Delivering technical training effectively and efficiently is a major challenge for many training organizations. Choosing a right solution can make you scratch your head. Traditional computer labs, as in brick and mortar, are the ones who have shown the direction till now and will not go away soon.
But the fact remains, traditional computer labs require a significant investment in equipment and technical staff and require learners to travel to the lab. Most importantly, do they have critical value and serve as a credible model for supporting new innovative learning experience of – rich interactions, Hands-on approach with Measurable knowledge transfer.
Ok, take a Pause! Think if these conventional labs are blended with a virtual setting where trainees can actively learn, engage, and gain hands-on training. Yes, they do exist and they are known as Cloud-based Virtual labs. If you want to know more about these labs read our last blog what is Virtual training lab and why should you care?
Having said that training organizations trying to decide which labs are right for them, need to understand what the key differences are. To best understand the difference between the conventional labs and cloud-based labs a fair assessment is key. Let’s look at some of the key points that can help you understand the important differentiators and make the right choice.
Conventional labs can make you pay through the nose! These on-premise environments typically use only 20%-30% of their hardware resources at any one time. Not only does the organization have to pay for the unused hardware, but they are accountable for the maintenance and regular upgrades. With Cloud-based virtual labs, organizations only pay for the resources they use, leading to immediate savings.
Cloud- based labs are web-based platforms that require no software installation on your company’s hardware system. This removes the need to manage your own servers, which is especially significant if you don’t have the IT expertise or staff to handle a vast number of trainees. The software is managed and taken care by the provider helping you in significant savings and capital expenditures. According to elearningindustry.com, cloud-based online classes reduce training expenses by up to 50%.
With conventional labs, each trainee accesses a laboratory application running on a specific operating system and hardware configuration. To offer the application on different operating systems the hardware configuration requires modifying the parameters to suit the new environments, as well as on-going maintenance which can be costly. These multiple environments can quickly confound set-up and lead to turmoil.
With cloud-based labs, configuration is easy. You simply install your lab application once in the cloud environment, clone it and send each trainee a URL complete with a unique, pre-installed and configured training application. The operating systems and hardware used is irrelevant because the application does not reside on your computers. All of the learning takes place online and the resulting data is stored in the cloud.
Monitor Anytime Anywhere Anyone
Before a class starts, instructors will invariably want to control what students can access, when they can access it and are they accessing in a right way. In a conventional training environment, instructors are only able to monitor the progress of one student at a time.
With Cloud-based labs, your trainers get full access to user settings. Through real-time thumbnail, instructor can see thumbnail views of each student’s virtual lab session from a single webpage anytime & anywhere. Trainers find this feature very valuable since it gives them quick insight into what students are doing during the assigned labs. This added advantage allows trainers to help all students in a timely matter, guaranteeing that everyone maximizes the value of their training.
Self-paced & Hands-on Training
The most noticeable absence from the conventional labs training is the Hands-on experience. While learning through the labs, it’s essential for trainees to practice the real scenario. It is important for trainees to get “I do and I understand” environment rather than just encountering “I see and I remember” environment. No matter how good the training session is, if the trainee misses on the hands-on experience retention rates suffer and skills are not learned.
Cloud-based labs change this equation totally. With virtual labs, trainees encounter the practical experience of the process which he/she are studying. These labs enable trainees to practice complex environment, simultaneously encouraging instructor and trainee engagement. Additionally, cloud-based labs allow trainees to learn at their own pace and own time ensuring the other commitment don’t get hampered.
The above points clearly show the difference, ranging from logistical to financial between conventional labs and cloud-based training labs. Conventional training methods, when compared, have large upfront costs and capacity limits. The size of the training room, server inventory, and trainee headcount are all constrained in conventional campuses. Real quick and easy setup, hassle-free maintenance, cost cutting and fruitful engagement between trainees and instructor are some of the attributes cloud-based labs bring on the plate.
Cloud based labs are proving to be the innovative alternative for many training organization, as they are implemented by many, and have shown notable results time and again. Not only are trainees more engaged in what they are learning, and truly retaining the information, but it is much more convenient and cost-efficient.
So there you have it a clear Winner – Cloud-based virtual labs – all-in-one management portal for trainers, and organized access to the student. All you need to do is go and talk to the cloud-based labs provider.