Looking back the last year and its impacts on our global labor market, we cannot fail to notice that a wide range of professions and industries around the world had gone through transformations and changes, and if there is one profession that stands out as such, it certainly is the education industry.
It was Tuesday, the day we were sent home as a temporary measure, following new restrictions and the official authority’s decision to continue the education through a Distance Learning Program in the UAE.
Millions of students worldwide faced the same scenario throughout the year. Traditional teaching model, the face-to-face model had to be completely transformed, reinvented, and had to adapt quickly. Moving from a traditional to remote learning meant adopting new tools, methodologies, creating online content, teaching delivery virtually and live etc. We have tried it all ---- And, it worked!
As much as I don’t want to use the cliché: “what has happened happened”, it became the new reality for the majority of students all over the globe. It is a huge and necessary method of teaching today and it is here to stay.
Educating employees in organizations is no different than that. Now the question is - How do you decide on the right approach for online training for your teams?
First thing to keep in mind is that implementing training for employees can be an unbelievably valuable approach in educating them, however, it can only be effective if there is a clear goal that is aligned with your business success. No matter what it is you are looking to improve, whether it is employee retention, upskilling be it customer service training, sales or anything that you are working towards achieving, an effective training is only the one that delivers the value to your business. Value for your business can only be delivered when the learning leads to a new a set of actions or new behaviors for your employee – this is way beyond the simple outcomes of testing during training or satisfaction surveys.
Once you have your goals clear and set, how to decide on an online training approach today?
What we know so far is that it is a good idea to pick one that is designed and encompasses the knowledge of the Core Principles of Adult Learning - There are four main principles of andragogy (this word refers to methods and principles used in adult education), defined by Malcolm Knowles in the 60’s:
1. Adults need to be involved in their learning - They want to have the sense of control of what, when or how they are doing it
2. They learn more when they have a chance to reflect on their previous work and life experience and can then incorporate it all in their learning
3. Solving problems - They learn from situations where they can solve a problem, not only from theory
4. They need to know why they are learning something and how relevant it will be to their lives (professional or private ones). Basically, it should answer the question- “What’s in there for me, why should I learn this?”
If we understand these principles, then we also know the criteria to keep in mind for deciding on the type of online programs:
From what we know as “common facts” to be considered when choosing the right remote training strategy for your teams, it might be useful to look for answers to a couple of questions:
1. How relevant it is all to their roles? As already mentioned, only with clear goals or outcomes about what you want to achieve, you can understand if the training will address work related challenges and goals created. The right training can contribute and help your teams achieving those if your people are provided with a chance to practice and learn approaches that are relevant to their roles.
2. Is the training interactive? Are the employees involved in the training apart from being silently present during their online sessions? When it comes to learning, learning by doing it is what we know that improves retention drastically, so it is another very important aspect to it.
3. Are employees supported after the session ends and how? As we have all experienced when learning something new, the deeper we think on a subject, the more questions we are going to have and usually we don’t come up with all questions during the course. That is why it is important to know if employees are going to be supported additionally and in what ways, which helps to ensure that knowledge can stick and that it fits their need of self-pace studying. After all, we all have our learning preferences and employee training should differ from our high school studying experiences.
4. Is the training problem or solution focused? The question is are these new skills focused on solving problems and tackling challenges to help individuals be more successful in what they do? And also, will your people gain tools and strategies that they can start using straight away in their roles?
Online training is more than ever necessary and there is evidence that it works – when done with the appropriate approach. Maybe, we were not ready for it before the pandemic, but if there is anything that we have all learned, it is that they are convenient and more flexible. They are cost effective and can be efficient as well. They are participant-friendly for your remote working employees, inclusive and accessible for all. Finally, they can improve your technology use and provide a social gathering opportunity.
Whatever may be your reason for deciding on a training for yourself or for your people, one thing is for sure, learning should never stop if we want to evolve and keep up with the world and its changes… the good news is that remote learning solutions are only a click away.
Talent Development Expert