A virtual learning environment (VLE) in the workplace refers to an online platform that offers a learning portal for employees.
Virtual learning can be used to regularly train and track the progress of the workforce with ease. It also allows workers to progress at their own pace and means that training content is easily accessible through a device connected to the internet, wherever they are.
Why is virtual learning beneficial in the workplace?
Virtual learning does not discriminate. It allows workers of all capabilities to progress at their own pace. It allows them extra time to effectively learn with the option to spend longer on topics that they are unsure of and conduct deeper research.
Virtual learning is highly accessible. The majority of people now have regular access to a smartphone, a tablet or a computer, meaning learning can happen whenever and wherever, at the employee’s convenience. This means that your workers can access their virtual learning materials at a time and place that is best for them.
The use of virtual learning materials can also assist in identifying individuals who have shown a flair for the course content and have a desire to learn more than others, for example, through accessing additional and optional course content or tests. These individuals can then be further developed in order to encourage them to act as tutors for other employees with the potential to grow into future managers.
In comparison to traditional classroom learning, virtual learning platforms can be easily and quickly updated to offer the most recent materials and information. This prevents your learning materials from becoming irrelevant and ensures they remain interesting and engaging for your workforce.
The method of virtual learning is also considered to be highly appropriate for Millennials and Generation Z employees, due to the native approach to technology. These generations, in particular, are used for accessing personalised information at their convenience, so any workplace looking to modernise should consider virtual learning to overhaul their current training systems.
What does virtual learning entail?
There is a whole host of mediums that can be incorporated into your virtual learning environment, to ensure that workers of all learning preferences have access to an option most suitable to their needs.
Video content is highly accessible and is one of the favoured mediums used across social media. Therefore incorporating videos into your virtual learning platforms, is one of the best ways to educate the younger generation utilising a method that they’re familiar with and prefer to engage with. Video can also break down large subjects into short videos that easily dictate the key points by incorporating useful visuals accompanied by narration.
Interaction is a great way to get your employees to engage with virtual learning. Utilising live video to schedule Q&A’s can be a great way to open the dialogue for debates, without needing to be in the same room as other learners and lecturers. Stimulating interactive resources that require learners to make decisions in pretend scenarios or include role-play situations can assist in building leadership skills in controlled conditions.
Feedback is often much easier through virtual learning. Not only can employees work at their own pace, but they can more easily record their progress in real time. Teachers can feedback on this progress more effectively with a documented track record, alongside test results and students comments.
How can HR professionals manage virtual learning systems?
Virtual learning environments are now considered more easily accessible and are becoming more economically friendly for businesses, in the long term. If a business does not have a large training budget, there are now an increasing number of sites online that offer free or greatly reduced training, uploaded by individuals such as lecturers and industry professionals.
HR professionals should aim to create a catalogue of virtual learning options for their business. This should look to cater for various learning styles, different age groups and education levels. Once set pathways with materials to achieve specific goals have been defined, managers should look to apply targets for individual learners to ensure their career progression is a personalised experience.
Not only is virtual learning ideal for existing employees in many ways, but it is also beneficial during the onboarding process for new employees. Customised virtual learning systems can define learning styles, set expectations of the business, promote the company culture and ensure that new staff have access to materials such as FAQs at all times. Including materials that cover these topics within a virtual learning system, can make starting work at a business less daunting for new employees and demonstrates a well-considered support system.