Ninety-three percent of employees said that well-planned employee training programs positively affect their level of engagement, according to a study by Axonify. Employee training is an integral part of new employee onboarding and continued development. But training employees who come to the office every day differs greatly from training a fully remote, distributed workforce. While traditional employee training methods work in a physical office setting, they need to be adapted from face-to-face sessions to e-learning or online learning models.

Adapting traditional employee training programs to a remote environment with a digital adoption platform (DAP) will make your training sessions more effective, increase employee information retention, and improve employee engagement.

Traditional Employee Training Methods Fail Remote Employees Because

Traditional employee training methods like classroom training or instructor-led training (ILT), on-the-job training (OJT), and interactive training are engaging and effective thanks to face-to-face interaction. Remote employee training programs need to be changed to fit a remote environment because they’re conducted online where face-to-face communication is limited, at best.

Making changes to these traditional training techniques to adapt them to a remote learning environment is necessary for them the become effective. Here are some shortcomings of traditional training methods when they’re used to train remote employees:

They’re Not Engaging or Collaborative Enough

Traditional training methods like virtual ILT (VILT) sessions, OJT, and interactive training sessions aren’t engaging when applied to an online setting because they rely heavily on face-to-face interaction between instructors and new employees. These training methods also encourage collaboration among new colleagues, which is an integral part of learning new skills and getting comfortable with the job.

In online training sessions, employees sit at their workstations, alone, listening to their instructors for hours on end. The online medium of training makes it harder for new employees to ask questions and interact with other new employees for fear of disrupting the training session.

Virtual training sessions that don’t establish collaborative environments are disengaging and ineffective for learning new skills. After all, effective training comes from collaboration, not isolation.

They’re Time-Consuming and Inconvenient

Organizing live, online training sessions for a remote team can be nearly impossible, as any given time you choose will probably be inconvenient for at least one of your employees. And while feedback is the key to successful employee training in traditional training methods, instructors can’t observe new-hire performance during online training sessions as they can in a non-virtual classroom.

Instructors need to set up one-on-one calls or organize exams for their employees to observe new team members and provide effective feedback, which is time-consuming for both parties.

They’re Outdated

Traditional training methods were designed for live classroom lessons, not virtual classrooms. Their aim is to teach large groups of people with as few resources as possible, which doesn’t translate to an online setting.

Personalized training programs ensure that your employees learn exactly what they need to and want to know to get their jobs done. Training that’s highly relevant shows employees that they are appreciated, which increases both engagement and satisfaction rates while also lowering turnover rates.

Today’s workers demand personalization, but traditional instruction is not easily personalized. Using traditional, less relevant, one-size-fits-all training methods will negatively impact the effectiveness of your remote workplace training program.

They’re Inaccessible

Because traditional training methods rely on the instructor-employee interaction, they usually happen at a specific time with an instructor who leads the session. Having a strict schedule makes training sessions less accessible to members of a distributed team who are in different time zones.

For example, a live, virtual training session that happens at 10 a.m. in San Francisco is inaccessible to your employee in Hong Kong because it’s at 1 a.m. for them. Remote training needs to be accessible at any time so that employees can make use of training modules wherever and whenever they are.

Live, online training sessions are also difficult to access for team members with intermittent internet problems. While recordings can be provided, a training session that is meant to be attended live won’t be as engaging and effective when it’s passively watched after the fact.

3 Employee Training Methods and How to Optimize Them for Remote Learning With a DAP

Despite the shortcomings of traditional employee training, most employees say that effective training programs use a mix of modern and traditional training methods. Traditional training is more familiar, while modern training is more innovative and optimized for online learning.

1. Improve Traditional Classroom Training With Personalization

You can combine ILT techniques with a DAP to create a personalized, effective employee training program that will increase productivity.

Whatfix Walkthroughs

An interactive walkthrough that teaches employees how to create leads, made with Whatfix [Source]

One of the main features of DAPs is interactive walkthroughs or on-screen step-by-step “speech bubbles” that appear on top of a webpage or application to guide new hires through an important process. You can add text, embed videos, and link to other documents right in those “speech bubbles” to show your users how something is done.

Whatfix walkthroughs

During your new hire onboarding or employee training, a DAP can show your employees a list of tasks with walkthroughs that they have to complete. That task list can be personalized based on their job description, training needs, or other criteria that you may have.

Instead of holding a synchronized VILT session, you can pre-record 5- to 10-minute training videos and embed them in the first step of your walkthrough. After your new hire watches the instructor-led video demonstrating how a certain process is completed, they can then continue to the next steps that tell them how to apply what they’ve just watched.

2. Optimize Mentorship or OJTs With Technology

Mentorship, the driving component of OJTs, engages learners by turning theory into practice through experiential learning, which ensures high retention rates and ROI. But without a DAP, mentorship is difficult to conduct in an online setting as facilitators cannot use real-time techniques like shadowing and facilitating group discussions for collaboration.

Mentors can use a DAP to mimic shadowing by creating walkthroughs containing bite-sized videos that show employees exactly what they click or what they do to get results. A single mentor can also communicate with and gauge the level of learning of their new hires by using the pop-up or poll feature of a DAP that appears as interactive boxes right in the tool or application.

To make mentoring employees even more effective, mentors can turn to chat applications to facilitate asynchronous group discussions after a group of people has completed their assigned walkthroughs.

3. Enhance Interactive Training by Monitoring the Data

Just like mentorship or OJTs, interactive training is highly effective because it incorporates experiential learning into training sessions. But interactive training is even more reliant on in-person interaction because instructors need to be able to demonstrate processes, and new hires need to be able to show their instructors that they’ve mastered the process and understood the lesson.

Whatfix feedback loop

Asking for feedback at the end of a walkthrough with Whatfix [Source]

With a DAP, instructors can train employees using walkthroughs and then gauge employee performance and information retention by checking walk-through completion rates and adding a short survey to the end of each walkthrough. By asking new employees to rate how effective a walkthrough or training video is, instructors can easily give feedback and recommendations.

Whatfix Encourages Experiential Learning for Better Retention and Results

DAPs exist to increase platform adoption and support employee training programs by providing experiential learning to increase retention and ROI. Since walkthroughs, pop-ups, and other DAP features are accessible at any time, they’re perfect for training a remote team.

The training process has changed because most companies now operate in a fully remote work environment. Book a demo with Whatfix today to see how a DAP can support your learning and development efforts.

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