5 Things To Consider When Shifting To Remote Workplace Learning
The Shift To Remote Workplace Learning
The modern workforce is rapidly changing and the increasing shift to remote work has now become a focal concern for organizations of every industry globally. The initial frantic rush to remote work and learning due to COVID-19 may be past us, but the current situation should have your team evaluating how to implement remote workplace experiences in the long term.
Remote Culture: Fad Or Future?
Prior to the unprecedented shift to both mandated and socially encouraged social distance practices, remote company culture was already gaining traction, with 50% of the US workforce conducting compatible telework to some extent and approximately 40% of the workforce already working remotely at some frequency, according to Global Workplace Analytics.
When organized and supported properly, remote work can lead to increased productivity, significant savings in terms of time and cost, as well as happier and safer employees. New tools and technology make it easier than ever to connect and collaborate from various locations or to even conduct business entirely online. While not all job functions can be rolled out digitally, it is certainly not impossible to incorporate projects and activities for remote work.
Remote eLearning: The Future Of Professional L&D
Fortunately, Learning and Development (L&D) is one of the critical business functions that can be managed almost entirely remotely in many industries. Implementing a digital training program provides you with a flexible and sustainable solution that can keep employees engaged, productive, and continuously learning not only during times of transition, but as your organization scales and business needs evolve in the years to come.
Although recreating the experience of Instructor-Led sessions in a digital environment can be challenging, it’s certainly not impossible. Take note of these 5 key considerations before rolling out your remote workplace learning program:
1. Your Current Learning Ecosystem
The learning ecosystem is the combination of tools and solutions used to deliver, manage, and track your digital training programs. This includes but is not limited to: the Learning Management System (LMS); HR solutions, curated content; and tools for social connectivity, reporting, or other needs.
In order to successfully engage learners, foster engagement, and deliver impactful learning programs, your learning ecosystem needs to include a few key components: an interoperable platform, dynamic reporting, and unique training experiences that are tailored to the needs of your learners. Flexible technology options that are available in the market today allow organizations to build a best-of-breed learning solution that meets their specific goals and budget requirements, while also connecting with its other important systems. Open-source LMS solutions in particular integrate well with other third-party products and invite limitless possibilities for tailoring your workplace learning program. As new technologies emerge, it is also easy to plug them into your learning ecosystem, allowing you to create a future-proof solution.
2. Workplace Learning For…Who? Define Your Audience
Not only is it important to evaluate the content you plan to incorporate into your learning ecosystem, it’s just as important to determine what members of your team you’ll be able to effectively support through remote workplace learning. Certain roles will require specific onboarding, certification or compliance processes, and detailed Instructor-Led lessons or hands-on collaborative projects for certain departments can often be challenging to transition to an online environment.
The key to delivering effective remote workplace learning is to create your programs with the unique needs of your company’s learners in mind. Once you’ve decided who your learners are and what trainings they can benefit from, you can mirror your organization’s hierarchal structure within your digital platform in order to more easily designate specific lessons, courses, resources, or certifications to certain audiences. Prioritize relaying the most important information through course content and activities that are going to resonate with your learners. Create individualized learning paths when necessary to make sure your employees are taking the time to learn only what is relevant and of interest to them. You can also leverage the latest learning technologies or incorporate multiple styles of learning in order to create tailored training programs that positively influence business bottom line.
3. Your eLearning Content Toolbox
One of the biggest benefits of shifting to eLearning is the numerous opportunities it provides to incorporate various types of formal and informal learning content. A learning ecosystem that includes a dynamic variety of tools and teaching methods helps provide employees with a more engaging and memorable experience, encouraging information retention, learning success, and improved business outcomes. This can include micro content in the form of short video clips, gamified activities and lessons, forums for cross-company collaboration, self-regulated learning, and virtual classrooms.
It’s important to make sure the content in your eLearning toolkit is relevant, engaging and, most importantly, effective in order to ensure the best possible learning experience for employees. As they say, content is king and quality online training material is essential to successful remote workplace learning. Fortunately, the eLearning market offers a vast array of content options to plug into your open-source platform. This allows you to pick and choose from affordable solutions that effectively address specific learning needs and requirements, from pre-made and off-the-shelf content used for basic skills training and compliance to custom content built specifically for the needs of your organization.
4. Supporting Your L&D Team
The shift to remote workplace learning will likely impact your organization’s L&D and IT teams the heaviest. Many organizations lack the bandwidth and expertise to build and maintain an effective eLearning program while supporting the day-to-day IT or HR needs that keep a business running smoothly. The resources allocated to supporting your digital training program will largely determine the value and success of your workplace learning investment.
As you make the transition to remote workplace learning, ensure your IT team and eLearning administrators are fully supported with the resources and solutions they need to effectively reach and exceed business goals. Many organizations choose to relieve their team of the burden of hosting and maintaining the learning platform entirely and instead choose to work with an LMS hosting provider. Having an eLearning partner who can serve as an extension of your IT team and assist in the tedious backend maintenance of your LMS frees up your team to focus on the most important aspects of your program: creating engaging learning content, generating the necessary reports, and providing the best learning experience as possible to users.
Based on the size and bandwidth of your team, you may want to consider an LMS that provides a high level of support, as it can save your organization significantly in terms of cost and productivity. Your eLearning partner should also be able to help you leverage a tailored and future-proof remote workplace learning solution for years to come. A few telltale signs can help you determine whether your L&D team might benefit from additional support.
5. Planning For Long-Term Distance Learning Practices
Now more than ever, the future of workplace learning as well as business operating procedures, in general, are in flux as plans and priorities shift to ensure the convenience, safety, and wellbeing of employees. If it wasn’t already true, there’s an argument to be made that no business can thrive long-term without incorporating some form of distance learning.
With digital remote work and learning as a piece of your company’s standard operating procedures or contingency plan, your organization can be fully prepared to respond quickly and effectively in the event of an emergency. With a smooth transition to an online format, employees can stay connected, informed, and productive.
Additionally, it’s important to evaluate the long-term goals of your workplace learning programs in order to provide support not only in times of crisis but throughout the entirety of the employee lifecycle. Think about how your company can help support the career development of your employees while encouraging consistent, quality work performance.
As we all adjust to the new norm, organizations must continue to support, educate, and connect teams while making the long-term transition to remote work practices. To make an impact, determine the components you need in your learning ecosystem (i.e., platform, content, additional technology), identify your audience and training goals, consider additional support for your L&D teams, and plan long-term. The work you’re putting into creating processes to support your teams through this transition doesn’t have to be temporary. Investing the time to create a flexible interoperable, and future-proof digital workplace learning program can have lasting benefits for your company in the years to come.
This article was originally posted on eLearning Industry. To learn more about creating remote workplace learning programs or eThink's fully-managed solutions, contact us or request an individual demonstration below.
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