Virtual training occurs via a virtual or simulated environment when learners and instructors or trainers are in different physical locations. And while virtual training environments typically allow for more flexible learning options (for both trainers and learners) and can be more cost-effective for organizations, there are a few disadvantages to virtual training you might want to consider before implementing it.
Below are five potential disadvantages you might experience when you implement virtual training—depending on how you design, promote, administer, and update your virtual training content, modules, and courses on an ongoing basis.
1. Unrealistic or Irrelevant Simulations
It’s imperative to create virtual experiences that are relevant to your learners’ career trajectories, interests, or everyday work environments. Otherwise, your learners will find the virtual environments you worked hard to create and promote boring or irrelevant, and they won’t engage with your virtual training.
For instance, you can create gamified simulations that help your customer care representatives handle realistic and difficult customer concerns in the moment throughout their onboarding process. And you can create virtual training sessions for your remote employees who are learning how to navigate a new software your organization has implemented to help them with their everyday work.
2. Doesn’t Highlight or Reflect Your Organization’s Culture or Structure
If you decide to purchase prefabricated virtual training modules or courses or curate virtual learning content for your learners to access, make sure it matches your organization’s culture and brand.
For example, you may not want your virtual training sessions to highlight corporate principles and profit-generating practices if you run a nonprofit. You’ll also want to make sure you can include your organization’s logo and branding in your virtual training materials and that you can create or modify your own virtual training sessions that highlight your company’s individual principles, policies, etc.
3. Limited Types of Feedback and Engagement
While learners can access recorded virtual training modules when and where they want, learners aren’t always able to ask their trainers in-the-moment questions and receive instant answers to help them better understand the learning content in front of them. Learners must simply complete virtual training sessions as they’re designed and must complete each learning task without deviation. This may result in learners having a limited understanding of different material and content that’s covered in virtual training environments.
4. Increases Learners’ Isolation
If there isn’t an active and engaging online forum inside virtual training environments where learners can ask one another or their trainers questions on a real-time and ongoing basis, they may start to feel isolated in their learning environment. This may cause some learners to disengage with what they’re learning entirely and can lead to them having a limited understanding of the learning material they’re encountering.
5. Technical Issues
By their very nature, virtual learning environments and platforms are subject to technical issues, such as security, network, and bandwidth glitches. Make sure you’re aware of the types of issues your virtual training platform is most likely to experience so that you can prevent them from happening or quickly correct them when they do happen.
As you begin to implement your virtual training, consider the five possible disadvantages listed above so that you can better circumvent them.