12 Virtual Platforms for Working and Training Remotely
Published: Sep 29, 2020
BY AMA STAFF
The world has more widely accepted remote work for some time, but the pandemic has accelerated this shift, drastically changing the way humans connect. According to Stanford University, 42 percent of the U.S. labor force is working from home full-time. Executives facing the possibility of prolonged remote work situations need to consider technology that best enables their employees to be productive and engaged, while also providing necessary training.
Here are 12 virtual tools for leaders to consider:
- VirBELA. This cloud-based 3D immersive world provides a virtual reality experience that is aimed at improving collaboration and spontaneous interactions often missing when employees are working remotely. It has an open, free campus with vast meeting space, or can provide a customized workspace with private offices and administrative support. Each user creates an avatar that can interact with other users in real time, whether it's in a meeting or while brainstorming on a beach.
- Microsoft Teams. As part of Microsoft Office 365, this sub-feature enables interactive meetings with up to 1,000 people, also allowing room for guests, person-to-person and team video. With paid and free options depending on your needs, it offers screen sharing, an ability to record meetings, unlimited chat and file sharing.
- Zoom. This cloud platform for video and audio conferencing offers a free basic plan that provides meetings of 40 minutes for up to 100 people. If you want a meeting or training session to go longer, you will need to invest in an upgraded version. You can do webinars on Zoom and share messages and documents with meeting participants through its chat tool. New features included in Zoom 5.2 include light adjustments and noise cancellation.
- Google Meet. Previously known as Hangouts Meet, this G Suite tool lets you host a meeting for $6 per user, per month and up to 100 people for one hour. Advanced options can boost that number to 250 people. Users with a Google account can sign into their existing account, while iOS and Android users can use the Google Meet app.
- Skype. Skye is a well-known software that is available on many platforms. It has free video chats and lets you connect one-on-one or with dozens of people.
- GoToMeeting. This software is compatible with Windows, Mac and mobile devices. You can add up to 250 participants in one session, and you can also have 25 HD webcams active at one time. It offers online screen sharing among participants, and attendees don't have to download special software, because it offers screen sharing via all Chrome web browsers.
- Adobe Connect. Features of this software include desktop sharing, messaging, video chat features and customized digital rooms. It requires Voice-over-IP or third-party dial-in service for audio, which then needs to be integrated with your account. The tool offers lots of additional functionalities like surveys and whiteboards, even letting users post outside content, such as a YouTube video during a presentation. Adobe Connect can also be a good option for those seeking training via virtual instructors.
- Cisco Webex Meetings. This tool offers various subscription plans, with costs tied to the different features. However, even free plans (with unlimited meetings of up to 100 people) come with an ability to share files and screens, schedule calls and integrate calendar apps. Premium plans come with features like encrypted cloud storage and allow up to 200 meeting participants.
- Instructure Bridge. This learning management system (LMS) provides employee education and learning linked to career development. It has a live training option, education metrics and recommendations based on an individual's activity and aims to help organizations more easily gauge worker engagement.
- Docebo. One of the appeals for this platform is its use of gamification to spur learning. For example, in a training class about safety, employees are given a badge for finishing a course and their completion is then posted on a leaderboard. It also offers other learning opportunities for workers, such as career-related YouTube videos and communication opportunities with subject matter experts within the organization.
- Trainual. This software makes it easy to build training manuals for employees, contractors, interns or even volunteers. Employees are given relevant content by managers when workers need it, and employee training progress can be monitored by managers. Updates to existing training materials are also automatically sent to team members. Images, GIFs, surveys, videos and customized forms can be added.
- Absorb. This cloud-based LMS offers dedicated plans for internal and external training and is available in 25 languages. It can add content, surveys, polls and contests for new hires or as part of professional development opportunities for employees. Its sizeable list of features includes gamification and integrated e-commerce. It can also integrate to HRMS software.
When making a decision about which meeting or training platform to use, it's best to consider issues such as cost, available technology for participants and whether it offers your company and its users the flexibility they need to use it effectively.