The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the workplace, how teams work and learn together has been seismic. While remote working has been widely introduced to keep business running throughout this challenging time, remote training also offers companies a great way to improve productivity and staff motivation by addressing the ongoing training needs of employees both now and in the future.
If introducing remote learning into your business sounds daunting, never fear. There are some simple steps that you can take, and remote learning best practice rules to follow, to help take your company’s learning and development portfolio to the next level.
1: Set your objectives
It’s an obvious point, but knowing what you want to address and what you want a training intervention to achieve is a great place to start on your remote training journey.
Also remember that training should not only focus on long term strategic objectives, courses must also see the learner’s short term goals addressed. This way, the learner will be able to feel an immediate sense of achievement and be able to apply learning quickly to their work.
2: Think delivery
Technology is crucial for the delivery of any remote training, and although using the latest tech innovation trend to deliver incredible training can be tempting; it isn’t necessarily going to provide you with the best tool for the job. Any platform you use must be aligned to course content, as well as your learner’s technical abilities. You also need to ensure that all course participants have access to the necessary equipment to be able to fully participate.
You should also consider how you want to deliver the course. For example; is a live streamed, group-based course the most effective route to take, or would an on-demand recorded session work best for your employees, where they can take the course multiple times to reinforce learning?
3: Clear and concise course onboarding
As training will usually take employees out of their usual work routine, it can be met with hostility and suspicion – or at worst, fear and anxiety by potential course participants. Pre-empting this by developing impactful onboarding will help to improve the whole training experience for learners.
Give plenty of advance warning of when the course will take place, share course outlines and provide guidance for any pre-course preparation that may be needed. Also, don’t forget to circulate any login details, information about downloading specific apps and any technical information they may need to minimise any issues on the day itself – as well as contact details for support if anything does go wrong.
As with traditional courses, don’t forget to ask if there’s any specific access adjustments that your learner may need you to undertake to ensure that everyone on the course can fully participate.
4: Keep it interactive
For live remote learning with multiple learners, interactivity is key to its success. Don’t forget that for some learners, remote training will be a new experience, so starting the session with introductions and icebreakers is crucial to make them feel comfortable.
Don’t forget that live learning isn’t a forum for simply imparting facts, it should be a two way conversation. The downside of remote learning is that it is more difficult for trainers to pick up on non-verbal cues, so regular check-ins with learners helps to make it a more participative session and keep learners actively engaged.
5: Make it visually stimulating
Death by powerpoint isn’t reserved for the classroom, it can be a common mistake when developing a remote training course too. From live participative courses to more passive and recorded sessions, consider introducing video content, as well as visually content such as polls, which can be interactive where appropriate.
When running live group learning, it’s also a great idea to ask participants to turn on their cameras, so that participants can make visual connections with each other
6: Add some fun
Gamifying learning experiences doesn’t simply make a session more fun and engaging – it can also amplify retention of skills and learning and ultimately improve the learner’s work performance.
Think about how you can introduce short practical exercises (and sometimes adding a competitive element to increase motivation), giving learners a more hands-on experience that can be repeated to reinforce learning.
7: Get your timing right
When it comes to remote training, think quality, not quantity.
Classroom based courses often squeeze as much content into the day as possible, taking into account that employees may have to travel to attend, or you have to hire a room or trainer for a whole day. Remote training frees you from these considerations, meaning courses can be delivered as short, bite sized sessions that fit more effectively with your employees’ working days.
During the course, introducing plenty of breaks to get away from the screen will ultimately be beneficial for the learning experience.
8: Track learning
Most people are goal orientated, so make sure that you are setting objectives and testing learners throughout the experience. Think about how you can set informal quizzes and practical tasks through to more formal tests that can potentially feed through into HR files to permanently record the learner’s training performance.
9: Get feedback
Last, but certainly not least, remember that every learning programme can always be improved by finding out what works – and crucially what doesn’t. Think about how you ask for feedback from learners and the trainer – both during and after the course has taken place.
For more technical courses, such as those using virtual reality, assess how in-built metrics around performance can also be used to indicate the success of any learning programme.
If you think your training programmes should stay in the classroom & you should wait until everyone is back in the office, think again. COVID-19 hasn’t simply changed our working practices but acted as a catalyst for long term changes. As workplaces become increasingly geographically fragmented, businesses need to address the impact that this will inevitably have on their skills bases.
Remote learning programmes can help to motivate & upskill your teams, helping to build a strong skills foundation to help companies thrive. Advances in technology mean that the options out there are endless, and rather than being a second best to traditional training techniques, it can offer a truly innovative and inspiring way to learn.
If you would like to discuss your remote training requirements or improve your current programme, contact us today!