Take a breath: can we do effective remote training?
This is the latest installment in the Take a Breath series, in which we explore ways to transform the pandemic challenges into positive strategic improvements.
During the first weeks of the work-from-home order, our priorities were basic: sustain the business. But as weeks turn into months, we have the need and the room to schedule less urgent activities, including training. Can training be successful in an all-remote format? Yes, if you take some precautions.
Some topics can be 100% self-paced
Some technical topics can lend themselves quite well to self-learning. Use your LMS (learning-management system) to check progress.
Even when topics lend themselves to self-learning, it’s very useful to designate mentors and avenues for asking questions. If you have groups of learners, schedule live office hours so mentors can use their time more productively.
Schedule short sessions
Many topics demand an instructor-led format. This is particularly true of soft skills, since they require practice. (You would not learn to swim virtually, without a pool–and you cannot learn to work with angry customers virtually either! You need to supply an angry customer to practice with.)
As you schedule remote learning sessions, do not exceed 3 hours. Chop up day-long workshops into smaller slices.
Turn on the webcams
After months of video meetings, your team should be less shy about appearing on video. Mandate turning on the webcams during training sessions. Visual checks are infinitely useful to facilitators–and fellow learners.
Use pre-work and post-work
Even when the topic demands a live format, you can package some materials to be consumed independently. A short lecture before the class, and perhaps some follow-up practice are typical. Include short tests to ensure that the work is actually done.
Involve the managers
Training is a process, not an event. It usually takes time, and practice, to master a new topic. Share the outcomes of training sessions with the managers. Craft activities and discussion points that managers can use to reinforce the training.
How are you handling training requirements? Please share in the comments.