Not long ago, on-site training was the only method available for organizations in need of carrying out their corporate training sessions. The arrival of cloud computing has changed this radically and has brought about excellent benefits such as instant worldwide scale, cost control and a direct connection with learners.
With all these benefits, it’s no wonder that more and more organizations are shifting to cloud-based technical training sessions.
Cloud based labs are a great learning platform, especially for IT based trainings. They are cloud-based virtual machine environments, which learners are able to access through standard web browsers. Learners log on through a secure web browser to access one or more virtual machines. They can then work with the interface, just as it were a physical machine, under the guidance of instructors.
So how do you effectively use the cloud based labs for training? Here are a few best practices we found from working with virtual learning labs.
Make sure your learner practice outside the classroom
Cloud based labs exceed the virtual capabilities of a physical computer lab in terms of their accessibility to participants. You have the ability to keep the lab open indefinitely with a virtual learning lab. Use this to allow learners the time they need to access the lab outside of scheduled class times.
About 30-40% of learners, when given the opportunity, will access the lab outside of class. These learners, who need extra practice, want to experiment with the program or missed a portion of the lesson still has access to the lab after the scheduled hours of the class. This allows learners to study at their own pace and reinforce their own learning understanding, leading to an enhanced training outcome.
Use Learner experience as Resource
With a virtual lab, the instructor has the capability to see every learner’s screen, regardless of whether they are in the class or attending remotely. This is useful for spotting trends in the participants’ practices, seeing when someone needs help, and presenting to the rest of the class.
For example, if a learner has mastered a skill, the instructor can share that learner’s screen with the rest of the class. In the same way, if a participant encounters an error that others may encounter, an instructor can present their screen.
This feature creates an interactive environment, where each learner has the prospective to be a resource to the rest of the group.
Utilize Snapshots to create engaging approach to learning
One of the most important features of virtual learning labs is the potential to create “snapshots” of the systems. This saves the time and allows you to quickly revert or move forward. If a trainer wants to avoid steps in the program that the learners already know, they can set up multiple snapshots at key points in the process, and then skip from one to the other.
Snapshots also enables learners to see multiple paths from one starting point in the system, to show different ways to achieve the same result or show how one action in the machine can influence other points in the system. If you utilized fully, Snapshots can be one of the most influential elements of the cloud based labs.
Choosing a Right Vendor Matters
It is essential to assess each provider’s reputation and capabilities. When evaluating each Cloud-based lab provider, organizations should consider the following criteria:
- Does the provider’s vision and financial viability align with the firm’s business and IT objectives?
- Does the provider have a track record of service, either with the firm or in the industry marketplace?
- Does that track record show a positive history of the provider’s after-sales support, customer service, management and technical support?
The answers to above questions will help you in choosing the right vendor. Additionally, make sure you don’t need to rewrite or re-route anything, or change operating systems – Anyone who asks you to modify your existing enterprise application environment is making you do work to meet their needs, not yours.
Cloud based training labs are the future of the technical training industry. This robust platform allows learners to experience real on-job scenarios in a controlled environment. It is the computer classroom experience moved to a cloud-based virtual platform , where it can even be advanced to a physical environment. Keep these best practices in mind as you plan your own cloud based learning lab journey.
Are we missing on any of the important practices? Let us know by commenting below.