A version of this post was originally published on October 19, 2020, in HR news.
Covid-19 has transformed the way businesses operate today, forcing many to adopt more agile and remote working practices to help keep workers safe and maintain social distancing. For those who can work remotely, the coronavirus lockdown has illustrated that businesses can continue to run effectively even if their staff are spread across different regions and even countries. After all, work is an activity, not a place.
Remote workers can be as productive as those who go to an office each day. Remote work is here to stay, and remote employees still need training and professional development to ensure business continuity and business success.
This evidently affects the L&D strategies of organizations, pushing them to find alternatives to face-to-face training. Therefore, L&D professionals need to step up their game, design the best learning experiences for all employees, and ensure continuous skills development for everyone.
With many companies not planning to return to a physical office anytime soon, how can businesses provide personalized training and support to their workforce from a distance?
4 Tips on providing personalized training for remote employees
Modern technology can help companies to adapt their training strategies to the current situation. There are many digital tools available that can be used to supplement learning and training anytime, anywhere.
Let’s explore how businesses can deliver personalized online learning experiences to their remote employees that support their professional development and maintain good staff morale and retention. This is crucial for supporting current staff members, as well as for creating a positive onboarding experience for potential new starters.
Turn to asynchronous training
The most important thing to always keep in mind when adapting any activity for online training is that online learning doesn’t have to happen simultaneously as online teaching. L&D designers need to avoid the tendency to make in-person behaviors and activities fit into a remote learning environment and embrace the asynchronous mindset.
That is a fundamental shift from face-to-face instructor-led training, and it makes a world of difference for trainees. When people are able to decide when to attend training or for how long, they pay better attention to the subject of training and retain the information more easily.
Read more: Exploring 5 types of asynchronous training
Attend to different learning needs
People within an organization need to learn different things, and they also learn differently. So they should be trained differently. One way to do this is to ensure that trainees can access learning materials in more than one form. Perhaps the majority prefer the video format, but also having the transcript (or subtitles) available will cater to the needs of those who have a visual impairment or even to those who have to work in a loud or disruptive environment.
Another way to meet learners’ needs is to design training courses in bite-sized modules. In this way, employees who are tight on time can still make progress with their training, while those who can focus on more than one module can do so as well.
Focus on adaptive learning
Factors such as the organizational department they belong to, how long they’ve been working in the industry and how much specific knowledge they already have, or what are their career goals for the future, all have an impact on how well an employee or another will perform in a training program. That’s why, as an L&D specialist, you need to explore how adaptive learning can help you design the best learning experiences for remote employees.
Adaptive learning makes it possible for a trainee to get personalized recommendations on what online training courses to attend and in which order, get timely and personalized support all the way through their learning journey, and be assessed in specific ways. As long as the online learning environment caters to their particular training needs, remote employees will get better results.
Make the most of learning technologies
When the team is scattered in different locations and employees work mainly on their own hours, mitigating all these differences and ensuring continuous learning for everyone is paramount. A business Learning Management System (LMS) can overcome all the logistical obstacles and turn them into real opportunities.
Not only that, but an LMS is a complete solution for personalizing training to remote employees. It allows instructional designers to create asynchronous courses, with learning materials and training modules in different formats while also incorporating specific features that make adaptive learning possible.
Remote work has transformed overnight from an occasional perk to a (seemingly) permanent necessity. Digital transformation in training and development got a huge boost and will not be reversed. As a result, it is important to develop digital training strategies that provide personalized training and support for remote workforces.
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and MATRIX. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author, and educator.