What is remote training? (Advantages, disadvantages, advice)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 28 November 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Continued education can provide a career advantage, especially for career-oriented people who want to improve their personal and professional lives. Sometimes, it can be challenging to incorporate new tasks into an already demanding and rigid schedule, but remote training is a promising solution. Online education is beneficial because it's accessible to you regardless of where you are. In this article, we explore what remote training is, explain why it's important, examine the benefits and disadvantages of online learning and discuss how to run a successful online learning session.

What is remote training?

Remote training, or online learning, is instruction delivered over various platforms, including webinars, e-learning courses, specially crafted podcasts, in-person live internet training and more. It's no longer a requirement for the employees to be physically present in the training session. This is quite helpful, especially for those employees who live in another city or country.

Why is online learning important?

Training is a crucial component of development, not just for freshly hired employees but also for others, throughout their career lifecycles. Whether employees live in another city or nation or share an office, continued education keeps staff engaged. As companies grow and open offices around the globe, training remote employees is even more crucial to uphold the corporate culture and achieve consistent outcomes.

Most people can access the internet, so they find getting information through this method to be simple and helpful. The online learning approach allows consumers to avoid possible expenditures, such as travel and lodging. It can also save time and is very flexible.

Related: What is virtual learning and how does it benefit companies?

Benefits of online learning

Online learning has several advantages. You can utilise this method throughout the organisation if it's well-planned and carried out. Here are a few of the many advantages you can look forward to:

Affordable

In a regular classroom, it's necessary for the teachers and students to be in the same physical location. Because of the development of the internet and communication technologies, there's no such restriction with online learning. Currently, it's possible to hold a training session between two or more locations, which significantly reduces the costs associated with travel, housing and other expenses.

Related: What are common workplace training methods? (With tips)

Resource availability

Because of visa problems, scheduling difficulties and other factors, sourcing the most knowledgeable instructors can be tough in typical face-to-face training. If you hire locally, the information may travel through several routes before it reaches the intended students, which could eventually cause a communication breakdown. Or, you may get a less qualified candidate for training. In selecting the ideal instructor or trainer, virtual training helps you recruit top talent.

Related: Training for corporates: 14 employee training programmes

Convenience

For face-to-face training, you may follow a stricter schedule. Travel issues, unfavourable weather and other emergencies are examples of outside factors beyond a trainer's control. Since remote learning is frequently more flexible to a learner's schedule, it can compensate for these issues. Organisations can tailor the timing of each session to the company's or even the student's needs.

This better matches the natural productivity flow of people. It can also increase productivity y reducing interruptions caused by putting off current duties to make time for formal training. Instead, staff can finish the training when it's most convenient for them.

Flexibility

Online learning reflects the flexible nature of the workplace of the future. Since it's not time-based, employees can participate at their own pace. People's learning styles vary. Most employees don't have the same level of expertise. The ability to complete training at their own pace is one of the major benefits of online learning.

Related: Guide to flexible working hours (and how to implement them)

Scalability

You can reuse your learning content once you paid for or developed the coursework. You can also transfer the course to anyone, anywhere, much later in the life cycle of the organisation. This encourages scalability since you can instantly spread it to as many individuals over as many areas as necessary. This minimal input yields a maximum reproducible result in comparison. Online training is predictable and repeatable. The standardisation process produces a more predictable experience because everyone receives the same information.

Challenges of remote learning

Besides all the benefits listed above, there are several drawbacks to online learning, including:

May lead to feelings of isolation

Every person has a unique way of learning. While some prefer to work individually, others feel more at home in a workplace environment where they may easily contact their teachers or colleagues. Some online virtual classroom platforms address this by generating various tools that enable students to join live sessions. These tools recreate the sense of community in the virtual environment. To be as effective as traditional classes, online education enables social interaction.

Requires self-control

Physically attending classes and being a group member may increase attendance and accountability. If an employee doesn't feel like they received the right direction, they might lack the confidence to take part in the lessons, anyway. Instead of only taking online courses, switching to virtual live classes increases accountability. Live quizzes and breakout rooms are tools that aid in the real-time evaluation of comprehension. These resources support student engagement and encourage accountability.

Related: How to be self-motivated (with steps, tips and an example)

Instructors may require additional training

Online classes may entail a steep learning curve. The teacher may opt to design extra work to support a successful online course. To prevent just reproducing the physical classroom experience, instructors can cultivate a thorough awareness of the various methods of teaching and learning. Some additional benefits and tools that remote learning and blended learning offer include live surveys and screen sharing capabilities.

Related: 15 best teaching strategies to support student learning

Can be prone to technical issues

The most frequent downside of online learning revolves around technical issues. Audio, video or connection problems are the biggest hindrances to an online course. In the past, it was frequently necessary for students to download and instal software or technology that produced variable results. Fortunately, participants can view most of today's online classes by clicking a link without installation required.

How to successfully run a remote learning session

Here are some tips for running a successful online lesson:

1. Break up the lessons

Whole days devoted to online learning may intimidate students since employees already feel pressed for time. Instead of asking for an entire day of staff time, you can use microlearning to break up lessons into smaller parts that are easier to handle. If structured well, employees can even do training in their free time or between tasks. This also avoids multi-tasking when employees try to complete other work during online learning sessions.

2. Include interactive elements

Unlike in-person training, online learning has to compete with the other distractions on a computer. Some businesses put handouts from training sessions that take place in person online. Some send YouTube videos of past seminars to employees to watch. Training may be more effective if it's interactive, though, especially if you want to reach remote employees and minimise other distractions. Game-based learning is a great way to keep employees interested in the training material. It makes learning more fun using quizzes, role-play scenarios and technology walkthroughs.

3. Promote social learning

The downside of working from home is being alone. Morale and productivity can lower when you eliminate human interaction from the working day. Even though you won't be able to recreate the mood of lunchtime with colleagues, you can make training a fun and interactive group activity.

4. Ask employees to work together to finish certain tasks

Asking your employees to work together to finish tasks can boost engagement with online learning materials and break up a long day of online learning. Consider using breakout rooms, screen sharing or video conferencing apps that can help people work together, too. Add a competitive element, like a leaderboard or small prizes, to get more people to join.

Related: The importance of teamwork: 10 benefits of working as a team

5. Set realistic goals

Setting realistic goals is possible if you divide training material into manageable segments. Don't require employees to complete a training course by the end of the week. Instead, give them small goals to reach every day, like taking one 5-minute training module every day. Staff members are more likely to do well when they have realistic goals. It also makes training more appealing and makes it more likely that employees stay with the programme.

Related: How to set goals for yourself (and why it's important)

6. Use analytics

Whether you're running in-person training or online learning, it's important to avoid simply devoting your entire time to developing a training programme and hoping it's effective. Make sure to track it. Keep data on how well your employees are learning the material you want, remembering it and using it. Look out for any gaps in common knowledge as well. The training may also be more effective if you modify the course material depending on analytics. It provides a greater return on investment (ROI) for your training plan.

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