Work is changing. A pandemic, distributed workers and the gig economy mean that employees are more remote than ever. Many companies have established solid training development strategies for their onsite employees, but for remote employees, training is different. Many of us now have had the experience of being a remote employee and trying to engage in virtual training. They don’t always deliver the value we seek!

With a remote workforce, companies must adhere to a core set of training content development strategies that maximize remote employee learning. The following eight strategies will help as you build your remote employee training content development strategy.

Strategy 1: Training Needs Analysis

A solid training needs analysis (TNA) will enhance the effectiveness of your training solutions and save you time in the long run. Consider the following questions as you conduct your analysis:

    • What key remote learner needs do you need to integrate into your content development strategy?
    • What unique challenges do remote workers face?
    • What is the learners’ technical aptitude?
    • What tactics would best support your content development strategy for remote learning?
    • How can you successfully incorporate digital solutions — including virtual instructor-led training (VILT) and blended learning — to optimize your training budget?

Strategy 2: Pick the Right Method

There are many options when it comes to training delivery modalities for remote learners:

Virtual Synchronous Learning

Synchronous learning provides valuable human connection across geographic distances. For content that requires real-time interaction, facilitators can create environments that encourage participants to engage without requiring that they be in the same room.

Virtual Asynchronous Learning

Asynchronous learning enables employees to learn at their own pace and to return to content as needed for reference and remediation.

Blended Learning 2.0

Blending VILT with online training often proves to be the most effective modality. Identify content that lends itself well to asynchronous learning, and combine it with synchronous interactions.

Strategy 3: Pick the Right Platform

Explore the functions and features of the virtual delivery platforms available on the market. Each one offers some different features that, depending on your needs, you may or may not need. In general, look for a platform that:

    • Is easy to use for both the facilitator and participants.
    • Is compatible on multiple platforms, including mobile devices.
    • Provides multiple channels of facilitator/participant interaction.
    • Integrates video and audio content.

Strategy 4: Follow up

The goal of any training is to change behavior, which happens most effectively when remote employee training includes follow up, like labs and opportunities practice. As organizational psychologist Anders Ericsson showed in his research, mastery of a topic can take 10,000 hours of deliberate practice. The more practice, the better, especially when it’s paired with expert feedback.

Learning is a journey. Make sure your training follows this pattern:

    • Learning
    • Reinforcement
    • Practice
    • Application and feedback

Strategy 5: Invest in Your Team, and Scale Using Outsourcing

Invest in your training development and delivery team, and scale through outsourcing. After all, your training content development strategy won’t be effective without supporting the team responsible for its development and implementation. Make sure you help them see the vision of remote employee training, with all of its unique needs and requirements. Opting for outsourcing, as well as rapid and agile development, will help you accelerate your virtual training transformation.

Strategy 6: Make Sure the Learning Environment Simulates the Performance Environment

If your delivery strategy includes online training already, be sure it simulates the environment where learners will apply it. Doing so allows you to condition learners so they’re familiar with actual application. You can replicate the work environment by:

    • Developing deep simulations.
    • Using voiceover and overlays to provide instructions, hints and feedback.
    • Including navigation elements within the course player, if your learning management system (LMS) allows it.
    • Keep modules as granular as possible, and use templates to enable efficient maintenance cycles.

Strategy 7: Align Your Training Strategy With Your Business Strategy

Assessment results mean nothing unless they’re tied to the key performance indicator (KPIs) your company is tracking. Don’t focus on learning and development (L&D) metrics alone to evaluate the effectiveness of your training. Add the business metrics that will help you ascertain the impact the training has on the business.

Strategy 8: Don’t Overengineer Your Strategy

Remember, the simplest strategy is often the most effective. Less is often more, so don’t overcomplicate your training content development strategy.

COVID-19 has reset many things, and the workplace of tomorrow needs training strategies today that are agile and that L&D professionals can quickly realign to future changes. This article outlines eight such strategies that you can use to keep pace with the ever-changing dynamics of the modern workplace and offer effective training content to your remote employee training.