What is remote training and why is it important?

The goal of remote training is to upskill your workforce, so they become experts in their role.

The three main remote training styles are:

  • Synchronous training: An example of this is an instructor-led class where everyone in the course is learning together. Time dependency is a key feature of synchronous learning as employees are participating as a group at a set time.
  • Asynchronous training: This type of remote learning is self-paced. Remote workers access modules on remote training software in their own time and complete assignments independently. The role of an instructor in this instance is to grade work. Rather than deliver live lessons.
  • Blended learning: A course that takes a blended approach uses elements from both asynchronous and synchronous training. This means remote employees take self-paced learning modules in addition to attending live classes.

Remote training is highly valued by employees as it gives them the freedom to take courses from their homes. They don’t need to worry about travelling to a venue or taking time off work. On top of that — for organisations, remote training is very cost-effective as they can recycle training material for future use.

How to train remote employees: 9 tips & best practices

Refining or setting up a remote training programme is a huge project. But our helpful tips and best practices should make this process much easier.

1.   Use an engagement tool to reward excellent work

Setting learning milestones is an effective method to mark your remote workers' progress when they are completing online courses. Rewarding them as they learn increases engagement with training materials and makes the experience much more fulfilling.

Creating a reward system is easier when you have a comprehensive engagement solution such as Perkbox. With Perkbox, managers can send Reward points to their remote teams when they pass a training module. The more points employees have the bigger the reward they can claim. What’s more, because Perkbox work with global brands, international organisations can reward every employee, regardless of what country they’re in.

Other features Perkbox includes:

  • Peer-to-peer recognition: Get teams sending recognition when they complete training and build a culture that celebrates learning and development.
  • Benefits and discounts: Save your teams’ money on personal development courses, in addition to 1,000s of global brands — including the latest tech, health and beauty products, days out, fashion, and more.
  • Wellbeing support: Learning for long periods of time is both mentally and physically exhausting. But with a wellbeing platform, employees can take time out to stretch and workout.

2.   Make remote training and development part of your culture

If you want to nurture a culture that prioritises learning and development, you need to have support from senior leaders. This is especially important if your remote training program requires a significant investment.

Training remote employees has many benefits — aside from producing a highly skilled workforce, learning in itself is a highly motivating experience. Employees are often eager to apply their recently learned skills and enjoy imparting their new knowledge to others.

Before approaching senior leadership we recommend refining your remote training strategies. Doing this helps them review goals at a glance and understand what you need to achieve them.

3.   Invest in remote training tools

Choosing the right remote training software is tough as there is so much choice.  Generally though, when an organisation wants a remote training platform, they are referring to a learning management system.

A learning management system facilitates employee training by acting as an all-in-one remote training tool to store and deliver course materials. It also includes functionality to track your remote teams’ progress.

With the most comprehensive remote training software you can:

  • Upload, create, and edit your content on the go
  • Easily add and remove employees to the learning portal
  • Track employee progress
  • Evaluate the effectiveness of training sessions
  • Deliver Q&A sessions and live webinars

For smaller budgets, you can use a mixture of tools in place of remote training programs such as:

  • Video conferencing software
  • Online file storage systems
  • Cloud-based apps
  • Audio or video recording software

4.   Make remote employee training a social event when possible

When possible, try to make online training courses collaborative. Recaps are an easy way to achieve this. During these sessions, employees reflect on what they have learned through the remote training software, and talk about any challenges they faced. Don’t forget, remote workers have a higher risk of loneliness in comparison with in-office teams, so always look for opportunities to bring them together.

5.   Think about how you will deliver training and the format it will take

Depending on your approach, the delivery of your online training sessions will vary. If you think instructor-led classes are best you would need to prepare presentations, demonstrative videos, and pdfs — all of these training materials lend themselves to group learning and cater to different learning styles. Alternatively, if your course includes chapters that require self-paced learning, eLearning modules and pre-recorded video lessons would be more appropriate.

Remote manager pointing at their laptop during a video training session

6.   Support remote learning with regular drop-ins

When everyone is in the same building, employees are more likely to see their instructors at the water cooler or pass them in the corridor. So it’s much easier to talk about the course and ask questions as part of their everyday conversation. But things are different when it comes to remote work.  When training a remote team, these impromptu chats won’t happen. This is why you need to put time aside to answer questions over a video call or email. Of course, you don't need to respond to every query instantly, but making the effort to reach out to students helps them engage better with your course.

7.   Create a remote learner community

The great thing about employees learning remotely is that they are not constrained by traditional training methods, which are more common in classroom environments. Still, it’s important to establish values, so everyone knows how to behave in lessons.

Good examples of values include:

  • Respect: Not shouting over people in virtual classrooms.
  • Integrity: Working together and helping each other.
  • Purpose: Understanding the goal of the course.
  • Accountability: Taking responsibility for behaviour.

So everyone can share what they’re doing, consider setting up a separate channel within your instant messaging platform. Also, think about the communication tools your employees use most when remote working. It’s no good to rely on email if people only check it once or twice a day.

8.   Try to keep all of your learning resources in one place

When delivering corporate training, you need to ensure all of your training materials are easy to find. When employees are juggling the demands of remote work in addition to learning a new skill all course materials need to be accessible.

