Enabling human connections in virtual learning environments

Marc Remond, VP of Meeting and Learning Experiences, Barco APAC

In the past year, HR professionals have dramatically changed how they connect with employees and enable them to stay relevant, as onboarding and training activities were reimagined as virtual events. As businesses changed strategies, and digitalisation supported these plans, virtual training became an important way to ensure that employees were up to speed quickly.  Once restrictions on business travel and gatherings ease, virtual events are expected to continue, with live aspects integrated to encourage real human connections.

To ensure that virtual onboarding and instructor-led online training programs are effective, HR leaders need to select the most suitable cloud-based platform to meet their organisation’s goals, whether it involves skills upgrades or ensuring inclusive, safe connections for employees.

This includes selecting a video conferencing solution able to support multiple video cameras, screen and content streams for a more immersive teaching-learning experience but also integrates interactivity tools and real-time data analytics to measure employee engagement and participation.

Using technology to adapt to change

The last several months showed the importance of resilience in response to change. Temporary redeployment of employees to support necessary changes means organisations must rethink their workplace strategy to improve engagement and interactivity levels.    

Employees who lack the ability to adapt to internal changes may get lost without training programs and courses that empower them to keep their skills relevant. New workplace technologies such as virtual and hybrid training studios enable a truly immersive teaching and learning experience for trainers and employees working remotely. 

Safeguarding interactions

Gone are the days of online training conducted in a one-directional webinar format or meetings where the majority of attendees are in a room together with some employees dialling in. In these models in was easy for remote attendees to be excluded from interactions taking place in the room.

Today, with the majority of team members connecting remotely and with modern teaching and learning platforms, HR professionals can create meetings and training sessions that are more inclusive and immersive. An integrated polling system can be beneficial in keeping meeting participants engaged throughout the session. Such modern training technology also give presenters and meeting organisers’ insight into individual engagement levels and learning to improve future sessions.

New ways to deliver training

With the help of integrated training platforms that support video conferencing, organisations can onboard all new employees based remotely or even offer a hybrid onboarding model which combines virtual aspects with live activities as in-person connections matter more than ever today.

Virtual training and onboarding requires presenters to change how information is delivered to participants. Immersive teaching and learning platforms also allow presenters to interact with attendees as though they were in the same room. For example, trainers and presenters can stand in front of their audience and see learners in real-size, so that trainers can read facial expressions and body language. With a better viewing experience of the presenter and multiple cameras providing eye contact, employees pay more attention and remain fully engaged.

These new teaching, learning and meeting tools can also facilitate networking by connecting attendees in smaller breakout groups. Interactive tools such as questionnaires, polls, quizzes, interactive whiteboards, and screen sharing keep everyone involved. Such features are most important for the organisation when evaluating virtual classroom solutions.

Organisations must use collaboration technology to make teaching and learning activities more effective. To achieve this goal, investments in video-enabled training rooms that are immersive and interactive by design is a top priority. Companies should ensure that such solutions include interactive features such as digital whiteboards, chat, quizzes, polls as most importantly, real-time analytics to measure engagement and participation at any time during a session.

The effects of the pandemic underscore the importance of learning and development for businesses today. HR professionals need to help employees adapt to business changes and the use of new hybrid methods of onboarding and training employees will be required to ensure continuity in any crisis. Immersive and interactive platform will ensure that onboarding goes on regardless of distance, that talent development programs can scale and that both innovation and productivity levels remain high across geographies and cultures.