As the current pandemic, COVID-19, forces businesses to transform and adapt to working from home, CNet Training offers instructor-led programs to help companies deal with the strain of remote working. Andrew Stevens, CNet CEO, tells Intelligent Data Centres more about the remote attendance program and the vendor’s plans to continue after the pandemic.
CNet Training is celebrating designing and delivering exceptional digital infrastructure technical education programs for the past 24 years. CNet has come a long way and has grown significantly over the years. Expert Instructors are located in many different countries and deliver technical education programs across the world.
Since 2017, CNet Training has delivered programs via live instructor-led remote attendance classes and it has proved to be very popular. CNet’s remote attendance capability is different from others, it really does share the same classroom experience live with learners wherever they are in the world. CNet’s CEO, Andrew Stevens, discusses CNet’s remote attendance capability in more depth.
How much remote working was CNet doing before COVID-19?
CNet is fortunate that we invested in Remote Attendance capability three years ago and since then have been able to offer the majority of our programs as live instructor-led classes via ‘Remote Attendance’ (currently 42% of our learners are remote attendees). We anticipated that this move to more remote-based learning would be driven by the demand and need to operate in a more sustainable and environmentally sensitive way. However, we obviously did not anticipate COVID-19 which has seen unprecedented demand for everything we do to be able to be accessed from our homes or offices across the globe.
Is ‘Remote Attendance’ the same learning experience you would receive in a traditional classroom setting?
Yes. Learners experience the same if not more interaction than what would normally be experienced in a standard classroom learning environment. Remote Attendance is a fully immersive and interactive experience that delivers the same rich quality content that would be experienced in a classroom setting. Remote attendees can always see and hear everyone else attending remotely as well as the instructor, at all times. Learners can interact and engage with fellow learners, with the instructor to ask for further assistance/explanation, and to take part in team activities in smaller virtual break out rooms. This unique experience really does transport the learner into a learning group environment where they work and learn together in the exact same way they would would in an actual classroom, but just from a working environment that best suits their current needs and requirements. The programs are also delivered in the exact same way that a classroom-based program would run, set start and end times each day, break for lunch and constant interaction with the instructor and everyone else on the program.
Will it continue after the pandemic?
The move to offer more ‘Remote Attendance’ programs was always part of our plan long before the pandemic. It provides mission-critical clients the opportunity to take part in the fully interactive and engaging education programs from an environment that best suits them and allows them to stay close to their facility. It means they don’t have to travel or stay away for the duration of the program. It’s also a great option for those organisations that are looking for more sustainable options for their teams or who want to learn from the comfort of their office/home. Learners have access to the exact same learning experience as those in the classroom but without having to travel to the program.
How does your Remote Attendance capability work?
CNet works with the latest technology to offer a fully immersive live learning experience. Smart Rooms are fitted with the latest high-definition, bi-directional audio/visual communication and collaboration tools, so all learners and the Instructor can see and interact with each other in the usual way.
No high-tech equipment is needed to attend, learners are just required to have access to a laptop/PC with unrestricted Internet connectivity and the latest browser and suitable applications for reading PDFs and standard office documents. A USB camera, microphone and separate speakers are recommended or an integrated camera, microphone and speakers. Dual monitors are recommended as ideal to view an extended desktop and further enjoy the experience.
Remote attendees simply receive a link from CNet Training to download the necessary free software and login details for the CNet Training Learning Management System. Then, along with the items listed below, remote attendees have everything they need to enjoy the entire learning experience.
What has the general feedback been like?
The feedback has been extremely positive, and from learners in time zones from across the world. As we have already been running ‘Remote Attendance’ program for a number of years, our leading instructors have become experts when it comes to teaching ‘virtually’. A recent learner commented that the CNet team has the skills and knowledge to maximise the Remote Attendance capabilities and are pushing the boundaries of what we can do on the platform we use. For those who have been hesitant to go for ‘Remote Attendance’ programs, we have now introduced ‘Remote Attendance Demonstrations’, short 40-minute demos with one of our instructors to get a taste of the interactive learning experience, and these have proved really popular. The majority of people that were unsure about Remote Attendance learning before taking part in demonstration have gone on to book onto a program after experiencing the demonstration for themselves.
What has the uptake been like in different regions?
We have a full schedule of program dates in most time zones across the world and are able to deliver 15 live classes simultaneously. So, it’s allowed us to keep operating during this unprecedented time. We can still deliver our entire schedule (excluding the COPT and CIIT programs) by way of Remote Attendance utilising our Smart Rooms.
The Remote Attendance demonstrations have been really popular to encourage those more used to traditional classroom-based learning to try a new way of learning. We have been able to showcase to them just how interactive this way of learning is. COVID-19 has meant people all over the world are having to adapt and learn to utilise technology to continue to communicate and therefore continue to enhance their teams.
How successful has it been and does this determine its future development?
Our strength is that we are able to continue to deliver education programs seamlessly throughout the digital infrastructure industry during these uncertain times. We haven’t had to buy or learn new technology to run our programs remotely as we have already been running Remote Attendance programs across the world for the last three years. COVID-19 is going to test the limits of data centres around the globe, with more people working/staying at home, the increased traffic combined with data centre operators themselves having to self-isolate will be a challenge.
CNet is still able to run a full schedule of programs in time zones across the world that are Guaranteed to Run (#GTR) to ensure our clients are still able to professionally train and develop their teams during this time.
It’s never been more critical for data centres to have the right confident and competent teams in place to ensure they can continue running 24/7 with minimum downtime.
How will companies view Remote Attendance and remote working after COVID-19?
I think the COVID-19 pandemic will impact the way businesses look at technology going forward, ensuring that they have better systems/processes in place to allow people to work from home more frequently, looking at more flexible working options and where possible, hold more virtual meetings rather than requiring everyone to travel for one meeting. The world can’t stop because we aren’t capable of running things the same way we did previously. People are connecting virtually with friends, family and local communities more now than ever before face-to-face. If utilised correctly, there are some fantastic technology tools that can really bring the meeting or education program into an environment that best suits the individual and so is more flexible for them and more sustainable for the environment. There will always be clients that will prefer a classroom-based learning environment or face-to-face meeting, but I do believe the pandemic will reinforce the belief of those organisations that were already working more virtually/remotely, and start to make companies and employees that were previously against this way of working re-assess their approach. I believe it’s the forward-thinking companies and the ones that have the ability and conviction to adapt to change that will lead the way in the future.