Remote Learning Best Practices: How Learners can Optimize Their Own Experience


Posted April 28, 2020

Employers spend a lot of money on training their employees. A report from Training Magazine estimates U.S. businesses spend nearly $90 billion annually on employee training and development.
"We think people are spending more because the skills required in roles are changing very quickly," Niall McKinney, president of professional certification platform AVADO, told HR Dive. “As more jobs become automated, employers need to help employees re-deploy in new or more advanced areas."
With so much investment in their workers, it’s critical for businesses to ensure they’re gaining maximal benefits. But it's not just the trainers or learning methodology that determines the return on investment: participants themselves make a critical difference. Poorly prepared participants will not get the full benefit – or even, in extreme cases, any benefit – of the skills development, particularly when it comes to remote learning. Yes, virtual training and online courses offer numerous advantages, but they also present wholly different learning experiences and can be challenging for some participants. How can they get the most benefit out of the experience?

Get the basics right: make sure you have a good Internet connection and the right equipment.

Employees who are struggling with their Internet connection or equipment may fail to keep up with the instruction and may even miss entire sections of the class. If nothing else, delays and stutters in the conversation cause frustration that erodes the overall experience and, likely, long-term learning retention.

Come into the training with the right mindset.

Participants will not get the most out of the training if they don’t take it seriously enough to devote their full time and attention to it. This is especially true when it comes to skills development – not just knowledge mastery – because it takes time, energy, and effort to absorb, consider, and practice the skills. Even better, participants should come into their first session prepared with questions, to engage, and to work collaboratively with fellow students.

Dedicate a certain amount of time every week at the same time.

Here’s a hard fact: most people don’t finish self-paced online courses, and they don’t follow up on instructor-led virtual training. They may have the best intentions, but they just don’t do the work. It can help to set up a dedicated routine: set a day and time (e.g., Monday morning from 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.) for that day’s training module or session. Then, they should set aside another hour once or twice a week to practice what they’ve learned. Ideally, they’ll spend another hour revising or re-working it. They should take the time needed to master the material and not just rush through it. Employers, in turn, need to realize that classroom time is only part of the learning experience and allow their team the added time necessary to genuinely master the material.

Consider the employee’s learning style.

Virtual training sessions, which simulate in-person classroom learning, offer interactive, real-time collaboration with instructors and colleagues. However, it’s still not quite the same as in-person classrooms, and participants shouldn’t expect as much handholding in remote learning situations. Some employees have the personal discipline to perform well in that situation. Others, however, don’t. Employees and employers need to consider strategies for supporting and incentivizing less disciplined employees to maximize their investment in e-learning.
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: Internal, HR Dive, Training Magazine