Remote training is an inescapable topic both currently and over the past few years. Especially since the COVID-19 pandemic, the economy has been shifting toward remote work like never before. Another reason for remote work’s sudden rise in popularity is the fact that mobile device technology has progressed so far that there are now virtually no barriers preventing people from doing many kinds of work just as efficiently from home as they could in the office.
It’s true that not all jobs can be done remotely. But many jobs, such as gig work and work done for agencies, like in real estate, can actually be done just as (if not more) effectively remotely.
If you’re going to give workers like these the opportunities to work remotely, it’s also important to give them the ability for remote training.
What's Remote Training?
Remote training is the practice of helping your employees or workforce improve their professional skills and knowledge via online training courses and other digital learning materials. Employees or workers can engage with these resources no matter where they’re physically located.
Why's Remote Job Training Important?
Training your workers remotely instead of in person has all kinds of benefits. Remote job training can work for nearly every kind of employee; however, it’s most effective for gig worker training and training people who work on behalf of agencies, like real estate agents.
Here are some compelling statistics that demonstrate the importance of remote job training:
In a 2020 study about the future of remote work post-pandemic, 74% of professionals and 76% of entrepreneurs said they believe remote work will become the new normal. This indicates a need for businesses to improve their capacity for remote learning to keep up with the trend toward fully remote work.
61% of employees say they would rather work fully remotely than work in the office. Empowering these employees to work from their preferred locations can have a huge impact on morale, and thus productivity, at your company. A major part of accommodating this shift is providing them with opportunities for remote workplace training.
72% of technology companies employ remote workers. Virtual training in the workplace is nothing new because the majority of companies have already begun to embrace remote working preferences. Companies that refuse to accommodate remote workers with virtual training materials could be at a disadvantage.
30% of remote workers don't receive adequate training from their employers. Remote work isn't just on the rise — it’s already common. A large percentage of people work from home all or part of the time. Many companies allow remote work, and a growing number of millennial and gen Z workers refuse to work for any company that doesn't. Yet, there are still companies that don't accommodate remote workers with online training options.
When you actually provide your workers with the kind of training that works best for them, you can dramatically improve satisfaction. Not only that, but you’ll likely see the results reflected in tangible business metrics like retention and engagement. When you give people the power to learn the way they want to learn, you can create a happier workforce.
Remote Training Strategies
One of the most common reasons business leaders express hesitation about remote training is that they don’t believe employees can be as productive and engaged if they aren’t physically present at the office. Worries like “there are too many distractions at home” or “it’s too hard to hold workers accountable for their productivity” are common refrains among remote work skeptics. However, with the right remote training strategies, online learning can be every bit as effective as in-person training sessions.
Here are some examples of the most effective remote training strategies and some tips for delivering training remotely in a way that’s just as engaging as in-person learning.
Keep Content Short and Sweet
Flexibility is frequently cited as a reason people prefer working remotely to working in the office. Effective remote training should take this preference into account.
Instead of formatting remote training courses into long seminars that require learners to sit for hours at a time, break the lessons up into short, bite-sized pieces that learners can complete at their own pace. This is called microlearning. If they only have time for a module here and there, they’ll still get the training finished as fast as they’re able and people who prefer to get it all out of the way in one marathon session still have that option.
When you give your workers the flexibility to learn in whatever way works best for them, you’ll likely see engagement go up.
One of the most important parts of your remote training program is actually about what your employees can teach you. In other words, it’s essential to analyze the way employees are interacting, succeeding, and/or failing with your training content so you can adjust accordingly.
If you notice an employee is having trouble applying a particular concept, you can reach out to them with additional support. If you notice many of your employees are having trouble applying that particular concept, you may decide you need to make a change to your training strategy to address that knowledge gap. If you don’t track and analyze your learners’ interactions with your training content, it’s very difficult to make decisions like these.
Use Blended Learning
Blended learning is a style of learning that combines remote learning strategies with in-person learning strategies. This is a great way to accommodate everyone’s preferred learning style, whether they’re someone who likes to learn remotely or someone who needs face-to-face time with an instructor.
There are multiple styles of blended learning. For example, one way to incorporate blended learning into your remote training strategy is to have a real instructor present training content via a live or prerecorded video. Afterward, learners can complete related coursework at their own pace.
Set Clear Objectives with Learning Paths
One of the challenges of remote training is that it can be difficult for learners to stay organized in a totally self-guided system. It’s helpful to make training objectives extremely clear and establish concrete steps to achieve them. One way to do this is with learning paths. Online training software like Northpass allows you to program customized learning paths that guide predetermined groups of users through the most relevant training content in the best order.
Foster a Community
One of the biggest advantages (or disadvantages, depending on who you ask) of the internet is the way it makes it easy to connect with other people no matter where you’re located. You can leverage this in your online learning environment.
Incorporating a social aspect into your online training strategy can make it possible for your learners to share resources and support one another, as well as make it easier for your training team to identify learners who are struggling and need to be offered extra support.
Enabling a sense of community in your online academy also mimics the sense of camaraderie and accountability that you would find in an in-person training setting with multiple learners.
Remote Training Software
You have no shortage of options when it comes to remote training software. Since remote work and remote training have become so commonplace, it makes sense that there would be a lot of tools to accommodate them. Some of the most popular examples of remote training software are tools like Slack or Zoom. While these tools are great for communicating with employees online, they aren’t specifically designed for employee training.
If you want to create the most effective online training program possible, you should consider using a learning management system (also called an LMS). Learning management systems have all the features you need to create the ideal remote learning experience for your employees. For example:
Interactivity: Interactive training materials promote better engagement than information dumps that require no input from the learner. Including interactive media like quizzes or infographics can help improve course completion rates.
Intuitiveness: Learners should be able to use your training materials with ease. If they have to fight against the interface to get through the course, their attention will be focused on that and not on retaining the information they’re learning.
Scalability: Your employee training program should be able to accommodate your future workforce just as well as your current one. An LMS can deliver remote training content to all your remote employees no matter how quickly your organization expands.
Measurability: Many learning management systems come with built-in tools for measuring the health of your remote training program. For example, Northpass includes analytics features that make it easy to track metrics like course completion rates and spot prominent knowledge gaps.