As businesses around the world transition to a more virtual workplace, learning on the job is one of the hardest-hit business activities. The ease of in-person instruction has been replaced with technological difficulties and stay-at-home distractions. That being said, companies can’t pause capability building or risk putting their businesses in jeopardy and they should continue to implement strategies on how to improve performance in a team.
In order to continue employee development efforts, business leaders have implemented various strategies to maximize the effects of virtual training. In fact, according to a 2019 survey of 230 global training professionals conducted by ATD (Association for Talent Development), 93% were using live, online learning. ATD’s research also reveals that 87% of organizations use virtual classes to reach geographically dispersed workers.
COVID-19 should not have the power to halt employee training. So how can we master knowledge transfer in a virtual setting? Here are Knowledge Lab’s 8 tips on how to better train employees in a virtual environment:
- Select a format for training
There are several methods on how you can train your employees in a virtual environment:
- Synchronous – Happens in real-time in a specific online medium. It allows the mediator to address questions in real-time and the interaction between trainees in a group training are more flexible and able to be changed to fit the needs of the individuals present.
- Asynchronous– This is based on the trainee’s schedule. Learning happens through materials provided by the instructor such as reading, lectures for viewing, assignments for completing and exams for evaluation. The trainee has the ability to complete on their own time and at their own pace on a self-guided environment
- Blended– A mixture of asynchronous and synchronous methods.
- Prepare your materials ahead of time
Compile all the necessary materials and ensure they are formatted correctly. Determine if you’ll need handouts and how will the trainees access these materials.
Whether you’re filming a video or doing a live session, you might also want to practice the presentation beforehand to work out the wording, timing, and any other factors that could influence the overall effectiveness of the presentation.
- Utilize all platform functions
Whatever platform you’ll use, whether its Zoom or Google Meet, experiment with more webinar tools rather than just focusing on the conference call mechanism. For example, if someone gets stuck on a concept, you can put them in a virtual breakout room, get them unstuck, and then they can rejoin the group afterwards.
Other underutilized tools include the capabilities to share documents and images, use video, interact and collaborate in shared spaces, meeting in breakout rooms to discuss specific topics, researching a topic for 10 minutes and then, sharing their findings, or brainstorming creative ideas on a virtual whiteboard.
- Ensure that goals are set and trainees have access to the training.
Allow trainees to ask questions before the training on how the session will go. Employees need to know the what, when, why and how of any remote training well before the scheduled session takes place. You also need to work with them to ensure they have the necessary technology to go through the training.
- Make it interactive, not presentational
People learn best by doing, that hasn’t changed now that employees are working from home. During the training, engage your employees as much as you can. This can take a lot of different shapes whether it be breakout rooms for discussion or worksheets. Be creative and think about how you can get the trainees involved.
- Think about the timing
Be mindful of time restraints. Find the balance between overloading trainees with information and underutilizing your time.
- Be prepared to deal with distractions
Working from home brings a unique set of competitors to a training session, the biggest two being children and pets. These might even be a reality for you as the trainer as well. Don’t let this throw you off, be empathetic of the new reality we find ourselves in. You might even be able to include the kids or pets in your session.
- Request for feedback
The best way to improve knowledge transfer from your team is to determine what they need and what would help them learn better. Develop surveys participants can take after the training to gain feedback that can help you improve similar programs in the future.
By implementing these strategies, you can create a high-performance virtual team that collaborates effectively and delivers high-quality results. If you’re ready to transform your organisation and improve team performance in a virtual environment, head to our Corporate Labs and we will help you achieve your business goals.