logo image

ATD Blog

Virtual Learning Labs Ease Internal, External Training Challenges During COVID-19


Wed Oct 21 2020

Virtual Learning Labs Ease Internal, External Training Challenges During COVID-19

Much like the nuance behind the classic phrase, “It’s not what you say, but how you say it,” companies are finding that the shift from traditional in-person training to modern on-demand virtual learning platforms can vary widely depending upon the audience being trained—for instance, whether learners are internal (such as employees) versus external (such as customers or partners).

While an agile workforce has always needed an on-demand virtual training option, pandemic-driven remote work mandates make it a must-have. If they haven’t already, organizations in every industry are evaluating training platforms to determine which fits best for internal and external training needs.


Business Models Matter When Choosing the Right Training Partner and Platform

The biggest factor driving training transformations is whether an organization plans to monetize training for a profit. Now that work-from-anywhere-at-anytime has become the norm, those watching the bottom line will never allow balance sheets to again reflect large capital expenditures on training-associated expenses.

If an organization is profit-driven (for example, selling software or another tangible product for use or resale), the question becomes how an on-demand learning platform can help it grow and expand training through current and new offerings, with the goal of reaching new customers and generating revenue. If an organization’s endgame is internal training (such as a healthcare, financial services, or manufacturing company implementing an internal application for use), the goal is generally less about profit and more about educating to speed adoption.

Either way, companies have realized that taking advantage of on-demand, collaborative e-learning labs that accelerate retention and productivity—while reducing the inefficiency, cost, and in-person requirements of traditional teaching methods—are core to their training transformation and the ability to expand market share. Furthermore, the pandemic forced a new approach to concepts like reskilling, upskilling, and skill matching, resulting in a global movement where people need and want to learn more. If companies don’t tap into that energy, they’ll fall behind and not only lose competitive advantage, but valuable employees, customers, or partners in the process.

A Look at an Internal Training Transformation: Parkland Health and Hospital System

Since 1894, Dallas-based Parkland Health and Hospital System has grown to one of the largest public hospital systems in the country, averaging more than 1 million patient visits annually. Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic demanded a change in the way Parkland trained more than 400 new residents under social distancing restrictions. Staff was still required to effectively use electronic healthcare records, imaging devices, mobile health apps, and more. If those systems were used incorrectly, the result could be catastrophic to patient care and billing, and lead to costly legal issues.

Parkland leveraged a virtual training platform to meet this demand. With a more realistic training environment than generic collaboration tools like Zoom, Parkland fostered employee engagement and increased knowledge retention so students were prepared for real-world scenarios. Parkland instructors were able to teach large numbers of students at the same time while still providing personalized “over-the-shoulder” instruction and screen control when needed.


In Parkland’s case, the move to a modern, on-demand training platform guaranteed that medical and administrative teams could remain up to date on the latest software technologies and patient care solutions throughout the pandemic.

A Hybrid Approach: Neotys’s Internal and External Training Innovation

Given the pandemic-forced shift to working, shopping, and doing everything remotely, companies now desperately rely on their websites to drive loyalty and revenue. Performance testing of websites (and the enterprise mobile apps that keep businesses afloat) has become a top IT priority that sustains (and even increases) budget.

That reality meant increased business for Neotys, the creator of the performance testing platform NeoLoad. Neotys’s IT challenge of making sure internal and external constituents could ramp up on and resell NeoLoad became an HR challenge in how to train distributed employees, partners, and customers on when the company had traditionally conducted training in-person on-site.

Neotys moved to a cloud-native, comprehensive learning lab to train and collaborate with groups of any size, in any location, with minimal manual effort. Neotys delivered high-quality content without wasting time configuring complex training environments. Consistently delivering seamless virtual learning expanded Neotys’s ability to bring its performance testing products to the market.

While the pandemic will eventually subside, critical evolutions in enterprise training and development are here to stay. Collaboration, productivity, and efficiency (regardless of geolocation) have been proven stronger when virtual on-demand learning labs are in place.


You've Reached ATD Member-only Content

Become an ATD member to continue

Already a member?Sign In


Copyright © 2024 ATD

ASTD changed its name to ATD to meet the growing needs of a dynamic, global profession.

Terms of UsePrivacy NoticeCookie Policy