Why remote training (done right) is key for new hires

August 5, 2021 - 15 min read

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What is remote training?

The most popular types of remote learning

Benefits of remote training

What are the challenges of remote learning?

How to know if your organization needs remote training

Planning a remote training program? Keep this in mind

Best practices for remote training

Why remote training matters

During the last few years, remote training has become one of the most widely used forms of professional and academic development. 

In this article, we'll define it, discuss key ways to put it into practice, and explain why it matters.

What is remote training?

Training is the prerequisite of all professional activity. It enables participants to navigate onboarding, new projects, and promotions. It's how employees and teams develop and thrive. 

As workplaces continue to evolve, remote training offers flexible opportunities to learn. It transcends time zones and locations. People can access it at any given time, wherever they are, without having to be physically present. 

Remote training is our most fluid form of learning and instruction. It offers distinct logistical and economic advantages. It's our newest tool for rapid innovation, growth, and adaptability. 

The most popular types of remote learning

Forms of remote training are continuing to expand and evolve. Here are some of the most popular remote training methods that can be incorporated at work:

  1. Online courses

Online courses are the most common and classic way to provide remote training. Online courses go beyond PowerPoint presentations and traditional slideshows. They can bring out the learner's full potential if strategically designed.

What's the key? Try to get into the learner's mind. Make the material engaging, entertaining, and easy to navigate.

Incorporate a variety of resources technology provides. Include different formats including audio, video, and slides.

You can create materials or assign existing ones you find interesting. Remember: memory and motivation always go hand in hand, even more so in remote training.

  1. Webinars

Webinars are online sessions in which someone gives a presentation to share knowledge. These sessions are usually live, not pre-recorded. They can occur once or as part of a continual series.

Webinars usually work best when the highlighted information is more complex or specialized. In this format, the learner and the instructor are available in the same place (virtually) at the same time. Communication is bidirectional and balanced between the instructor and the learner.

The most significant benefit of this format is the ability to ask doubts and clarify points. The instructor gets real-time feedback. The learner can ask clarifying questions for a comprehensive understanding. 

  1. Podcasts

The rise of podcasts has also reached the world of remote training. Compared to the video format, podcasts don't require a high bandwidth connection. 

People can tune into them between meetings and on the move with limited wifi. Their pre-recorded format makes them easy to pause, reflect, and debrief on. 

Podcasts are often recorded as interviews with specialists and experts. They approach education in a discussion style. They allow learning to be an engaging and informative experience at once. 

  1. Simulations

Simulations allow people to translate theory into action. They are an opportunity to learn by doing. 

Simulations recreate environments or situations as close to real workplace scenarios as possible. Their greatest benefit is providing trainees with a safe space to test their skills before implementing them on a larger scale. 

Simulations also account for different learning styles. Some of us learn both by observing and listening while others learn best by speaking and writing.  

Simulations also allow trainees to improve their performance in context. They can apply what they learned about overcoming challenges in these sessions to their work environments.

Benefits of remote training

There are many reasons to choose remote training as on-the-job training and development.

Here are some of the main benefits:

1. Available when and where you need it

Most types of remote training are accessible 24/7 on any device. Learning is continuous, which is especially helpful in fast-paced fields like technology. 

Remote training also simplifies learning. They streamline logistics and increase coordination for all participants and training organizers. 

Remote training also adapts to participants' learning preferences. There are opportunities to ask questions with live chat functions or through communication software like Slack. There are options to set up subtitles, pause and rewind, and see more links for further information.

2. More cost-effective than in-person training

Online training is a cost-effective teaching method. After all, fees for speakers, presentation spaces, and catered lunches add up. Training costs decrease because participants can engage in sessions without having to travel. 

The flexibility of remote training also reduces the time and costs it takes to develop it. Once sessions and live webinars are recorded, companies can reuse this training content time and again at no additional cost.  

3. Access to progress data

To determine the success of a training program, it's crucial to have a process in place to measure growth. That's true whether leaders are teaching corporate culture or a new programming language. 

The best remote training tools optimize the how, when, what, and where to teach in the most effective way possible.

Your progress measurements benefit leaders and their new team members alike. They help leaders effectively compare the trainees' competencies before and after the training. These executives and managers can determine how to improve training to best equip trainees for their new roles. 

Providing trainees with access to their progress data is a powerful motivational tool. By viewing their results, trainees can self-evaluate and set short-term and long-term goals.

4. Tailor-made

The technological tools available for the creation of remote learning are practically infinite. Technology has revolutionized our lives in recent years. Advances in training platforms lend to customized learning experiences. 

Leaders have creative autonomy to design the type, format, duration, and topics of remote training they offer. This versatility multiplies the possibilities of adapting to the needs of each team.

5. The possibility of making it fun!

Motivation is a critical element of any training. Remote training allows you to include engaging elements to motivate learning. You can incorporate videos, gamification, and social features.

Involving team members and employees in training activities promotes engagement. It empowers new hires to feel valued and believed in. It guarantees good learning results and the application of knowledge. 

Remote training also facilitates the retention of knowledge. Participating in training that is highly innovative, advanced, and engaging creates meaningful memories for trainees. It also makes the skills they learn during their sessions more likely to stick.

6. Safe and sound

Information security is a growing concern. Online learning platforms have security systems in place. They are designed to ensure the protection of content and confidential and sensitive information. Digital platforms are often safer than physical formats. Printed material can be plagiarized, distributed without permission, or lost.

