Posts Tagged VILT

The #1 Challenge: Clinging to the walls of the classroom


For as many decades as companies have invested in training, that training has primarily been delivered in the physical classroom.  This requires recipients to put aside their usual work activities for a few days and make the trek to sit in such a classroom with a group of peers for a day or two to receive their training.

Technology has massively and unprecedentedly changed the world in which we now live, work, and play.  Encyclopedia Britannica, which was the primary source of knowledge for many since the late 18th century, ceased publication in 2010.  People now instantly network, chat and collaborate with others around the world using handheld devices.  Individuals can learn, using those same handheld devices, about almost anything through YouTube and user forums across the internet, regardless of time and place. So, why do so many people still think of the physical classroom as the way in which to deliver training, or at the very least the benchmark to which other modalities should aspire?

Let’s examine the efficacy of the classroom.  The traditional classroom forces us to batch up the training into a linear stream of information that will be passed onto recipients all at the same time, at the same rate, over a few consecutive days.  During this time, trainees don’t have the chance to reflect on new ideas or to try new approaches.  We know that most of the trainees won’t have the chance to apply anything more than a small percentage of the content within a matter of a week or two, and we also know that if they don’t, then the chance of doing so at a later date are equally small.  As well, many of the trainees, if asked at lunch on the first day of training, how the course is going, will answer that “it’s a bit slow, they have learned nothing new, and are hoping that the pace will pick up”.

The ROI from the majority of traditional classroom training is surely extremely low when we look at the total cost and time versus the actual impact on performance.  Yet, many cling to the walls of the classroom refusing to believe that technology enabled training alternatives will be effective.  When you consider this in the face of how people are living and learning in today’s technology enabled world, it seems nothing short of ludicrous.

So much can be gained by understanding the three primary reasons for this reluctance to change and by overcoming them.  These reasons are:

1. Resistance to Change

People are always resistant to change.  The FAX machine was patented before the telephone but it still took decades for faxes to replace Telex’s.  As another example, not every organization will accept signatures electronically and still insist on a FAX. We have to treat the transition out of the classroom as a significant exercise in change management.

2. Re-architecting Training

Training courses that have been designed for the classroom are exactly that.  They are optimized, and indeed compromised, for classroom delivery.  They tend to be continuous and linear streams of information delivered within the confines of time and place.  This is not the starting point for technology-enabled training. If all we do is take a program designed for the physical classroom, and try to deliver it through a technology based medium, we are almost bound to fail.  Training must be rethought, re-architected and redesigned for technology-based delivery.  It can, and indeed must, be delivered in short learning experiences; it should be integrated with application; it should enable collaboration and discussion; and it should deliver the training when and where it is required.

3. Quality of Content

The final reason we cling to the walls of the physical classroom is simply because it keeps our trainees captive.  To put it bluntly, the training is either so poor or the trainees motivation towards the training so weak, that we have to hold them captive to administer it.  Of course you may have the physical body captive but there is no guarantee that the mind is there.

We must fully embrace new technology enabled training opportunities.  As L&D professionals we are not leading the way, we are playing catch up to where the world already is.  But, we must take on responsibility for the change management, for re-architecting our learning programs, and for ensuring the relevance and quality of the training to the learner.


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3g Selling Joins ASTD Sales Training Drivers for Virtual Sales Training Webinar


Wednesday, April 27, 2011
10:00-11:00 a.m. PT / 1:00-2:00 p.m. ET
Register for the webinar

In this complimentary webinar hosted by ASTD Sales Training Drivers, Martyn Lewis—principal of 3g Selling and a respected thought leader on the topic of live virtual sales training—examines the formidable challenges facing sales and learning leaders in their quest for a truly effective sales training solution.

Martyn lays out a compelling case for how a live virtual training approach can deliver superior training results and business impact, greater cost savings and near-limitless geographic reach—all while engaging sales people, keeping them in the field and equipping them with the tools and approaches they need to succeed.

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3g Selling Joins Training Magazine and Knoodle for Virtual Training Webinar

Engage and Inspire Learners--Virtually3g Selling’s Martyn Lewis will team up with Training magazine and Knoodle for an exclusive webinar on Wednesday, April 13, 2011 at 10:00 a.m. PST.

