Posted April 14, 2020
American employers have been steadily gravitating toward remote working for years. In the past decade, the prevalence of remote working has grown by an astounding 91%, according to a report from career marketplace FlexJobs and Global Workplace Analytics. The 2020 COVID-19 pandemic has poured gasoline on that fire, with the result that an unprecedented number of workers now find themselves working from home.
But the needs of the workplace don’t change just because its circumstances have. Employees still need opportunities for career development, upskilling, and re-skilling to meet the demands of their jobs. In fact, if anything, some skills development – like improving communication and writing abilities – becomes even more pressing to facilitate long-distance collaboration. But how can employers train or develop a remote workforce when it comes to practical skills like communication, presenting, and writing? What options are available, and how do they compare?
All Remote Learning Options
To start, it’s worth noting that all remote learning formats for writing skills development share a few characteristics, namely flexibility and convenience. E-learning fits today’s working style seamlessly by giving participants the freedom to learn on their own terms, from anywhere, using any web-enabled device. To be fair, nothing can quite replace the dynamic energy of in-person training, but the sheer convenience of e-learning also makes it cost-efficient, with no need to pay travel expenses or overhead related to the training. But from there, different remote learning formats diverge.
Good for: All employees, regardless of learning style. Virtual training simulates seated classrooms. Instructor-led, interactive, and customizable, the virtual training format allows participants to call in from wherever they are and still gain access to a learning environment with the immediacy and responsiveness of in-person learning. Virtual training also offers much the same flexibility as the classroom setting. For example, today’s sophisticated virtual platforms enable instructors to incorporate a wide array of media into their lessons, and they can break the full virtual classroom out into smaller groups to work on writing or editing exercises together, before returning to the main virtual classroom for group discussion. That way, participants get real-time feedback on their work from the instructor, can ask questions at any time, and benefit from lively discussion and close collaboration.
Good for: Self-starters with difficult schedules. Online courses are packaged sequences of pre-recorded, self-paced training sessions. Each course typically consists of a series of short modules that participants can tackle one at a time on their own schedule and at their own pace. Courses do incorporate some degree of interactivity through built-in quizzes, but participants need to have the discipline to dive into material without the real-time guidance of an instructor. This is especially noteworthy for writing skills development, which relies on practical, applied experience to master. In some cases, students may be able to get after-the-fact feedback from a trainer by submitting their work for review and comment.
About Hurley Write, Inc.
Hurley Write, Inc., a certified women-owned small business (WBENC and WOSB), Historically Underutilized (HUB), and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise (DBE), has been designing and teaching customized onsite and online technical, business, and scientific writing courses for over 30 years. We also develop and teach specialty courses, such as how to write proposals and standard operating procedures (SOPs) and deviation and investigation reports, and how to prepare and give great presentations. Links: FlexJobs