Imagine a training tool that allows employees to connect to virtual machines in the cloud, interact with software without downloading it, and solve on-job scenarios in a protected and secure virtual environment. It’s not just an ideal to strive towards tomorrow, but a real technology that exists today.
Virtual labs are a powerful learning tool, especially for IT based training. They are cloud-based virtual machine environments, which learners are able to access through standard web browsers. Learners log on through a secure URL to access one or more virtual machines where they can break, fix and learn different on-job scenarios. A cloud-based training lab gives you the ability to deliver hands-on IT training to employees anywhere while eliminating infrastructure and setup costs.
So what is it that is so tempting about these cloud-based labs? Let’s look at some of the valid reasons as the popularity within the organization for the cloud-based labs soars.
Allows employees time out of class to practice
Virtual Learning Labs surpass the virtual capabilities of a physical computer lab in terms of their accessibility to participants. These labs can exist independently in the cloud, accessed across the world by different learners simultaneously. This provides an extremely versatile platform that can be utilized in either a remote virtual classroom, physical computer classroom, or a hybrid environment.
You have the ability to keep the lab open indefinitely with a virtual learning lab. You should allow learners the time they need to access the lab outside of scheduled class times.
Most of the 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 have access to the lab after the scheduled hours of the class. This allows learners to go at their own pace and reinforce their own learning experience, leading to an improved training outcome.
Dynamic & Interactive Environment
With a virtual lab, the instructor has the ability 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 potential to be a resource to the rest of the group.
Snapshots to create a lively approach to learning
One of the key features of virtual learning labs is the ability to create “snapshots” of the systems. This saves the state of the machine and allows you to quickly revert or move forward. If an instructor wants to bypass steps in the program that the learners already know, they can set up multiple snapshots at key points in the process, then skip from one to the other.
Snapshots also allow 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. Snapshots, when fully utilized, can be one of the most powerful elements of the virtual learning labs.
Fruitful employee-trainer relationship
Conventional classrooms usually force employees to work alone, since discussions amongst peers disturb others. Virtual training bypasses this challenge by enabling a peer feedback learning environment where trainees can easily collaborate and solve problems together. This method is especially effective in the context of software training and development, where having an “intellectual toolbox” at one’s access can be critical in creating an end-product.
Virtual training is not only tied to a physical campus, the same lab application can easily be made accessible even beyond the official training session. This opens up more learning opportunities and more trainer-employee engagement: instructors can send employees pre-course prep assignments, or allow employees to practice in the lab long after the course concludes.
Permits you to be creative
Cloud-based virtual labs are powerful systems that can be used for much more than simply allowing access to programs and software. These labs can be used in a creative way which can help you provide a well-rounded learning experience.
Because the system can be set up in a variety of ways, there are dozens of examples of innovative uses for virtual learning lab technology. For example, companies focusing on network security can set up purposefully unsecured networks for participants to learn how to secure them. Instructors can purposefully break systems, to show how it might look like when broken, then show the process for fixing the machine. Every training holds the opportunity for creative demonstrations and scenarios to augment the experience.
Virtual Labs are the future of the training. This powerful platform allows learners real-world experience in a controlled environment. It is the computer classroom experience moved to a cloud-based virtual platform, where it can even be superior to a physical environment.
An ever-increasing number of enterprises around the world are making the transition to incorporating cloud-based training in their organizational structure. It is certainly turning out to be a centralized platform that not only offers accessibility and centralization of information but is scalable and has a social platform too has to have a positive influence on organizational efficiency.