @BetsyWinkler1. Sign up to receive the PeopleResults blog at Current.