Register for the webinar here.

The webinar, entitled Engage & Inspire Learners—Virtually, covers how to enliven both the virtual classroom and self-paced computer training to create a richer learning experience.

Martyn Lewis, virtual training thought leader and founder of 3g Selling, will demonstrate:

  • Bold new strategies for delivering the live virtual classroom
  • Delivery approaches gleaned from broadcast media
  • The integration of video, dialogue, and teamwork
  • How an ongoing learning community can augment the live virtual classroom

Knoodle speaker Kelly Smith will discuss:

  • Advantages of online self-paced learning environments
  • Case study on how the HOPE Project at the University of California, San Diego, has successfully and engagingly delivered continuing medical education for board certification to more than 1,000 doctors and clinicians
  • Demonstration on how to integrate audio, video, and presentations to create engaging online learning courses in minutes

Please join us for this lively and informative session!

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On-Demand Webinar: Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom

On Thursday 3.17.2011, 3g Selling broadcast a new webinar, “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom: A Vision for Continuous Learning in a Technology-Enabled World.”

We’ve made a recording of that webinar available here, together with other webinar resources.

Thanks to the hundreds of learning and development leaders who registered for and attended the webinar. What an exciting dialogue we started about the future of live virtual training!

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New 3g Selling Webinar: “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom”

We’re very pleased to announce  a new webinar from 3g Selling titled “Breaking Down the Walls of the Physical Classroom: A Vision for Continuous Learning in a Technology Enabled World.” It will be broadcast on Thursday, March 17, 2011 from 10:00-11:00 a.m. PT.

Register for the webinar here.

This webinar is a must-attend event for L&D leaders and training decision-makers looking to optimize and increase the impact of their overall training mix. We look forward to having you at the event.

Webinar Description
As workforces have become more geographically dispersed, more mobile and more reliant upon multi-threaded, continuous learning approaches, live virtual training is beginning to take center stage in the organizational training strategy. Simultaneously—and for precisely the same reasons—the effectiveness and relevance of physical classroom training has diminished greatly.

In this exclusive webinar, Martyn Lewis, Principal at 3g Selling, will explore key societal and learning trends that have fundamentally changed the way training experiences must be designed and delivered.

Focusing on learner engagement and motivation, the webinar will provide a pragmatic perspective on today’s numerous learning modalities and which work best for different learners in different contexts. We’ll then look at how—with live virtual as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy—these modalities can fit together to create an effective and continuous learning environment.

In the webinar, you will see and learn:

  • Societal and learning trends that have changed the face of training
  • How and why live virtual training has emerged as the centerpiece of the organizational training strategy
  • Why physical classroom training has diminished in effectivenss and relevance
  • What drives learner motivation and engagement in today’s world
  • The different manifestations of virtual: why real-time collaboration and interaction is still crucial to training results
  • How numerous training modalities can fit into your overall training mix to create an optimal (and ongoing) training experience

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On the Internet, Expect To Cut Your Profit Margins by Half

The New Economic Reality of Virtual Services

In the days when I used Increase ROI with Live Virtual Trainingto sell computer solutions to Fortune 500 companies, a 50 percent profit margin was the norm. That kind of mark-up is hard to achieve today, and in fact, for almost everything delivered online – software, media, and services such as sales training – profit margins have been slashed from a high of 50 percent or more down to 20 percent or less. (In this world, even Google’s margin of 30 percent is considered extraordinary.)

In the case of sales training, clients aren’t willing to pay as much if it’s delivered virtually rather than face-to-face. That’s because people tend to think virtual training won’t be as good. They also think it costs less to produce something online than in a physical location. In fact, both preconceptions are false.

At 3g Selling, for example, participants in our virtual sales training program consistently achieve far higher retention of the material compared with those taking similar programs offered in a physical classroom. Our program is conducted live in bite-size chunks over a period of several weeks to ensure retention and ongoing work application. When the same content is delivered in a physical classroom over a period of days, most of the knowledge is lost within a period of weeks.

