COVID-19 has accelerated the inevitable move towards the inclusion of virtual learning as a standard component of workplace development. It makes sense. People need information fast and teams can no longer afford to wait for a learning experience to be designed and presented. Learners need access to information right when they need it – not when you can get it to them.
As you know, it takes time to develop a quality program and now, HR professionals don’t have that luxury, particularly when you need to source and learn to use new tools and technology. The most cost-effective approach is to source existing high-quality programs with a proven record of results.
Why is it important to provide training opportunities even now?
As tempting as it may be to wait for things to return to normal, learning needs to continue. You can’t wait until the world is back in the office because work as we know it may not exist anymore. Some of your people may never return to working full-time from the office. Learning programs must change or HR will become irrelevant.
Especially important now is meeting people’s need for connection and inclusion. Working from home can be lonely and distance erodes the connections within teams. Daily check-ins or stand-ups online don’t cut it. When you provide a well-designed and interactive online experience, you give people the structure and connection they need.
By providing your people with quality online development, they feel invested in – as though they matter and haven’t been forgotten. This is a basic human need that HR can’t ignore just because the teams are out of sight.
Is it worth the investment?
There has been a lot of research done into the impact of online learning and these are some of the most interesting findings.
- Online learning can increase learning retention rates by 25% to 60%.
- Online learning takes 40% to 60% less time to complete when compared to traditional learning.
- 60% of users believe online courses fit better into their lifestyle and schedules
- IBM saved approximately $200 million after switching to online learning.
The benefits are there for the people and the company but to achieve good results like those, you need more than a series of video-based learning programs. You need a cohesive learning experience which is interactive, engaging and well-designed.
Here’s what to look for in offering online learning to your team.
Short and engaging: Bursts of learning are easier to work through and suit our short attention spans. Bite-size pieces which are high-energy and engaging help keep us focused and won’t drag resources away from ‘business as usual’.
Complete course and single units: Choose programs which can be delivered as an entire course or through standalone units which can be taken according to need. Offering workshops form the same source means your team members consistently gain the same skills and knowledge, keeping everyone on the same page.
Real-world: Look for examples or scenarios which are true to the real world. The learning must be based on workplace practicality, so learners clearly link the learning with their work need. Facilitated workshops will help learners think about how to use the learning on-the-job.
“Very engaging and insightful experience.”
Accessibility: Many people access the internet on their smartphones so slides or animations need to be visible and legible on all devices, including the small screen of a mobile phone. Look for presentations which are clear and uncluttered.
Interactive: Elements such Q&A’s, short games, quizzes, or online tests make learning interactive and engaging. Programs like Athena’s which include these elements are high energy and entertaining while delivering on learning outcomes.
“Linda was really great at facilitating this workshop virtually. I felt engaged and I really took a lot out of the sessions.”
Facilitated: A face-to-face experience through tools like Zoom can build inclusion. Instead of just delivering information, a facilitator will involve learners in the discussion either through the chat feature or directly. A great facilitator will ensure the quieter people also contribute to the conversation and learning.
Varied tools: Well-designed learning experiences use multiple teaching methods to explain the most important concepts. People learn by seeing, hearing, and doing, so online workshops and programs which incorporate different modes of learning will deliver the best results.
Measurable: As with any training, the learning experience should be measurable. You need to be able to monitor the results both now and over the longer term to know if the course is effective and driving your learning and development outcomes.
Engaging: Especially important in virtual learning is the facilitator’s ability to engage the learners. It doesn’t matter how clever the tools or how clear the visuals if the facilitator doesn’t hold the learner’s attention and help them connect the dots.
“I don’t know how you managed to do it so well over Zoom, but it was equally engaging as if we were in person and so well facilitated. Thank you, Linda.”
I know there’s a lot of information in this article, but I want to give you the best guidance I can, and it’s all based on solid experience.
Interested in offering more engaging training for your talent? Take a look at our one-off workshops, which can also be combined into a tailored program offering. Contact us today so we can help you create a powerful and engaging program.