Using a centralised communication platform — such as what Perkbox offers, allows you to organise your course content with engaging visual cards. Each card supports a range of attachments, including pdfs, docs, videos, audio, and more. There are plenty of card templates to choose from and you can also create your own if you want to.

9.   Track learning outcomes

There are many ways to track online learning outcomes. The most obvious being attendance and module completion. Feedback is also an important metric, as your training needs to adapt to any changes. Of course, the responses you collect will likely be mixed, but having an awareness of different preferences improves later iterations of your training program.

The benefits of digital training

The most significant benefits of remote training courses include:

  • Supporting flexible schedules: Virtual instructor-led training videos give remote employees the flexibility to study around their schedule, which is less disruptive and stressful. Additionally, employees are also more likely to complete courses when they can accommodate them into their routine.
  • Reducing anxiety: Depending on an employee's experience with learning, being in a classroom environment may induce anxiety. But because remote learning takes place in their home, it’s less likely to trigger anxiety symptoms. Additionally, they can keep their webcam off if they feel overwhelmed.
  • Increasing accessibility: If remote workers are living with chronic health conditions they may not be able to sit for long periods in a classroom and won’t be able to travel to a venue. Learning at home brings the classroom to them.
  • Upskilling a global talent pool: Because a virtual training platform can be accessed from anywhere in the world, you can train employees in different regions. This will no doubt grow in importance as the number of nomadic UK workers grows.
  • Saving time: One of the most obvious benefits of participating in remote training is that employees don’t need to commute. If they were completing a course from an external provider they may have to travel into a city, which could take them hours.
  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions: When people are learning from home there is no need for them to use their car or get on a train – which reduces greenhouse gas emissions from transportation. Moreover, they are unlikely to grab a to-go lunch, which eliminates unnecessary plastic waste too.
  • Making your organisation more attractive: Prospective candidates are drawn to companies who invest in their remote employees. So make sure you include details about remote training opportunities in job posts. You should approach remote training as other significant experiences, such as remote onboarding.

Give your new remote employees the best start with our free onboarding ebook.

The challenges of remote training

Providing remote training isn’t without its challenges and some include:

  • Investing in learning management systems: The most sophisticated training programs come at a cost as they are very feature-heavy. Subscription learning providers are another option, but they also require investment. If you don’t have the budget for a bespoke learning system or service, you can build your own using a range of tools, including video conferencing and presentation software.
  • Maintaining engagement: Unlike learning in a group environment, remote employees are by themselves and don’t have anyone to hold them accountable. Fortunately though, there are plenty of ways to increase motivation and engagement. The most effective include building a learning community and rewarding progress.
  • Transitioning to a new way of learning: Remote training is a relatively new experience for a lot of us. Throughout our lives, most of what we’ve been taught has been in person. So, unsurprisingly some employees may struggle with knowledge retention when learning from a computer at home. In these instances, try focusing on a synchronous style of learning as it’s most similar to physical lessons.
  • Issues with resources: If you’ve created any learning materials, take a step back and imagine receiving your own training. A good place to start is sense checking the course structure and materials. Do your lessons follow a logical structure and are they clear? Next, check the quality of the videos and pdfs. After that, make sure everything is accessible and in the right place.
  • A lack of communication: When employees can’t get answers to their questions, their engagement with your course drops. So you need to factor in time to answer queries. Offering drop-in sessions before each training session is one way to do this. Establishing a community is also a good idea as this promotes peer-to-peer learning.2
  • Technical problems: Remote work can come with technical teething issues. Sometimes they’re unavoidable — after all, no system is perfect. But if your virtual classroom or online training platform keeps crashing it’s going to make your online course very difficult to follow. To stop this from occurring, test your course before going live and keep on top of software updates.
  • Stress and burnout: While stress and burnout can affect people taking classes in an office environment, remote learners could be at greater risk as they can access many lessons in one go — especially if they’re learning through pre-recorded videos. Releasing one video at a time is one way to combat this. Additionally, remind them to take care of their wellbeing and maintain a healthy work-life balance.

Remote employee smiling at her notebook after completing her training

Use Perkbox to enhance your virtual training

Delivering training for a remote workforce requires some preparation. First, you need to research software and then plan how your course will run.

Using a comprehensive engagement solution, such as Perkbox enhances your remote workers’ learning experience as you can reward their progress. Celebrating their achievements encourages them to pass their training with flying colours because they're highly motivated.

Don’t forget, as Perkbox includes a wellbeing platform as standard your remote teams can stay active while learning at home. What better way is there to take a break from studying than with a quick workout or relaxing yoga flow?

To find out how Perkbox can enhance your remote learning experience, book a demo today and a member of our team will get back to you.

Remote training: your FAQs answered

How do you provide remote training?

You can provide remote training in many ways. Firstly, you can hold lectures or lessons over video conferencing software where employees are participating simultaneously. Secondly, you can host pre-recorded videos that employees access whenever they want. Usually, online courses include a mix of the two. Depending on your budget, lessons, worksheets, and quizzes will be housed in one learning management system. But, for smaller budgets, keeping everything in the cloud is a good option.

What are the challenges of remote training?

Why is remote training important?

Learn how we can help level-up your employee experience

Create an experience your employees love —  no matter where they are.

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