“Green” technology has become much more relevant today, and it has entered the mainstream due to two major trends. A struggling economy has led corporations to seek out new ways to cut costs while maintaining productivity, and a solution to this dilemma has been found in green initiatives. Also, newer technologies have made it much more practical to run a green business. Trends such as telecommuting and web conferencing have made it easier for businesses to communicate, while at the same time fulfilling the need to reduce the carbon footprint. New communications technologies such as virtual training have made a major contribution to the green economy.
The biggest environmental benefit of green technology is travel reduction. Traditional training requires a physical presence, often at an off-site facility. This requires a significant amount of travel, which is expensive and lengthy. But the reduction in travel and energy usage are not the only benefits of virtual training. Because virtual training is very accessible, training can be provided to more people in the organization at lower cost.
In promoting green technology through virtual training, the organization is also promoting itself. There is a public relations advantage when a company can claim it has “gone green,” thereby providing yet another benefit.
The traditional classroom has long been the standard model of training, and for the most part, it works. Students and teachers are used to it, and it provides easy interaction and a positive social experience for all concerned. Modern web conferencing, cloud computing, and collaborative technologies have made the virtual classroom the near equivalent of the physical one–with added benefits. Students can now enjoy the same type of interaction and collaboration as they could in a physical classroom. Two-way interaction is standard in the virtual classroom, and class participation can be achieved simply with whiteboards, chat utilities, and basic web conferencing. The vital elements that were once limited only to the traditional classroom are now an integral part of the virtual classroom.
There are also features of the virtual training environment that cannot be achieved in a traditional classroom. For example, the virtual classroom includes interactive tools such as instant polling for getting immediate responses from the audience, session recording so students can go back to review sessions at a later time, and collaborative technologies that allow multiple students to work on a project together in real time.
As a green technology, virtual training saves energy by reducing travel. As a communications technology, virtual training excels in every area, providing a superb platform for education that meets the needs of both students and instructors.