Is your workplace making use of remote learning to develop employees? Many studies show that organizations are taking learning online, and plan to increase use of custom eLearning over the next five years. Hybrid learning, blended learning and virtual instructor-led training (VILT) are all useful means to provide learning and development (L&D) solutions for employees both in and out of the workplace. The flexibility to use digital learning tools can increase motivation and engagement by more effectively fitting into a busy schedule and allowing for self-paced learning.

However, there are concerns that remote learning — with little facilitator training and even less thought put into course design — can be boring, reduce communication within teams and be less effective overall than in-person, experience-based, instructor-led training. So, how do you sidestep those issues to design remote learning courses and pathways to development that improve learning experiences and outcomes?

Effective Remote Learning Design Tips

Make it interactive: Watching a lengthy video lesson can strain attention and inadvertently cause your learners to check out. Try asking questions, giving learners opportunities to share feedback and insights and finding ways to share results. Interactivity makes the experience more interesting and helps learners to stay active and engaged.

Use microlearning strategies: Think of the last long lecture you listened to, or uninterrupted hour-long PowerPoint presentation you watched. Or maybe you had a giant block of uninterrupted text to read through. It was hard to stay engaged, right? Instead break up your lessons into modules with activities at the end. Microlearning is also easier to fit into a busy schedule.

Provide good directions: Invest some of your design and development time to create how-to instructions that will help both learning leaders and learners with using learning tools. Most employees today have some degree of savvy in use of technology, but you can never just assume your system and platform will be intuitive and friendly for all users. Instead, consider the user-experience in your design. Also, for the same reasons, try to simplify the learning experience when possible.

Balance synchronous and asynchronous activities: For remote learning purposes, you can develop content accessed online at the same time or with students using them on their own, at their own pace. Both strategies are valuable. Synchronous (at the same time) learning is good for interactivity. Asynchronous (at their own pace) learning provides time for practice and review so that learners can better process and retain information.

Develop great content: When possible, create real-world scenarios that learners can use to contextualize information, think deeply about potential issues and practice applying their new skills. Use examples taken from processes employees will use and problems they’ll need to solve. Use demonstrations, pose questions to work through and engage learners by giving them information they know will be useful in their role.

Use these tips to develop remote learning and customize your eLearning to meet the needs of your remote workforce, and you’ll see improved return on investment (ROI). Improved digital training also helps organizations manage change, build internal teams, spark innovation and increase retention.