20+ years ago, Computer Based Training (CBT) was predicted to replace Instructor-Led Training (ILT). Then it was branded e-Learning. Now it’s Virtual Learning (and simulations, AI, etc.) or Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT). None of this is new, it merely took a global pandemic for it to gain widespread application. The questions then are:
- Should/will this method of delivering learning programs stay as prevalent, and
- How do we show that it’s just as good or even better?
The answer, as with many things we are facing today, is “it depends.” Let’s look at some of the things we can evaluate and analyze to make decisions and act.
Standard Measures Still Apply
First, keep looking at standard measures such as courseware, perceived value, instructor quality, learning effectiveness, and of course, job application. Regardless of delivery method, these measures remain applicable and relevant. Let’s remember the main goals of any training are to 1. Teach new skills/knowledge that is relevant and timely; 2. Apply the new skills knowledge back on the job as soon as possible; 3. Show impact to job and/or business performance.
The measures then can be equally compared against ILT and VILT. Are the scores close or far apart? Is the content similar or completely different? If the scores are close, is that good enough? Remember, there is a difference between statistical significance and practical or business significance. If average scores are within .25 on a 5-point scale or so, you might think that’s a wide margin; however, given cost savings and actual outcomes, it could be negligible.
What Explorance is seeing across our clients is that:
- Scores between delivery methods are indeed close.
- In VILT over the last 6 months, we see that KPIs such as NPS is going down a bit.
- However, others such as Scrap Learning, Performance Improvement, and even Instructor Quality remains the same or have even improved.
It is through robust and consistent measurement and management of programs that the transition from ILT to VILT has enabled such positive outcomes. Think back even five years ago and ask yourself if you would predict KPIs to be this close between these different delivery methods. The question that remains is if this trend is sustainable and what other unintended consequences could surface.
Training Still Needs to Drive Outcomes
Second, it’s becoming more critical to look at business outcomes and impacts of training and see if they are occurring based on training (or at least with a correlation). The suggestion isn’t to conduct ROI studies on every program. Instead, see if you’re designing virtual training for some specific, measurable outcomes tied to the business. Whether it is tied to products, initiatives, or people – are these outcomes happening regardless of delivery method?
Learning and development•Metrics That Matter•Virtual learning•