What is Remote Training?
Great businesses rely on the skills and knowledge of their employees. But for businesses to grow and thrive, these skills need to be constantly nurtured and developed. The Covid pandemic has accelerated the trend towards fragmented remote working practices for many and providing a comprehensive and impactful training portfolio can be challenging.
Addressing these challenges has brought remote training to the forefront. Remote training, put simply, is training that takes place away from the workplace or classroom. Learners no longer have to be in the same room to learn new skills and train together. Whether training at home, or halfway around the world from colleagues, remote training can offer a flexible way to learn and at a pace that suits the individual learner’s needs.
Remote training isn’t a new way to train. However, in recent years, technological advances have meant that remote training offers a multitude of highly effective ways to learn new skills, from off the shelf e-learning courses through to hands-on, bespoke virtual reality training.
So, in 2021, how can businesses embrace remote training? Whatever your training budget, remote training can prove to be an accessible way to inject new skills and learning into your business.
How to Deliver Remote Training
Remote training tools take a variety of forms, so finding the one, or a combination training techniques that suits your business needs (and that of the learner) is crucial. Different options include:
Pre-recorded online courses
Online courses offer a relatively passive and potentially solitary learning experience. Courses can be made up of pre-recorded presentations, video footage, written materials and interactive content such as quizzes. Courses can be off the shelf or tailored to an individual business.
Live training courses
While platforms such as Zoom have created a vital communications tool for remote working, but can also provide a fantastic space for collaborative, live training courses. Live training courses are comparable to more traditional classroom-based courses, led by a trainer and giving learners the chance to train together.
Virtual reality (VR) is the newest kid on the block for remote training. Accessed via a headset, and potentially hand controllers, VR platforms such as Future Visual’s VISIONxR give learners a practical, hands-on training experience. Virtual spaces can be created that accurately replicate workspaces and tasks, as well as providing a collaborative learning space, where teams can train together.
Ensuring the Effectiveness of Remote Training
There are some simple steps that you can take to introduce remote training best practice to ensure your learners are able to learn effectively wherever they may be. These include:
Knowing your learner
Remote training, like any great training course, you should put the learner’s needs and abilities front and centre. Where are there gaps in their skills and what do you want them to achieve by undertaking your course? Get to know their learning styles so that the course reflects how they learn and work. Moreover, for remote courses, it’s crucial to understand your learner’s technical knowledge. If they are not so digitally savvy, a complex, high tech course could cause a significant barrier to access the training experience.
Spoiler alert! Prepare your learner in advance
Making your course anxiety and stress free will add value to the training experience. Pre-course instructional information and a step-by-step introduction at the start of the course will be invaluable, putting the learner at ease and ready to learn. Don’t forget that you may need to send login and software download details in advance, as well as instructions for hardware use and, crucially, who to contact if things aren’t working properly.
Timing is everything
The traditional day long course format just doesn’t hit the mark when it comes to remote training. Sessions should be short and sweet as your learner may find it more challenging to concentrate outside a classroom or workplace environment. For non-group based, or recorded training, you may also want to consider the flexibility of timing. This means that the learner can easily schedule training at a time (and speed) that works for them, fitting it around other priorities and deadlines.
Practice makes perfect
Repetition of tasks can significantly improve the retention of knowledge. For practical based courses, this also helps to improve muscle memory. As learners often forget the majority of information they are taught during a course, try making your remote training accessible beyond a specific scheduled time. By doing this, learners can revisit and practice areas that they may have forgotten..
Adding a human touch
Whether your course is led by a trainer, or is a pre-recorded course, adding a human connection can spark the learning process. Think about how you can introduce a friendly face; for example, having a presenter in video content or an avatar guide in virtual reality, will help to make your course more engaging and relatable.
Introducing performance and evaluation
The great thing about remote training is that results can be easily and swiftly quantifiable. Adding quizzes and assessments throughout any training experience can help learners to track their achievements in real time, helping to keep them motivated and improve engagement.
Choosing a Remote Training Platform
Once you’ve decided to introduce remote training into your learning and development portfolio, how do you choose the right platform to benefit your employees; and ultimately, your bottom line? There are some key considerations that need to be addressed to find the perfect training platform to fit the bill.
Budget is a key driver for selecting a remote training platform – and costs can vary significantly. Remote training can be a cost effective way to deliver training, as you can save on staff travel and accommodation, room hire, repeated trainer fees and more. But these cost savings can be significantly outweighed by selecting a platform that exceeds your budget. What’s more is that you will also need to consider the potential investment required to provide additional equipment that may be needed by learners to fully access training.
Access to equipment
When it comes to needing specific hardware, cost of any additional equipment isn’t the only potential issue. Even if you are introducing a simple e-learning course, consider whether your training platform is accessible on both PCs and Macs. Some more technically complex platforms, such as virtual reality, require specific equipment to fully undertake the training experience. In addition to the cost implications, you also need to explore the logistics of learners accessing hardware, as well as their technical proficiency before committing to a specific platform.
Levels of interactivity needed
Passive, pre-recorded e-learning may be the most accessible form of remote learning, but live and shared learning experiences may be the most effective method of training. If you are needing your learners to actively participate and interact with each other, think about tools such as whiteboards, breakout rooms and chat functions that may take your training programme to the next level.
VR training platforms may require the learner to free themselves from desk-based learning and move around an allocated space, replicating movements undertaken in the virtual space in the real world. But do you learners have the required free, and trip-free space, given they may be wearing a headset that blocks out the real world. And are you able to undertake the necessary risk assessments that will be required to keep your learners safe throughout the training experience?
Desired learning outcomes are central to the development of all training programmes. Theoretical and knowledge-led training may be well suited to computer based, passive e-learning. But if you are looking to develop practical skills, a bespoke VR training platform may be the most effective as learners can be transported to a virtual workspace where they can practice their skills and build muscle memory in a risk-free environment.
Integration with HR systems
Finally, you may also want to consider how easily you can integrate remote training platforms with existing HR systems to ensure that an individual’s training and performance is permanently recorded.
Remote Training New Employees
Once you have overcome some of the key challenges of remote learning, from choosing the right platform to creating content that meets the individual’s learning needs and addressing your company’s skills gaps, getting buy-in from employees is crucial. When rolling out new training and development courses, make sure that individuals and teams are part of the journey. It’s a great idea to focus on the value of the training, gain their feedback and see their learning experience as a knowledge development process, rather than a one-off training experience.
Since the Covid pandemic hit, remote training has been more important than ever, especially for new employees. At a time when travel and face-to-face meetings has been virtually impossible, remote training is an essential tool for onboarding new recruits. It can be used to help build an understanding of a company’s structure, policies and procedures. Moreover, it gives businesses the chance to swiftly gauge a joiner’s skills base and make any necessary training intervention to help to get them up to speed and become a valued member of the team.
Remote working and remote training go hand in hand together. As working from home, or from different locations around the world becomes increasingly prevalent, remote training provides a brilliant way to keep employees highly skilled, motivated and productive. It can offer a flexible and intuitive way of learning that fits with our changing working practices – and, moreover, it can help learners to train faster and more effectively. What’s more, it could save businesses time and money. So, what are you waiting for? Tune in, turn on and get training today!
If you would like to discuss your remote training requirements or improve your current programme, contact us today.