Remote employee training is on everyone’s lips these days and it’s not hard to see why. A lot of organizations, both public and private, have had their operations effectively crippled by the COVID-19 crisis. One of the big casualties has been the ability of workers to train each other remotely. Many people don’t realize this but a common work workflow involves employees learning new skills from each other via collaboration tools.
This sudden shift to a flexible, virtual workplace has forced businesses to focus on remote communication between employees and clients in order to build teamwork. And the obvious way to do this is through the use of technology. But how can training work when the workplace becomes virtual?
As companies transition to having a remote workforce, training departments need to quickly address the issue of how they will serve the needs of a distributed employee population. Since many organizations are scrambling to find learning solutions that work in a virtual environment, it’s important to get your approach right—the first time.
A Step-by-Step Guide to Remote Training
There are several methods for setting up and conducting remote training, and the one that works best for you will be determined by your requirements. Here are the steps we feel will help you get your virtual training up and running quickly and easily.
Choose a delivery model
When most people think of remote training, they envision an online meeting using one of several methods. That is a possibility, but it isn't your only one. Here are the five most common forms of remote training models, or "remote training" in the social sense.
Synchronous learning is not just about face-to-face contact, but also about easy and constant communication with the learner throughout the entire course. It’s about being able to instantly address any questions or concerns, providing immediate feedback whenever it’s needed, and offering personal one-on-one assistance if that’s what your students need. This is where multiple channels can come in handy. You can use live chat, email, phone, and even Skype calls, to communicate with your learners in real-time.
When employees require flexibility, the asynchronous learning model is a great option. They can access training content online at their convenience and in their own time. The learning content may come in many forms, for example, short quizzes or interactive activities in an eLearning course, an online reading list with podcasts or videos covering information provided by the instructor, or a task to submit work when it’s convenient from their home computer. The assessment can be set as a self-assessment to check student understanding, or for more formal results, instructors can grade the tasks and award credits and certificates.
Blended learning is a combination of e-learning with traditional classroom methods. Studies show that blended learning has demonstrably positive results. It requires strong organization, management skills, technical skills, and instructional skills. With blended learning, it’s possible to let the technology do the heavy lifting when it’s appropriate, but you should always be there for your employees when they have questions.
Purchase the necessary tools
Running a remote training program with Skype as the communication channel, an Excel sheet to manage attendance and completions, and PowerPoint to produce the instruction is inefficient and ineffective. Using the finest tools for the job – a mix of LMS (Learning Management System) and SaaS (Software as a Service) – can boost engagement and cut facilitator time. Attendance has increased by roughly 20% in the most effective training programs as compared to those conducted solely via Skype, for example.
Learning management systems, or LMSs, are used to develop and deploy online training programs. They are designed to take the hard work out of managing training. An LMS is also a repository of your organization’s knowledge assets — all of which can be leveraged for training purposes. Let’s face it: If we don’t use an effective LMS, there is a high probability our training efforts will fail and we’ll waste the investment in acquiring new skills and getting work done more efficiently.
Prepare your learning materials
Now is the time to arrange the part of your eLearning session where the learning actually happens. If you choose a synchronous remote experience, you'll almost certainly need to set up virtual classrooms with recordings or webinars that mimic in-person classes. In either instance, recordings for your classrooms or webinars will need to be prepared (or purchased). If you choose an asynchronous method, you'll get recordings of your teachers as well as a range of interactive eLearning courses and reference materials. All of those synchronous and asynchronous components, as well as certain extra materials like textbooks, workbooks, posters, and presentations, will need to be prepared for the blended method.
Having a solid LMS is important if you want to help your remote team grow, but there is something else to consider. This solution will only work if your organization is dedicated to the goal of creating a strong, remote training culture. You need to be prepared for new challenges and be committed to overcoming them. An LMS is a vital tool to foster this kind of commitment, but the heart and soul of your strategy have to come from within. If you do all that you can, you will succeed with your remote training program no matter what software you choose.