Virtual IT Labs: What They Are, Their Benefits & Use Cases
The Challenges of traditional software training
Modern learners are bombarded by a constant stream of information. They are always connected and online and have access to the latest, greatest technological innovations at their fingertips. With increasingly limited attention spans, delivering software and technical training that engages learners enough to make them put their devices down and concentrate on your course material is a challenge.
Traditional methods of software training that ask learners to sit in a classroom, listen to an instructor, and consume an overwhelming amount of information within a set period of time are not effective. They are also time-consuming, expensive to set up and run, and complicated to manage.
Instructor-led, classroom-based training also neglects the basic need to learn by doing. Learners don’t retain information or understand how a product works just by reading datasheets, watching videos or simulations of your software, or listening to instructors walk through PowerPoints.
Delivering this training to users spread across the globe, in different departments, for different use cases puts a strain on increasingly tight training budgets.
That’s where implementing a virtual IT labs solution can help by delivering real-world, engaging training in a scalable, fast and personalized way across the globe.
What are virtual IT labs?
Virtual IT labs provide learners with immersive, hands-on training in a lab environment using the same software and scenarios that they will have access to in their day-to-day roles. A lab environment is a group of physical and/or virtual computers that have been set up to test or develop applications.
Instructors can set up sandbox environments for learners, allowing them to play around as much as necessary without worrying that they will pose a risk to the company’s production IT infrastructure.
With cloud-based virtual IT labs, there is no need to install software on a computer, and learners can complete training from any device, anytime, wherever they are. All they need is a browser and an internet connection.
There are no technological constraints, and instructors don’t have to spend valuable training time ensuring learners are able to use the software, or troubleshooting any issues regarding permissions or different hardware and software requirements.
What are the benefits of virtual IT labs?
Most people learn by doing, and this is especially true when trying to get up to speed with new software or new features.
Virtual IT labs provide that practical experience as well as delivering a more memorable experience than videos or text. It’s easier for instructors, as they can spend more time offering advice on the scenarios, rather than fixing technological problems.
Here are some other ways virtual IT labs benefit your business.
Provide personalized learning
With virtual IT labs, you can create a personalized, cloud-based learning environment with the click of a button. You can spin up as many virtual labs as you need without any help from IT with different versions of your software in different states, which means you can deliver learning that is tailored to the needs of each individual learner. For example, you can create beginner and advanced courses, and allow students to start at different entry points.
Deliver exceptional learning experience
Learners can complete training at their own pace, and spend as long as they need to on different sections of your courses. As the training delivered through virtual IT labs allows learners to use your software in a realistic setting, they can learn how to use more of the product and its features, and understand how it will improve the way carry out their work on a day-to-day basis.
Achieve training goals
Virtual labs can help learners achieve their goals and improve performance. In a recent survey, two-thirds of learners said that using virtual labs rather than traditional classroom training methods helps them achieve what’s important to them, accomplish their goals faster, and has a tangible and positive impact on their performance.
Measure training impact
With virtual IT labs’ in-built analytics features, you can track how many labs have been started from a project, and how many times each student has accessed their lab. As instructors can access learners’ labs remotely, they can track course progress, and easily troubleshoot any problems. Adjustments can be made on-the-go based on the insight into the impact of each course on learners.
Listen to the webinar to find out more about the benefits of virtual labs
Virtual IT labs: Use Cases
Virtual IT labs can be used both to train employees internally, as well as to deliver training externally to partners and suppliers, as well as for lead gen and sales enablement (both pre– and post-sales), and for improving customer support.
Here are some important use cases for virtual IT labs:
- New hire onboarding
- Employee product training
- Skills development
- Developer code testing
- Reduce churn and support tickets
- Generate leads and close sales
- Post-sales training
- Partner training
Read more about the virtual IT labs use cases
Virtual IT Labs: Case Studies
Leading companies have already deployed Appsembler’s Virtual Labs solution in a range of different use cases. Find out how these organizations have transformed the way they deliver training, and the benefits they are seeing.
Big data company Intersystems uses virtual IT labs to let prospects try out the software before they buy it. It also redesigned its internal training program using Open edX and virtual IT labs platform to provide immersive, individualized, and online lab environments.
According to Doug Foster, Manager, Online Learning at Intersystems, using virtual IT labs has actually made their own product better. “Because we use it so much with our learners, that feedback goes back into our own product and makes it run better,” he said.
In-memory database platform Redis Labs used virtual labs to create its online training portal Redis University. The courses delivered through this portal help generate leads as the company can get an overview of the most engaged users, and pass this information to the sales team.
Redis Labs also used virtual IT labs to improve the experiences of trainees and trainers at its annual conference called RedisConf by eliminating hardware and software setup.
Take Your Training to the Next Level
Virtual IT labs can vastly improve the way you deliver your software training by overcoming the challenges of catering to modern learners and the fast pace of innovation. They not only enable anytime, anywhere software training but also provide a more immersive, hands-on, and personalized learning experience while saving your IT team time and money.
Appsembler Virtual Labs can provide all of this and more, to truly transform your training, from the ground up.
If you’d like to understand more about the benefits of using Appsembler Virtual Labs for your online training environment, get in touch to schedule a demo.