Virtual Learning 2.0

Virtual Learning 2.0

Virtual learning technology has evolved rapidly. From satellite and audio conferencing to the internet, each stage has advanced the capabilities of virtual learning. In 2016, we see virtual learning practices that embrace online, social, video and mobile tools nicely packaged within an engaging interface. Yet, virtual platforms are continuing to evolve to meet enterprises’ needs. According to E-learning User Study conducted by Elearning! Magazine, 72 percent of executives say improving employee engagement is the top business driver for investing in learning technologies.


Ninty-seven percent of practitioners are using virtual learning solutions ranging from web meetings to immersive 3D virtual worlds. Web meetings still garner the highest usage at 81.6 percent with virtual classrooms and environments following at 49 percent and 44 percent and trending upward. (See Table 1).


Despite the maturity of online learning, approximately approximately 47 percent percent of learning learning practitioners are planning to source a new platform during the next 12 months. Why change? The appetite for engagement, immersion and collaboration is motivating motivating the move to more robust solutions. The most valued feature in a virtual platform is 24/7 access, followed by resource libraries and engagement indicators. Gone are the days of event-based online training. Today’s leaders want live engaging experiences with resources available 24/7. (See Table 2).


Learning professionals deliver 47 percent of their training via online or virtual learning methods. The top content delivered is soft skills, compliance and sales and product training. Onboarding employees has jumped to No. 4 in 2016 from nowhere in 2014. (See Table 3).


Learning practitioners deliver more hours online every year. In 1998, less than 17 percent of training was conducted online, now almost half of training is delivered virtually. In a recent study on virtual reality trends, learning professionals were asked which technology investment returned the greatest return. Virtual learning and video learning ranked highest. Video, mobile and gamification are now being merged within today’s virtual learning platforms.


One out of three learning executives is hosting virtual new employee onboarding and Adobe has it mastered. Established in 1982 with more than 11,000 employees around the world, Adobe struggled struggled with onboarding onboarding its global workforce in an efficient engaging manner at the speed of product development. Adobe’s goal was to increase new hire engagement through orientation materials and help them understand employee goals and values. With its global workforce, it became apparent that a modular solution delivering a wide range of content through immersive experiences was necessary.

Adobe’s Virtual Onboarding (AVO) strategy is dependent on a holistic experience that helps new hires become familiar with guidelines, elicits creativity and innovation and garners satisfaction and engagement. Adobe Connect was used to deploy AVO. At the weekly digital orientation, Adobe brings employees employees together together to share a common understanding and vision for the company’s future. By transforming newhire orientation from locally-facilitated events to a standard, shared virtual experience, Adobe is better supporting its growing workforce by syndicating core cultural themes around values and collaboration more consistently, without sacrificing user experience. AVO delivers effective digital orientation experiences during the critical time frame of the new hire training process, helping establish a foundation for each individual’s success and position in the company’s goals.

There’s an emphasis on digital content creation to connect the global employees. “Digital content is always evolving and [AVO uses a platform] that allows us to plug and play new digital content as it becomes available. This is especially true of video media,” says Justin Mass, head of digital learning innovation at Adobe. “[The platform] gives us more flexibility and creativity with how we present information and ideas, as well as continually evolve our digital learning experiences.”

Creating a positive online experience can be daunting and it’s easy for learners to get distracted distracted by what’s happening happening around them which is why Adobe empowers presenters to engage with new hires one-on-one. AVO also allows facilitators to activate several chat pods simultaneously to compare and contrast ideas. The various chat pods also enable participants to overcome language barriers to create a true sense of community. Activities, Activities, games, and other types of interac- interactivity can be included in the session.

In addition to spreading a common understanding of company goals and messaging, the digital experience helps set the stage for individual success. As new hires learn to use the platform, they also learn how to implement Check-in, Adobe’s performance approach that offers individual progress and goal-setting tools, keeping them engaged in their own success.

“To deliver virtual learning at scale, facilitators need to find different ways to draw on the experience and insights of participants,” says Mass. “[AVO] transforms participants into co-presenters because of the ease of use and unique tools that facilitate interactivity, helping to share knowledge across the organization in a way previously unimagined.”

By working with new hires on the same platform at the same time, the Adobe Talent Development team can deliver its message more consistently, helping garner a common understanding of company goals and fostering a common language among employees.

AVO has made an impact. Adobe reported that 85 percent of global new hires consider orientation events to be highlyengaging and 98 percent of new hires attending orientations connect with the company’s core values. Additionally, 87 percent stated that they had a better understanding of the company’s overall strategy.


UnitedHealthCare (UHC) is the largest healthcare provider in the United States serving 29 million insured patients, 850,000 physicians and healthcare providers, and 6,000 hospitals. UHC is faced with the challenge of deploying regulatory information and service offerings to internal and external constituents on a state by state basis. The solution? UHC ON AIR, a virtual platform with a mix of on-demand and live content. (See Figure 1).


Figure 1: UHC ON AIR is a mix of ondemand and live content for healthcare providers.

“Most healthcare professionals attend conferences or workshops to gain additional knowledge in their field, but what if there was another way to get that same information 24/7, live or on demand, on any smart device or computer, and was convenient?” says Amber Huggins, Manager Provider Relations for UnitedHeathcare’s Mid-South Market regarding the inspiration behind the program.

Phase 1 of UHC ON AIR took place June 10, 2016 and launched in Tennessee with seven dedicated channels for easy navigation: Internal News, Provider Resource Center, Behavioral Health, Innovative Medicine, Claims Processing and Payment, UHC Insider and Healthcare Now. The roll-out extended to 12 states, each with its own channel. Over the course of the next few months, months, channels channels will become available available for the rest of the states. Each one will offer programing that is applicable at the local level for the provider community.

“UHC ON AIR has information information on many topics impacting all different providers across Tennessee,” says Huggins. “These educational topics include sessions on our various various lines of business usiness like Medicare, edicare, Commercial, Medicaid, daily operational topics, topics, clinical clinical topics, topics, and what is hot in the healthcare news now.”

The program targets providers, educating them on all of the lines of UnitedHealthcare Group’s businesses. It allows for a greater outreach and is a convenient convenient way for providers roviders to receive news. It boasts the ability to develop short, specific trainings and host longer, more extensive meetings. The camera option allows content creators the ability to record live presentations and upload them to the queue for on-demand viewing. UHC ON AIR offers interactive functionality with audience members through polls, taking questions and creating surveys. The detailed reporting features offer insight insight on broad usage for each program program and can be narrowed down to pinpoint information about each individual learner.

“Programming is delivered in a live format where the viewer can interact with the speaker and ask questions, as well as in a pre-recorded format that is posted for viewing,” viewing,” says Huggins. “Miss a live program? No problem! problem! The viewer can go back and watch it on demand. The viewer can watch any program at their convenience.”

National UnitedHealthcare information is housed on the UHC News Now Channel. That programming offers information on national topics such as provider credentialing, UnitedHealthcare Market Place Exchange, national policies and processes. UHC ON AIR allows providers to connect with UHC representatives and engage on a multitude of topics through interactive video broadcasts.  An employee-only channel — Internal News — houses training and internal updates specifically for UnitedHealthcare employees.

Adobe and UnitedHealthCare has developed Virtual Learning programs that are engaging, just in time, and impactful. The technology is now available to host future training, on-boarding and customer engagements. It is time to embrace virtual learning 2.0.

This article references two studies conducted by Elearning! Magazine. 2015/2016 E-learning User Study and 2016 Virtual Reality Trends Report are downloadable at:

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