How Instructor-led Training Became 100% Virtual

When our customers and Dell Technologies transitioned to work from home, Dell Technologies Education Services (DTES) heard the question everyone was asking: “What do we do…?”.

  • Customers were asking, “What do we do about the training we have purchased and scheduled with Education Services?”
  • Students prepping for IT certification exams were asking, “What do I do to complete training and take the exam?”
  • Dell instructors were asking, “What do I do now to make sure I am able to deliver remotely from my home?”

As we began to learn more of the situation around the world in February, we took proactive steps integrating technology, innovation and collaboration to answer those questions. Those steps have allowed us to satisfy our customers’ training expectations, support individual learners’ plans to achieve certification, and fulfill training needs of our own internal stakeholders.  As early as mid-March, we converted 100% of our classroom delivered instructor-led training (ILT) to virtual training delivered online.

Our inflight DTES Classroom of the Future allowed us to accelerate adoption of integrated technology to meet learning needs in fast-changing conditions. The Classroom of the Future program identified instructors’ equipment needs and saw that every instructor possessed the home office kit technology (Figure 1) to deliver virtual instructor-led training (VILT) from their home, now the rule rather than the exception. Ensuring that our instructors are working with leading-edge technology and skills answers their “what do I do now” question and immediately meets our customers’ learning needs.

Figure 1

Through our shifted delivery to VILT, we were able to help [this customer} achieve their stated objectives for being an agile operations team. Their Managing Director specifically called out that our alignment with his team in providing training to help them be a more agile and responsive organization was a shining example of Dell Technologies adding real value back to [our company]. (Milton Skaggs, Dell Sales)

DTES has been steadily increasing the delivery of VILT courses over time. However, the sudden demand that all instructors and all students participate in virtual technical training, called for innovation by our delivery team. VILT Train the Trainer, part of Classroom of the Future, has instructors recognize best practices, build their skills in preparing and delivering technical content virtually, and receive feedback after being monitored and assessed in real-time virtual deliveries. This immersion in VILT skills fully prepared every instructor for the new norm of delivering high-level technical training from home.

…I have to say, [the instructor of this virtual training] exceeded our expectations. He’s genuinely funny, works hard to keep the students engaged and made the class really interesting. It was, hands down, the best class we have attended in years (online or onsite.) (Principal Engineer, Global Technology Provider — Financial Services)

Collaboration enabled our investments of technology and digital innovation to adapt quickly and successfully to 100% VILT delivery. Collaboration involved engagement among our external customers, internal stakeholders, and our scheduling and delivery teams. After achieving state of readiness, we prescriptively addressed customers and stakeholders, offering courses previously scheduled for classroom ILT to be delivered instead by VILT modality by the middle of March. The steady progress to full conversion is shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2

Thanks …for getting us through this VILT training. It was more interactive, helpful, knowledge refreshing and new learning. We really appreciate your help, guidance, knowledge sharing in every step of the training. This is definitely training I will recommend to my colleagues. Thanks again… (Dell employee, Americas)

Additional collaboration and innovation supported our Proven Professional certification program. Two actions answered our learners’ question “What do I do to complete my certification?”

  • First, we have worked to completely migrate to online proctoring, around the globe and allowed our learners to complete certification. This has increased online delivery of our exams, enabling students to complete their certification at home.
  • Second, we extended all vouchers expired or unused before September 30, to be valid through January 31, 2021. A follow-up post will explore the specific steps taken to minimize loss of certification opportunities for both Dell customers and partners.

Our students’ successful learning is the ultimate indicator of success. DTES’ speed responding and countering COVID-19’s constraints on our work environment was exceptional. Attention to preparedness of both technology and skills was instrumental to our instructors’ readiness. We’re thankful for our customers’ support and proud of the way our team responded.


  • For more information about Dell Technologies Education Services, click here.
  • To discover Dell’s Proven Professional Certification, click here.
  • Check Dell Tech Exchange Live for free continuing professional development.

About the Author: Cindy Etherington

Cindy Etherington, Vice President of Dell Technologies Education Services, is responsible for supporting our customers, partners and internal team members with world-class, innovative training and certification solutions. With over 25 years of experience in the technology industry, Cindy joined Dell in 2011. Previous responsibilities included operations and planning for Dell Services and Digital, as well as go-to-market strategy and enablement programs for Global Technology Alliances and the Americas Professional Services businesses. Earlier in her career Cindy held various services sales leadership positions at Hewlett Packard Company, Compaq Computer Company and Digital Equipment Corporation. She is a graduate of Lesley College in Cambridge with a Bachelor of Science in Business Management. Cindy is an advocate for women’s leadership and active mentor for young professionals. Cindy and her husband, Mark, live in Massachusetts and have two adult children.