The world of IT training is in the midst of an evolution. The successful adoption of video instructor-led training (VILT) fulfills the customer need and is a result of the convergence of timing and technology. New and innovative opportunities are being created for businesses to provide infrastructure to companies that deliver the training and customers who have unprecedented access to training at a lower cost.
The most commonly used infrastructure for VILT is the traditional video conferencing setup, which facilitates two-way communication between the instructor and the students. Until recently, very few companies have been able to afford the cost of the hardware and networking infrastructure to provide a quality experience. However, within the last two years, new players have come into the market providing ubiquitous access to two-way video communication using disruptive pricing to gain market share. Extremely inexpensive license models are showing up in the market, with no initial investment, no overhead costs and excellent HD quality video services. Similar to today’s SaaS (software as a service) models, the business model relies on large-scale adoption to succeed. New technologies in the area of virtualization and networking, as well as cost reduction, provides an opportunity for this model to succeed.
The companies that deliver the training will arguably be the biggest benefactors of this format, with a major caveat that they must stay focused on the customer experience, rather than viewing the format as a pure cost saving opportunity. Successful companies will recognize that it’s about making the training available and accessible in order to grow their class size which will lead to profitability and long term sustainability. All the same principles of the traditional instructor-led training (TILT) must apply. Students must be welcomed, comfortable and engaged. Class sizes must be determined by the optimum learning experience, not by the technical limitations, which with modern technology is virtually infinite. Ultimately, technology must not overshadow the purpose of the training, since the best technologies are the ones that people forget they are using. There are many new opportunities for delivery organizations to provide exceptional and personalized class experiences for their customers, more so than having their customers come to their training centers.
The most important piece is fulfilling the customer need. VILT would not have been successful in the IT training world prior to 2007. The perception at the time was that online and self-paced training was sub-standard and taken instead of, or in addition to, TILT. Since 2008, not only were training and travel budgets slashed, delivery companies couldn’t get critical mass in their classrooms which resulted in mass cancelations for customers across the globe. Delivery companies were going under, causing further reduction in the availability of training for the customer. This created a situation where customers were open to the possibility of a VILT environment because they had no other way to get the TILT.
Assuming the delivery organization has adhered to the customer experience requirements, they have solved a major problem for the customer as they are able to provide a solution that was becoming increasingly unavailable. Other benefits include a lower overall cost, less hassle due to the elimination of travel and the ability for international students to collaborate on projects in class, something that they couldn’t do in a TILT environment due to travel cost restrictions.
With the level of adoption and innovation currently going on in the IT training industry, it is unlikely that customers will return to the TILT environment even in a vibrant economy. VILT isn’t the future, it’s the present and it’s here to stay.
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