Remote Training 101: The Value of Blended Learning In A Remote Environment

COVID-19 caused millions of people to shift to remote work, and it was essential for teams to pivot and learn how to facilitate remote training. But, keeping pace with a rapidly changing global landscape while remote was no easy task and continues to be a challenge for tons of businesses around the globe. But have no fear; This blog post is here to provide you with three of the most helpful approaches we’ve applied to virtual learning at Lessonly, along with some best practices, benefits, and potential drawbacks of each. When creating a remote learning plan, you have to consider all of your options and how to best serve your learners. Let’s dive in!

1. Self-Led Training

The gold standard in self-led virtual training is to use an online training software. Using an LMS for remote training, can be a quick, easy way to disseminate information. The time investment for a trainer is all up front, and once the training is constructed, it can be easily distributed to learners across different time zones to consume at a time that is convenient for them. There will be little to no schedule shuffling needed, and you can ensure that all learners are getting the same information. Generally, learning and development software also allows training teams to track learning and distribute assessments to understand the comprehension of that training. 

When creating a self-led training, it is important to understand the following:

Learning Objectives

What do you want your learners to walk away with from this training with? What information is new, and what behavior are you looking to impact?

Time Investment

How much time should your learners be spending on this training? How long will it take to build this training? Once completed, will the training still be timely? Be sure to set expectations with your learners so they have a clear understanding of what they need to invest in the training and what they can expect to get out of it (“What’s in it for me?”)

Engagement

How do you construct your virtual training so learners both want to complete the training and apply the content that they have learned to their role? Using an interactive training software can make this a breeze to implement!

Once you have a plan for this training, use a training management software or a free online training platform to build and deploy your training. Two common challenges of using a training platform for remote training, especially if the platform is new to learners after they’re already remote, are one, desire to participate in the training, and two, a lack of general understanding of how to use the platform. If the training is mandatory, ensure that you have clearly communicated your expectations and put a process in place to support accountability. Also, if you are teaching complex or nuanced topics with this method, not having an in-person discussion to explore these topics with trainers or peers can make them more difficult to understand and implement successfully. 

2. Instructor-Led Training

On the opposite end of the remote training spectrum is remote classrooms. In this case, a webinar is scheduled via some platform (Zoom, WebEx, Google+ Hangouts) where a trainer presents the content to the learners live. When you’re presenting content that you’d like learners to discuss or ask questions about, this is generally the preferred approach. It will create consistency in messaging, can be incredibly quick to spin up, and gives your learners a chance to dig in deeper to understand what is unclear. Some of these tools also have cool features which allow you to put learners into virtual breakout rooms to have either guided or self-led discussion on the content. 

Common challenges with this approach are that if you have learners across many different time zones, it can be difficult to get everyone on the same call. This can turn into having to present the same content multiple times at wild hours, which no one enjoys. Additionally, if there are any scheduling conflicts, some learners may not attend any of the virtual training sessions. Depending on the size of your organization and the number of learners you are training, it can also be difficult to track who is actually attending any of these sessions. 

3. Blended Learning

Last but not least, we land somewhere in the middle with a combination of training with an online training software and a virtual classroom. At Lessonly, we love this approach as it provides learners the opportunity to leverage both flavors of training and truly get the best of both worlds. 

In this case, we recommend assigning learners some pre-learning through a learning and development software to complete prior to the “in-person” training session. This gives you, as the trainer, an opportunity to give learners the foundational knowledge on the topic of discussion. We often refer to this as our 101 level content. The learner will then have some time to digest and understand this basic information, and arrive at the virtual classroom with strategic questions, and it will give you the opportunity to dive deeper into the content and have more discussion around complicated nuances that online training can’t quite capture. We find this often can be a huge time saver for your learners by not having to teach the basic concepts. This methodology also supports you in making the most of the in-person time that you have scheduled. 

This approach can take more planning and organizing, but oftentimes it gets you more bang for your buck with your in-person time. We also see lots of success when this in-person session is followed up with an assessment, Practice scenario, or survey via your virtual training software.

Ultimately, the best remote learning plan takes into account what content is being communicated and which of these different approaches would best serve your learners, bandwidth, and budget. 

Have any questions about this or how the Lessonly Services team can help you execute great remote training? Email me at Paige.Scott@lessonly.com and let’s chat!

 

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