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January 24, 2014

Are Virtual Environments the Future of Leadership Training?

Business

Jeff Cochran

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Businesses are searching for a more effective way to conduct leadership training using virtual environments. Learning in virtual environments has many benefits, as training sessions can be led completely online and a wide range of simulations can be created for more effective lessons. Read on to learn more about how virtual environments are being used in leadership training, why companies and organizations are benefiting from this new movement, and how you can implement these strategies at your organization.

 Effective Leadership Training & Virtual Environments

A recent study conducted by ON24 and Training Industry, Inc. uncovers the importance of effective leadership training for organizations and discusses how virtual environments allow them to create more effective, efficient leadership training. Overall, leadership training is an estimated $2 billion industry in the U.S., which means maximizing ROI in this area is critical. While the organizations in the study were investing about $684 in leadership training per employee, the largest obstacle to the effectiveness of that training was sustaining its impact over time.

However, for organizations that use virtual environments for leadership training, those undergoing the training rated it as more effective. Furthermore, the study found that effective companies invest 44% more in leadership training than ineffective companies. This study shows that effective leadership training is important for business success, and using virtual environments leads to more effective training.

How Virtual Environments Are Being Used

When virtual environments are used for leadership training, this training is most commonly conducted through simulations. In the military, simulation-based training is used to both practice and develop the skills that soldiers need to succeed. There are many advantages to using such simulations in leadership training. Simulation-based training is beneficial because it can be completely customized to meet the needs of the trainee. Furthermore, research shows that it is helpful for those undergoing such training to watch themselves perform tasks in the virtual environment, as this allows for greater reflection on the process.

Building Virtual Teamwork

When it comes to virtual leadership training, the most important element is building virtual teamwork. However, there are a few challenges faced by virtual teams that are important to keep in mind when implementing these strategies at your organization.

  • Communication: While virtual communication can be difficult, there are a number of tools that your organization can utilize to alleviate this challenge. The key is to ensure that you are using the right tools for each individual situation.
  • Trust: Building trust can also be a major challenge in building virtual teamwork, particularly when team members come from different cultures. It is important to ensure that the manager in the situation invests in relationships with the virtual team and is prepared to work with individuals from diverse backgrounds.
  • Management: Finally, managing virtually can also be a significant challenge. Fortunately, studies have shown that employees who work from home actually work harder, which means that less management is necessary.
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