COVID-19 has completely changed the way we work. The majority of employees work from a distance - or remotely, as they say. During spring, daily business operations got turned upside down, and somehow, most learned to adapt. As flu-season arrives and COVID-case numbers increase again, most businesses now know what’s about to come.
Earlier this year many companies have suspended parts of their L&D programs - actually, in Europe and Asia, almost every company has either postponed or canceled in-person learning opportunities. With often no sufficient online offerings in place, businesses are now struggling to educate employees on valuable digital skills.
In this article, we want to shine a spotlight on the importance of continuous learning & development efforts and present a few guidelines to effectively establish remote learning.
What is remote learning?
With the change towards mainly remote work, traditional, in-person seminars, have a hard time fitting into corporate education. It was already restrictive and expensive in the past, but now it seems to no longer work for modern companies. This is where remote learning comes into play.
Actually, remote learning has been around for years, also known as e-learning, online learning, or web-based training. It means providing your employees with opportunities for further education in a digital way. This does not necessarily mean that this is only e-learning - digital coaching or webinars are also an excellent way to support employees.
Remote learning allows you to support your employees in this challenging phase with access to training.
Why remote learning should be a priority
The Corona pandemic has given the global economy a push regarding digitalization. While, luckily a vast variety of technology is now available to businesses to ease the effects of the pandemic, as it turns out, people aren’t ready for it. Over half of all employees are expected to require reskilling until 2022 (Source: World Economic Forum).
Source: SUSANNE WOLK (TWITTER)
Though the Coronavirus pandemic puts a halt on many business activities, it does not halt the innovation process and the increasing digitalization progression.
Businesses can’t afford to put capability building on hold. Companies can’t merely push the pause button on critical workplace learning whether the effort is reskilling at the business-unit level or a company-wide aspirational transformation. (Source: McKinsey)
Even though the current circumstances add obstacles to existing L&D processes and learning offers, the pandemic should serve as a warning shot to drastically increase the entire workforce’s digital skills. A recent 2020 study found that digital communication and collaboration are among the greatest challenges for remote workers (source: Buffer). This is the time to realize that short-term cost-cutting action won’t serve as a sustainable effort to ensure business success in the future.
How to use Remote Learning successfully
Enable Blended Learning Experience
We all experienced first-hand the importance of personal interaction. In the context of remote learning, of course, we lack the direct personal interaction with a trainer, as we are used to in classical training.
Blended learning can be the solution here.
Blended learning typically combines offline and online learning methods, i.e., e-learning and in-person training. Though, this method can be adapted to fit physical distancing and lockdown regulations. A blended experience is being created by including personal interaction in webinars or digital coaching (via video conferences) into common e-learning courses. Employees can ask questions and chat with each other (if they wish). Trainers or mentors can provide immediate feedback and answer questions.
Keep learners motivated and engaged
Further training measures are only as adequate as their active usage by employees. Too often, learners lose motivation during training or lack practical relevance, which means what they learn cannot be applied and actively trained later on.
Implementing gamification methods (e.g., learning points for completing digital materials or digital leaderboards) has a proven effect on employee engagement.
Over 70% of employees believe that gamification inspires them to work harder (Source: Anadea)
Secondly, practical examples, such as case studies or smaller projects, encourage learners to apply what they have learned. Learning a concept in a sandbox mode under control is different from applying it to the real world - often this is a completely other beast and far more complicated; the result of this discrepancy? Lack of transfer.
Make Learning Social
One of the most important but rarely considered aspects of remote learning is the social component. One of the most common reasons employees don’t take online courses is that it can quickly become a very “lonely” activity. Especially in times of COVID-19, one should actively consider the social aspect of learning within further education measures.
Form smaller learning groups within your team or company to work together on new topics. Often, a focused Slack or Microsoft Teams group in which you regularly exchange information about the current status is sufficient. Giving learners the opportunity to exchange helpful information, discuss a topic, or help each other out with questions is often also a boost in motivation and engagement. If you can set it up, the availability of mentors who can support learners as needed is excellent support within the learning process.
Offers should be personalized
Everyone who has ever been looking for a training course knows the problem: what is the right training or online class for me? Most courses do not pick us up at the point that is relevant to us. However, we often start with a topic that is, unfortunately, either too advanced for us or start at the very beginning. One size fits all learning solutions are extremely ineffective for most people. Learners rarely get exactly the right learning materials they need.
Therefore, we strongly recommend personalizing the training offers for employees and offering the best possible support in learning content selection. At edyoucated, our skill assessment offers every single user personalized learning tracks that only cover content relevant to them.
If you would like to take advantage of the opportunity to introduce highly personalized Remote Learning to your team, please book a free consultation with our team. We would be happy to work with you on the customized training of your employees.