The dynamic of the workplace is constantly shifting, and as society moves into what is referred to as the ‘digital age’, technology will continue to enhance the workplace and how employees do their job. This includes the rise of the remote worker – according to a Forbes article, there has been a 159% rise in remote working in the US since 2007. They also said that an estimated 50% of the UK workforce will work remotely by the year 2020.
It is developments in technology that have significantly eased communication methods; products such as Skype, Google Suite and Zoom allow conference calls and content to be shared freely between the workforce. It is the increased flexibility of work that makes this desirable to a lot of organisations and employees, as this can have a knock on effect on employee productivity and retention.
In recent weeks, large organisations have had to adapt with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and its numerous impacts. Remote working has been encouraged in order to prevent the risk of the virus spreading further, pushing employees to embrace digital working. For certain industries, employees have been able to adapt and complete their day-to-day tasks from home. However, the challenge for companies is how to continue carrying out the critical mission of learning in a non-traditional workplace. In order to help organisational growth, it is vital to maintain user engagement and provide performance support in order to continue developing employees’ skills and knowledge, especially in a remote environment.
Due to recent circumstances, face-to-face training initiatives and classroom sessions are being cancelled. However, learning shouldn’t have to be disrupted and online learning platforms can provide on-demand performance support for employees, delivering both continual training for their personal development, as well as mandatory training.
Learners remain engaged
Firstly, remote learning has much more flexibility and accessibility compared to more traditional methods. Like remote working, digital learning modules can be completed across multiple devices, such as laptops and mobiles. So despite the fact that a large number of employees may be away from the office for a period of time, they will still be able to log on and complete their training. Having a training schedule offers greater flexibility also improves employee motivation and engagement, as they are free to complete it at a time most suitable for them.
Disseminating information to employees via bite-sized chunks is more easily retained, as opposed to one-off training sessions where the value of learning diminishes over time. Remote training provides a constant touch-point to employees to encourage them to continue their learning. For example, Wranx uses daily drills made up of approximately 12 questions where content, over time, adapts to individual users and their learning needs. If learning materials have a higher relevance to the learner, this will also increase engagement!
On-demand performance support
Remote learning is another way to provide on-demand performance support, which is essential when employees are working without access to a physical support system. Many employees may turn to their teammates or managers for help, so having a digital back-up is essential. Many platforms have the capabilities to host and store additional learning resources in a variety of formats that employees can access whenever. This encourages self-directed learning and closes any existing knowledge gaps.
Technology also allows leaders and coaches to be visible and responsive to remote staff – online tools with live chat capabilities are widely available and can effectively support real-time guidance to remote workers.
Alongside classic training modules, assessments can also be completed on digital learning platforms. Wranx uses Certainty Based Marking assessments, which require learners to rate the certainty of their answer. Partnering this with daily learning ensures that your employees effectively understand the use of your organisation's product, technology or safety procedures. Managers can remotely monitor employee progression through in-depth performance analytics, which is common on most digital learning platforms. This enables managers to identify ‘confidently incompetent’ employees who need futher support in their learning journey, and helps them to understand who is successfully applying their knowledge when they work remotely.
Remote learning provides numerous organisational and end-user benefits, just like remote working. It is also important in terms of cost and time benefits. It has been found that organisations worldwide spend more than $350 billion on corporate training and education each year, but only 8% of CEOs saw a business impact from L&D. This factor is particularly important in times of uncertainty, as organisations will be wanting to adopt the approach that will benefit their organisation in the long term.
For remote learning to be truly effective, it needs to move away from the one-fits-all approach, which classroom and face-to-face training usually relies on. It is the accessibility, flexibility and personalisation to each learner that ultimately improves team performance and increases knowledge retention.