The surge in remote work this year has meant that many companies have had to reevaluate their L&D programs.
Despite the rise of online training, most companies prefer in-person training sessions. Research from Brandon Hall Group shows that 96% of companies provide instructor-led training, and according to Training Industry, most learners say they prefer training that’s delivered in person.
That, however, is not possible right now. The Covid-19 pandemic has put a halt to conventions and training days; it’s simply not safe to fly your employees out to a conference for several days of training with hundreds of other colleagues right now. Nor is it safe to pack a local conference room with employees and an instructor.
With many people working from home — the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reports that nearly a quarter of American workers are working from home due to the pandemic — training will have to change. That’s especially true when you consider that many organizations are now hiring for virtual positions.
This presents a challenge for both the L&D departments that have relied on in-person training, and for the employees who are used to attending them. How can your organization move to a remote setting without disrupting your training? It may not be as overwhelming as you think.
Best practices for converting your in-person training for remote learners
- Remember that live training and online training have different strengths. If you’re thinking of simply recording the lecture your trainer would have given in person, popping it into a module and calling that a course, let me stop you right there. In-person training has lots of strengths – learners can interact with the lecturer, ask questions, and have conversations about complex or difficult concepts. The strengths of online training are different. With e-learning, learners can learn something quickly wherever they are, boost retention by repeating a module, or look up information they need when they’re doing a task. When you design a remote learning program, keep these things in mind as you choose your modalities. Which set of strengths will work best for your learners and your course material?
- Make use of micro-learning. In an in-person training, a lecturer might go over several topics in one session. That might work in person but online, shorter content is better. Chunk your content into smaller pieces, delivering a module on one topic at a time. That will keep remote learners focused, let them quickly learn when they need to, and provide a searchable library of content that learners can search when they need information.
- Supplement your existing content with off-the-shelf learning modules. Now that everyone is working remotely, it can be difficult to distribute some information to your team, like compliance updates and more general information. Off-the-shelf course libraries can help supplement your learning program. You can quickly and inexpensively add modules to your program, and the modules are designed by experts to be engaging and up-to-date.
- Love ILT? Keep it. Just because you aren’t able to gather in person, doesn’t mean you should throw out instructor-led training. Features like SAP Litmos’ ILT module let you add live or instructor-led training sessions to your LMS so that remote learners can get all the benefits of an instructor-led session without any of the risk.
- Don’t try to change a successful training program. You might have an extremely successful ILT training program, and you might be thinking that now — when everyone is working remotely and you’re investing in an LMS — is the time to expand that training program and make it available to the entire company. Before you do that, remember why that training works well in person. Is it because it’s delivered to small groups only? Is it the conversations that happen in that group? Are there activities that engage participants? Whatever the components of that program are, try to maintain them as well as you can. If it’s a program that thrives on small groups and engagement, don’t open it up to everyone at the company at the same time. If activities and conversation are important to the program, think of ways to capture that engagement in an online setting. Whatever you do, don’t hamstring your best training by simply trying to get it online as quickly as possible.
What do your learners want?
While learners do like in-person instruction, it’s not the only modality they like when it comes to delivering training. Training Industry found that virtual instructor-led training (VILT), e-learning and videos were ranked in the top five preferred modalities for all training topics.
Learning, Training Industry finds, is often most successful when it’s offered in different formats, because “when training programs use multiple modalities, they’re more likely to meet learners’ preferences, which is the largest driver of training effectiveness.”
By finding out what modalities work for your learners, or by offering training in different formats — a video and a self-paced module, for example — you’ll have a good chance of improving your training overall.
While training for remote workers will obviously have to be online, you do have options for how to provide that online training. Brandon Hall’s research, for example, found that the use of video learning had risen to 71% during the pandemic, while use of eLearning modules had risen to 71% as well. Use of online games had also risen from 3% before the pandemic to 17% now. All of those options are available in a good LMS.