Remote training is a great way to teach and train people who live and work far away from in-person training spaces, but there are challenges.
It’s like a bridge that helps people in remote areas access training they need to do their jobs. Whether they now work from home, or they live too far from where classes usually happen, online learning brings the training to them.
Online learning makes sense because it allows organizations to provide excellent education without needing a physical place to meet. So, managers like you might present online courses to workers who are located far away.
The mistake is to think that’s all they need to do. There are remote training challenges to think about.
It’s important to think about some common challenges that can make your training program more successful.
Online training can be a game-changer in developing professional skills and knowledge for team members. However, teaching people who live far away from each other isn’t as simple as it might seem. To make training programs successful when there’s a big geographical gap, think about and tackle these five important factors right from the beginning.Top of Form
Challenge 1: Distractions
The dog, the kids, the husband or wife—all of these distractions are a common part of working from home. However, they can become a problem when it comes to online training.
For instance, think about the sound of construction work happening outside your window. This noise can disrupt your concentration and make it vary hard to focus on your tasks, including focusing on learning.
Here are some tips to keep your team learning instead of staring at construction equipment:
- Give them clear instructions on where to set up their work area. It should be a quiet spot just for work and learning.
- Let learners have some flexibility with their training schedules. This way, if something interrupts them, they can catch up later.
- Record the training sessions. If a learner gets interrupted during a live class, they can watch it again later. That way, they won’t miss anything important.
Challenge 2: No mentors
When someone works in an office or clinic, they can easily talk to their managers or coaches and use what they’ve learned in their job. But for remote workers, it might be harder to connect with supervisors or mentors regularly. So, what they learn in training might just stay in their heads and not get used in their work.
If the mentors aren’t physically in the same place as the learners, you can still connect them, even if it’s through remote methods. This could involve arranging phone calls with a coach to talk about how to use the skills they’ve learned, or making it a requirement to have regular online check-ins through forums or email. Providing a bit more attention and a sense of responsibility can help a person use what they’ve learned more effectively and quickly.
Challenge 3: No networks
One significant advantage of remote training for workers is the opportunity to connect with fellow professionals who share a connection to their community. People often look for others who live nearby because they may already be aware of useful local resources. In some cases, training programs promote networking outside of class by organizing in-person gatherings and online sessions.
If someone taking a course online sees that there aren’t any other students nearby, they might not feel very interested and might not want to connect with others online. To fix this, you can do a few things:
- Create group activities: Make activities that encourage students to work together in teams.
- Include related job roles: If people with similar jobs live or work nearby, you can invite them to join the course.
- Plan networking meetings: Schedule regular networking meetings every few months so people can meet outside of the class.
- Suggest online groups: Encourage students to join online groups outside of the course to connect with others.
Challenge 4: Limited access to technology
In some remote areas, not everyone has easy access to the internet. Some folks depend on places like libraries or public computers for internet access. But these places might be small, open for limited hours, and lots of people might want to use them. Plus, rough roads and unreliable internet, especially during bad weather, can make this even harder.
If possible, set up more places or small computer stations where learners can do their work. You might consider sending a laptop or iPad to a nearby office or even providing one to the learner. Take some time to figure out where public computers are located so you can give your learners a list of places they can use.
Even if remote learners have their own internet connection at home or work, it’s a good idea to be flexible when there are connection problems. Sometimes, things like phone lines can get knocked out during ice storms, and this can cut off a whole community, making a learner miss important deadlines. Before the class starts, make sure to tell your facilitator where the learners are located, so they can be aware of any potential internet problems.
Challenge 5: Low-quality training materials
What’s effective in traditional, in-person training doesn’t always work as well in online training. While presentations used in regular training can be adjusted to fit a virtual classroom, interactive online courses often require you to rework the content to make it suitable.
There are many ways to keep training engaging and fun. Here are five:
- Keep it simple and easy to understand. Don’t use complex words or concepts.
- Use pictures, videos, and diagrams to make it more interesting.
- Share stories or examples that relate to the topic. People remember stories better than facts.
- Include quizzes, questions, and activities that involve the learner.
- Show how the information is useful in real life. Why does it matter?
Remember that a learner can be “remote” even if they’re training down the block from your head office. Job interruptions, vacations and a busy life can all interrupt participation in a class. Think about how these strategies apply to all your learners’ remote training challenges, and you could find that your online learning program is an even greater success.