Consumerization at its Finest: Virtual, Self-Paced Training

Chalk up another win for Consumerization — and for anyone who has welcomed it into their business. Global access and full control over self-paced training isn’t the way of the future anymore. It’s here right now, and it’s what businesses expect out of learning programs.

It shouldn’t be a surprise, really. We are in the consumerization age. And until you can anticipate what your internal and external users want and need before they themselves even know—being able to quickly deliver on consumer demand is the key to success.

The effects of consumerization on education and training in particular are not only enormous, they were developing in the classroom long before the term was ever coined by IT analysts. From PowerPoint replacing poster board, to SMART boards replacing overhead projectors, and tablets replacing textbooks—the in-classroom experience has been improving for decades.

In looking at the evolution of the business classroom experience, I would argue that our adoption of virtual learning has lagged behind our educational counterparts. Streaming audio/video, chat windows, and downloadable content are all commonplace online. Even virtual training’s main selling point, not having to physically travel to a classroom to get hands-on experience with software, has started to lose a bit of its excitement to both students and instructors alike.

Training departments often feel neglected by IT, because they are seldom prioritized as heavily as production-level business applications. But effective training is critical to the success of any business that relies upon putting technology in the hands of customers and employees.

Setting aside the travel cost/time required for employees to attend a physical computer lab, virtual training still requires blocking off consecutive hours or even days from existing professional and personal schedules—something that many students and instructors find incredibly difficult if not impossible. As priorities change and new responsibilities arise, students may find themselves unable to adhere to a previously agreed upon training schedule, and therefore need to back out of a class, leaving empty lab seats.

When business students happen to find open time to attend a class, they can’t alert an instructor with enough advance notice to secure a seat in the class. Due to hardware and lab environment provisioning constraints, each of these situations results in both a loss of training effectiveness, and revenue.

Enter consumerization’s latest awesomely disruptive creation: self-paced virtual training labs in the cloud with Skytap Environments-as-a-Service.

Obviously I’m a little biased, but it’s hard to not marvel at:

  • Full administrator and instructor control over unlimited lab resources and classroom sizes without IT intervention
  • The ability to make changes to labs, watch what students are doing and troubleshoot student issues on the fly
  • A truly hands-on lab experience that mirrors using production-level software and websites
  • Labs that can be suspended in one part of the world, and resumed later from another global cloud region without latency

We just came out of an excellent Skytap customer session on the specific needs of virtual training environments, and the enthusiasm for advanced self-paced training for business has never been greater. We’ll cover some of these customer stories and observations in a future post.

Want to learn how you can reach more students, more cost efficiently, and with better training? Download “Virtual Training Labs—Delivering Hands On Classrooms in Cloud Environments” or contact Skytap today!

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