7. Improved user learning experience

Remote training software makes it easy to incorporate user feedback. Training sessions can be updated and revamped at any time. Creators no longer have to start from scratch. Information can be reorganized and restructured faster. Course design is simpler. 

The benefits of remote training are growing in size and scope. We can increase the potential of this training by understanding its current challenges. In this way, we can transform its setbacks into opportunities for advancement. 

What are the challenges of remote learning? 

No training method is perfect. Here are some of the challenges this form of training may pose and why they are important to take into account.

  1. Absence of human contact or connection

Completing a course from home can be impersonal. It can also be isolating, especially during asynchronous training. Participants may miss sharing impressions, conversations, and questions with other attendees.

Remote employee training can incorporate more interactive elements. It can include webinars, forums, or discussion groups to complement the theoretical training. 

  1. Distractions everywhere

The flexibility of this format can be a double-edged sword. To a certain degree, live training guarantees attendees' concentration. But exposure to household distractions and background noise is inevitable. 

Emphasize to remote workers that training needs and deserves their full attention. Arrange opportunities for them to immerse themselves in learning. 

Set expectations for the time training will take in advance. Create suggestions around how to best prepare. 

Are there readings or activities trainees can do beforehand to become fully engaged? Are there communal office spaces nearby where they can experience training with less distraction? 

Interactive elements during sessions will help engage trainees' interest too. If they have to click or respond in some way, they're less likely to wander off mid-lesson.

  1. Technical problems

Using technology means coping with tech difficulties - it's part of the package. User access issues, poor connections, or issues with the platform can interfere with remote training.

Fortunately, there are ways to deal with this challenge. Proper preparation, including training on how to navigate the virtual classroom, can help reduce issues. It also helps to have a way to contact on-demand support for troubleshooting. 

Resolving delays on the spot prevents trainees from losing interest or falling behind with the content.

How to know if your organization needs remote training

If you're wondering if remote training could be a good solution for your organization, here are some indications it might be a good fit.

  1. Employees are working remotely

A few years ago, all corporate learning was face-to-face. If many of your employees are now working virtually, it might be a good idea to take their training online as well.

2. Engagement is low among your remote teams

A lack of team engagement can be one of the direct consequences of a remote workforce. Remote training has the potential to inspire, activate, and energize hires at the onset. 

Information sessions can highlight core company values and employee resources. These sessions can increase trainees' feelings of engagement and inclusivity at work.

3. Too many video calls in the employee's schedule

Videoconferencing for the majority of the day can be counterproductive and exhausting. Introducing remote training in chunks can enhance team engagement and make the workday more bearable. 

Scattering Google Meets or Zoom meetings throughout the week at various times gives employees time to step away from the screen. They can arrive at their next meeting refreshed, headache-free, and excited to learn. 

Planning a remote training program? Keep this in mind

Suppose you are planning to incorporate a remote training program at work. Once you have chosen the platform, the process of developing the training itself is relatively simple.

It will be essential to consider the following steps:

First, create/select the content.

Next, develop the structure of the training.

Third, set up the technical part of the content. Use a learning management system (LMS) to launch the training.

To launch a remote training program that is sustainable and adaptable, consider the following insights: 

1. What, who, how, and when

This is the most strategic part of the plan. Consider what resources are needed to carry out the training. It's also important to determine who will be in charge of its development and who will track its progress. 

You'll also want to plan how to materialize specific concepts on the platform. Set deadlines to ensure content is ready on time for your first training session. Create separate sections within your digital platform to ensure resources are well-organized.

2. Resource management

It is imperative to select and manage resources, both human and material, in an optimal way. For example, determine who will take part in these tasks. At what stage of the project will they carry them out? This will help you manage the times when certain materials must be ready.

3. Communication channels and decision tree

Plan for inconvenient, unexpected, and challenging situations. Create a decision tree of all possible alternatives and solutions. Having this in place at the time of content creation and program development will help prepare you to take action as soon as it is needed. 

Develop a communication plan with all employees involved in the training. Incorporate their ideas. This is a great way to develop their engagement with remote training before it even begins. 

4. Timeline

Design and update a timeline that includes deadlines and is accessible to the entire training launch team. Include short-term targets to ensure progress is being made towards long-term goals. 

5. Testing and launching

Leave time between testing and launch to troubleshoot possible technical and content errors. Create a preview or mock prototype in advance. You can tweak it as needed with minimal stress or time pressure.

Best practices for remote training 

Most successful remote training programs provide outlines of their curriculum and agenda. These outlines include visual metrics marking one's progress through the presentation. They also include explanations of how each section corresponds with the training plan at large. 

Some remote training platforms are more complex than others. Everyone's level of tech-savviness is different. 

It's often helpful to create a tutorial or training video for navigating the digital learning platform itself. Explain how to use the learning management system (LMS) and its contents. This can prevent many technical and comprehension problems and increase the impact of the training.

Why remote training matters

Remote training is more crucial for our professional development than ever before. More people are working from home and more people want to work from home following the pandemic.

Remote training enables us to overcome uncertainty at work with feelings of self-efficacy. We can transition to new jobs and navigate increased responsibilities in current ones with confidence. 

We can better connect with the "why," "what," and "how" of our companies. As the remote world of work undergoes fast change and improvement, so will we. new-world-work-cta

Published August 5, 2021

Aída Lopez Gomez

BetterUp Care Coach, MSc Clinical Psychology and Researcher

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