How to deliver effective workplace learning in the “new normal”

There is undoubtedly a learning curve for trainers as they transition to online learning, in part because it requires the redesign of instructional materials. Content should be designed to be more visual and interactive, and training sessions should be more flexible to allow trainers to move freely between sections – this ensures they are able to engage with employees and include questions and discussions throughout the lesson, writes Claudio Cardile, Managing Director, Barco ANZ

Over the course of the coronavirus pandemic, organisations have had to drastically change the way they operate as employees continue to work from home. Whilst the months spent in lockdown offered a great opportunity for employees to upskill, workplace learning has had little time to adapt to this new, virtual environment.

Companies now find themselves having to rethink about how to best deliver workplace learning, particularly as remote working is likely to continue well beyond the pandemic. Maintaining engagement and interactivity during virtual training is perhaps the most significant challenge, particularly as most organisations conduct these sessions using a software that is primarily designed for video conferencing.

Content should be designed to be more visual and interactive, and training sessions should be more flexible to allow trainers to move freely between sections – this ensures they are able to engage with employees and include questions and discussions throughout the lesson.

Using a video conferencing platform for a training session means when workplace trainers share their content, they can typically only see their own screen and have a limited view of the participants. As a result, they are unable to observe the facial expressions and body language of the participants and to gauge their level of engagement.

Here are some tips on how trainers can deliver effective workplace learning in this new way of working:

  1. Making the content work for an online learning environment

Firstly, trainers need to divide their content into shorter segments to allow employees to take regular breaks. They also need to ensure the flow of the training session is not monotonous by changing both the content and speed of instruction – using a wide variety of teaching tools, such as polls and quizzes, can be of great help. Additionally, trainers should encourage discussion and pay particular attention to the tone of their voice as this has emerged as a key factor in maintaining engagement in the online environment.

In this new virtual setting, trainers will be expected to take on the role of coaches and guide employees through lessons and programs, rather than just delivering information that could otherwise be pre-recorded. Part of this shift will include a move towards hybrid learning in which live trainings will be supplemented by e-learning to be completed prior to the session.

  1. Upskilling workplace trainers to adapt with the changing times

There is undoubtedly a learning curve for trainers as they transition to online learning, in part because it requires the redesign of instructional materials. Content should be designed to be more visual and interactive, and training sessions should be more flexible to allow trainers to move freely between sections – this ensures they are able to engage with employees and include questions and discussions throughout the lesson. Trainers should also spend time practicing before the training session, not only to be better prepared, but also to make sure that the flow of the lesson works well with the online tools and to avoid any possible technical issues.

Maintaining engagement and interactivity during virtual training is perhaps the most significant challenge, particularly as most organisations conduct these sessions using a software that is primarily designed for video conferencing.

  1. Look at digital tools that enable effective remote learning

There are technology platforms that are designed to enable virtual classrooms, which come with built-in interactive tools such as single-question polls, split screens, silent questions, content sharing and whiteboards. These features help keep participants engaged and allow for more active participation as well as greater engagement between them and trainers.

The technology used to facilitate this style of learning can spark more interactivity and cooperation between both in-office and remote participants. It also has the ability to collect real-time data on the level of engagement across the entire session, allowing trainers to adapt their teaching style to best suit each session.

Moving forward, we will see a rise of hybrid workplace learning in which trainers will be able to simultaneously interact with training participants in the room and those who are connected remotely. With remote working expected to remain for the foreseeable future, companies need to ensure they have the right tools and support in place to allow their workforce to stay engaged in this new model of workplace learning.

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