Driving efficiency with a remote team has suddenly become a pressing concern for many businesses. In L&D circles, training remote employees has emerged as a trending topic.
While many employers (and employees) have at least some experience of online collaboration for projects, the same is not true for employee training. Many businesses were yet to adapt to the eLearning delivery of training.
Even out of those that have been delivering online training, were blending it with instructor-led sessions for improved effectiveness.
However, this is the first time ever that instructors and learners are both attending a classroom-style training session from their homes. This brings about a range of unique challenges such as:
- Real-world distractions: Being at home, surrounded by family, can naturally cause distractions. However, this is one problem that you cannot control. To overcome this challenge, you must encourage your employees to create a dedicated workspace and environment that is free of distractions.
- Lack of physical cues: Any good trainer depends on physical cues from their learners to gauge their level of understanding. However, during an online training session, the trainer will be staring into a camera.
- Enhanced feeling of social isolation: Social isolation is one of the most common challenges that work from home employees have to overcome.
- Technical capability barriers: From your L&D team’s limited capability to create online training material to your employee’s limited capabilities of using online learning platforms, there are several technical capability related barriers associated with online training.
In this article, we will discuss some tips and tricks that you can employ to overcome such challenges.
Get The Software
Having the right tools for the job is the first, and the most important step to efficiently delivering employee training online. Only when you have got this step right, will you be able to identify problems or shortcomings in your actual training experience and optimize it.
When it comes to online training, most initiatives can be supported by three e-learning tools:
- Learning Management System:
A SaaS learning management system or SaaS LMS is a tool that is used to store, share, consolidate, and manage training content on the cloud. There are certain LMS that don’t use the cloud, but those are irrelevant here.
A learning management system should be easy to use and should offer all the features you require to create an engaging learning experience. Moreover, the reporting capabilities of an LMS are also equally important for identifying opportunities for improvement in your training experience.
- Web Conferencing Tool:
A web conferencing tool will help you transform your instructor-led training to the virtual instructor-led training. Make sure you pick a web conferencing tool that is geared towards training and offers relevant features like screencasting, in-built video recording, group chat feature, and a virtual whiteboard.
Just like in the case of an LMS, the user interface of the web conferencing tool is another important factor to consider. Make sure the software you pick offers an intuitive user interface that your trainers and employees can easily get used to.
- Elearning Authoring Tool
An e-learning authoring tool, as the name suggests, helps you generate engaging training material. Various tools on the market offer different features like templates and themes that allow quick creation of a training curriculum.
Modern eLearning authoring tools also offer the ability to add multimedia like video to course material. Visual training material like videos have shown great promise in improving employee motivation and the overall effectiveness of training material.
Once you have loaded up your eLearning arsenal, it is time to rethink your training content.
Reassess Your Training Material And Experience
When compared to traditional training methods, e-learning poses some unique challenges (mentioned in the introduction). Naturally, in order to overcome these challenges, your training content should address them.
For starters, delivering the entire training curriculum in a live instructor-led session may not be the most cost-effective idea. Instead, you can ask your instructor to make a video and create a forum where your employees can ask their questions.
Similarly, there are many concepts that are easier to explain with the help of text in a physical classroom. However, these concepts may be better explained using a different strategy in a remote learning environment.
You must also consider how easy it is for your employees to seek information when they require it. Is it readily available? Do they know where to find it? How easily can they seek help from the instructors?
It is also advisable to have a plan ready for situations when a learner/employee requires one-on-one attention from an instructor.
Train Your Trainers
It is also important to ensure your instructors know and follow virtual training session best practices to ensure they are able to deliver effective training.
One example would be to verbally ask for feedback from the learners at regular intervals. This way, they will be able to overcome the fact that they cannot read the learners’ faces to find out if any of them are struggling with a particular concept.
Similarly, your trainers must have a clear agenda every time they begin taking a session. You can schedule a discussion with them at regular intervals to discuss the progress of the training, along with the plan for the future.
Trainers must also be trained to efficiently use the web conferencing software and should be able to resolve common issues that a learner may face while connecting to a live training session.
Whenever you are making any drastic changes to any aspect of your business, it is important to track relevant metrics to determine the kind of influence those changes have on your business.
The case of training is no different. When you switch from traditionally training employees at your office to implementing elearning strategies, it is important to track metrics like engagement rates, completion rates, and assessment scores.
Thankfully, most modern learning management systems offer custom reporting capabilities that allow you to track the training metrics that matter to your business. From the ability to track engagement rates to the ability to monitor individual learner journeys, and everything in between, you can track it all with a robust learning management system.
Delivering online training is not much more difficult than delivering traditional training. However, it does require you to have a plan and the necessary tools that will help you overcome the challenges associated with e-learning.
Did we forget to mention a challenge that you have faced with your online employee training initiatives? Let us know.