When training moves from a purely in-person format to an online or blended learning model, there is always a concern that learning will become less “sticky” as the human element is removed from the training experience. For organizations that have trained their workforce using an instructor-led or mentor-based format for decades, it might seem impossible for the same concepts to be presented and retained by learners in a virtual learning environment.
While there are many benefits to in-person training, there are also many drawbacks.
Weaknesses of Face-to-Face Training:
- In-person training isn’t scalable. Training a large group of employees who are geographically dispersed becomes costly.
- In-person training lacks flexibility. Since training must be completed within a specific time frame it often interrupts an employee’s workload—taking them away from important tasks.
- In-person training doesn’t account for different skill levels and diverse needs. Applying a one-size-fits-all training plan to every new employee doesn’t take prior experience, skills, or interests into consideration. Oftentimes, this results in repetitive learning and a negative outlook on training.
On the flip side of the coin, in-person training promotes deep learning through a personal connection in a way that a virtual learning environment may not naturally be able to emulate. However, there are ways to leverage LMS tools and software integrations to make virtual learning more impactful for your employees.
Let’s explore some of the ways you can make the virtual classroom more personal and engaging.
Key Tactics to Create an Impactful Virtual Learning Environment
Break learning activities into short, video-based modules.
If a picture says 100 words, a video says 1,000, and for busy employees balancing multiple tasks, a series of training videos can really pack a punch in comparison to lengthy course modules.
Build “extracurricular” learning paths.
Give your employees the opportunity to build skill sets that lie outside of their role and watch them become even better at what they do. For example, a product manager may not regularly pick up the phone to respond to a customer request, but learning best practices around customer service could help enhance their understanding of the business as a whole. It could also help him or her develop a more well-rounded skillset and give him or her a better understanding of the product if they were to put their skills to the test.
Promote employee collaboration & ideation.
With learning management software, there is often the opportunity for employees to participate in group discussion boards, leave comments on courses, and share course completions via social media networks. All of these activities will help build a community within your virtual learning environment that emulates the human elements of a classroom.
Try gamification on for size.
Badges and leaderboards are great gamification features within many learning management systems that allow your learners to obtain public recognition for their accomplishments. This can create a more engaging learning experience, and give employees a more positive outlook as they complete required training courses.
Encourage employee feedback.
Giving your employees the opportunity to provide feedback on the courses they complete will help them feel heard and give you valuable insight into how you can improve your corporate training materials and how they are delivered.
Market new skill development offerings internally.
To build excitement around your virtual training environment, promote new course offerings as they become available through regular email newsletters and in-person announcements. This will help you drive participation and showcase your commitment to furthering employee skill development beyond meeting compliance requirements.
While the transition from an in-person training program to a virtual learning environment may be uncomfortable at first, you can rest assured that it can be just as impactful as live training. To create an engaging virtual training environment that yields high participation and knowledge retention, try the tactics listed above.
Learn how you put education at the center of your organization with these great articles and resources.