The other misconception about virtual programs is cost. At 3g Selling, our sales training is conducted online in five 75-minute modules. Each program is live and led by a trained delivery team, which includes a host, subject expert, and producer, who runs the backend of the session and engages participants through chat. The costs for producing each module are significant, yet to stay competitive, our price remains lower than similar training programs, whether physical or virtual. (On top of the low price for virtual training, our clients save as much as 45 percent because there’s no travel or lost work time.)

As a long-time entrepreneur, I’m learning the new realities of revenue generation on the Internet. The days of earning high profits for services are rapidly diminishing. In the training business, we are getting ahead of the curve by offering a better product at a cheaper price. That means we will exist on lower margins. It also shifts the emphasis from IP to operational excellence. To make a profit in this new world we have to focus on logistics – using technology and process in innovative ways.

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Startup America Needs to Take Virtual Training Seriously

The IDC predicts that by 2013, at least 75 percent of the U.S. workforce will be made up of mobile workers.

Startup AmericaThis week, President Obama announced the launch of Startup America, a national campaign to celebrate, inspire, and accelerate high-growth entrepreneurship. A partnership between private companies, such as IBM and Intel, and public organizations, such as the Small Business Administration, the campaign promises to provide both an economic and a social framework for economic growth and sustainable job creation.

What I hope Startup America supports is one of the fastest growing economic sectors in the world today: training knowledge workers. A major cost for companies is training: In 2009, more than $47 billion was spent in the U.S. for training services with outside vendors, and $126 billion was spent on training in total. Forty percent of these costs involved bringing participants to a physical classroom, where training takes place. Given the prediction by the IDC that by 2013, at least 75 percent of the U.S. workforce will be made up of mobile workers, it makes more sense to leverage technology for virtual training and save the expense of travel and time off work.

The next step for Startup America would be to include a roster of virtual training programs as an integral part of its support for startups and their staff. Besides saving time and money, virtual training has the potential to deliver a superior learning experience than does a physical classroom. A recent white paper 3g Selling coauthored with Citrix demonstrates that a best-in-class, instructor-led and live virtual training program can engage learners, increase the rate of program adoption and behavioral changes, and improve performance results.

What startups need besides money and mentorship is the ability to provide training quickly and effectively to an ever-growing pool of knowledge workers. We would hope that Facebook—a partner in Startup America, which is hosting a dozen or more Startup Days around the country to provide entrepreneurs access to expertise, resources, and engineers to help accelerate their businesses—will include virtual training vendors in its offerings. And although the field of virtual training is crowded, there is enough variety among training offerings—such as 3g Selling’s use of a broadcast studio format combined with live, virtual training—to satisfy and support startups, as well as established businesses, everywhere.

Martyn Lewis is a principal at 3g Selling, which provides clients with transformational sales training experiences delivered live over the web. For more information, visit

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Paradigm Shifts in Virtual Learning on Agenda at Two February Events

Training 2011 HeaderI’m very pleased to kick off the new 3g Selling blog with an announcement about two events we’ll be involved in coming up in February 2011.

3g Selling’s founding principal Martyn Lewis (who will be appearing regularly on this blog to share his vision for the new generation of live virtual training) will be a panelist at ASTD TechKnowledge in San Jose, CA and will be leading a session at Training 2011 in San Diego, CA. Here are the exact details:

ASTD TechKnowledge Session #FR206
Panel Discussion for the International Association for Live Virtual Training and Events (IALVTE)
Friday, February 4, 2011
San Jose Marriott, Salon V/VI
9:45 to 11:15 a.m

Training 2011 Conference & Expo
Pre-register for the session here
Innovating the Live Virtual Classroom: New Strategies to Engage, Motivate and Inspire
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
San Diego Convention Center, Room 30E
3:15-4:15 p.m.

For more information and session descriptions, click to read the full press release on both events.

Live virtual training is opening up new worlds of possibility for organizations looking to train their people better, faster and cheaper than they ever could before. 3g Selling’s mission at these events is share how to take live virtual to the next level in terms of training results and business impact. Hopefully we’ll see you there.

Barron Bixler
Director of Marketing

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