This article analyzes how beneficial browser-based hands-on labs can be for professional environments that use eLearning strategies, an advantageous methodology but sometimes challenging to set up. Should your company or EdTech initiative go for it?
A dictum that people in management positions should always follow as advice in any business is: Do not invest in something you don’t know. That’s what this article is for. Virtual labs are a handy tool when it comes to remote training and distance learning. Let’s get into: What are they? What are they useful for? Should companies and educators invest in these? Basically, virtual labs are online platforms users can access from anywhere on their computers. Once they enter these environments, they find all the tools required for the training and learning processes in simulated scenarios, gaining experience on how they would work in real life.
According to Christina Pavlou from TalentLMS, some of the cons of traditional “physical” labs are limited access, expensive materials, and a low priority for learning as companies don’t want to risk their equipment or resources unnecessarily. This makes browser-based virtual labs one of the best options for eLearning programs in general. Depending on the provider, they can give a very realistic approach to professional challenges.
When applied correctly, virtual labs can be a very effective learning experience. Companies that invest in virtual labs are also committed to their training system while doing responsible management of their resources. You can tell managers take this seriously when they put effort into polishing this kind of option for people who are just starting to work with them.
Virtual labs can really influence how people will develop their skills. Some of the benefits are:
- Safe environments
Everyone makes mistakes, especially when they’re learning, this is part of every training. However, virtual labs can decrease how these mistakes will impact our businesses. The main virtue of these labs is that they create a safe environment by building scenarios. Students or beginners can learn, experiment, and explore all they need without the risk of it somehow impacting the company’s program or resources.
Virtual labs can be built from scratch depending on your needs. This means that we can adapt speed, difficulty, or any other learning factor to our students or trainees. We can change scenarios and make them suitable depending on their training phase.
Yes, they are safe, but they can be very realistic. The main goal here is to provide the most lifelike experience so students become familiarized with what the market wants.
This is clearly a very beneficial option for practice-driven learning. The advantages they have to offer come from their modern standpoint, working as a showcase that companies are thinking about the future of their team training and the future of education.
Benefits For Companies Implementing Virtual Labs
Yes, they also have benefits for the company itself. If you teach either the subject or are constantly training new people on your team, this option could improve your whole process. Some of the ways to do so are:
- Reduced costs
It is expensive to build an entire facility, getting the equipment and its respective maintenance for the students takes a lot of effort and money. Instead, having all of that in a virtual platform is certainly cheaper.
- Reduce location issues
With browser-based labs, you don’t have to pay for transportation or location. Furthermore, it doesn’t matter if people are far or near, everyone can access the learning session as long as they have an internet connection and a device.
- It improves your team’s invaluable knowledge
If you have the tools to develop your team’s skills, you already have a great advantage. Every company depends a lot on their people’s skillsets and experience. So, investing in platforms to upgrade this process is definitely something to consider. In the long run, it will probably pay off.
In Conclusion: It All Depends On How You Use Them
Everybody, in any industry, can make use of these options to fit their own goals. It all depends on how you choose to use the tools and how to build them rather than on how others are using them. As mentioned before, the game-changing fact about virtual labs is that they allow entry-level professionals to acquire realistic experience without putting the company’s resources at risk.
Of course, no one learns better in life than by doing (i.e., getting practical experience). You will learn a foreign language quicker if you travel to where they speak it. This applies to almost anything. The thing is we don’t normally have a spare company and its resources to use for training. Having people from our team, equipment, and time to spend on training is always beneficial, but it can cost us a lot. Innovation is key and virtual labs are the demonstration.
However, for companies who want to invest in their internal training or educators looking to craft new learning models, one thing has to remain pivotal: Their training must be very practice-based, considering how the market works on each level. This way, learners will get a useful experience during the training phase without exhausting resources or impacting too strongly a company’s professional processes. A win-win-win situation, as far as I can see it.