The modern work environment is more hybrid and flexible than ever before. Gartner estimates that nearly one-third of the global workforce and half of all knowledge workers are already working remotely. Because of this, training must evolve to be just as hybrid and flexible as the overall employee experience on the job.
That’s easier said than done. You can’t just throw a classroom curriculum online with static PowerPoint slides, check-the-box questions and virtual instructor led (VILT) modules and call it “hybrid.” The fact is that exceptional hybrid learning models require special attention to making the solution empowering, measurable and seamless.
Let’s examine how these three factors can ensure a strong sense of learning and shared experience, regardless of where people are participating from.
Hybrid Training Must Be Empowering
Hybrid work involves a level of trust that employees will remain engaged and productive outside of the office. Managers often gauge this based on what they know about an employee’s skills and motivation. Unfortunately, that’s the kind of performance history you might lack in a situation where you’re still training an employee.
Learners need to feel a sense of empowerment to truly benefit from training. However, when learning is facilitated in a dispersed environment, managing their success can be challenging, especially when your task as the learning leader is to shape their sense of mastery and familiarity with the job to begin with. And in many cases, you may even have to onboard new hires remotely.
People feel empowered when they are given opportunities to learn at their own pace and in their own direction. For this reason, hybrid training options should not just be remote, but also on demand. Ideally, they should also be delivered via mobile so people can learn whenever and wherever they feel like it.
Gamification also helps spur empowerment by tapping into motivation and people’s natural instincts to be competitive. Try to render learning in a gamified format that mirrors videogames – complete with competitive elements like leaderboards and in game rewards for success.
This recipe of 24/7 availability, together with the motivation that comes from gamification, will help spur a strong sense of mastery. Players learn best from workplace scenarios and challenges through experience — and practicing those experiences repetitively until that skill is mastered. In fact, repetition of training over the course of time has been shown to improve memory retention by more than 80%.
Metrics Ensure Remote Training Effectiveness
The flooded marketplace of worker productivity and monitoring software is a sign of how focused managers are on the quality of their remote employees’ work performance. To gain a similar level of visibility and assurance into the offsite learning experience, learning and development (L&D) professionals need solutions rich with metrics and behavioral data about the training interactions and outcomes. By measuring and tracking how staff perform within a training module, you can do correlation analysis towards real-world impact.
Examples include the ability to measure whether those who train the most are able to boost customer satisfaction scores or sales more than those who do not train. Or perhaps you want to understand whether the training is helpful for all employees, or primarily just for new hires. You can also see exactly what pain points people may be struggling with (e.g., soft skills training, business acumen or technical skills) to help build more effective learning needs analysis and diagnostic tools.
The more advanced and digitalized your training platform is, the more you can delve into metrics — not just right and wrong answers, but also tracking data like the time taken to make a correct choice and so on. These insights can help you review and optimize your training, and gain greater insight into each employee’s performance habits regardless of whether they actually learned skills on the job versus in a virtual training environment.
The right metrics from a remote app enable a level of measurement to rival or even exceed what would be gleaned from an in-person “learning on the job” experience. This ability to reap data-driven insights into training outcomes in both the physical and virtual world can bring more continuity across the entire hybrid training landscape.
Create Seamlessness In A Dispersed Work Environment
From retail to customer service, to social media and entertainment, the whole world is omnichannel – and the desired experience from omnichannel is to create a seamless experience. Everything from e-commerce to the growing metaverse is built around seamlessness.
In workplace settings, virtual reality (VR) and other mixed reality programs make learning available when and where learners need it. As another example, Accenture invested in 60,000 Oculus headsets for training.
Enhanced realism helps learners not just memorize information, but also experience emotions the same way they would in real-life interactions. This emotional component has been shown to significantly enhance learning outcomes. Remote trainings can do this through realistic 3D scenarios that accurately replicate the office or workplace setting and populate that setting with realistic work challenges and avatars to interact with.
Attensi has worked with industrial clients in the energy sector to create “safety simulators” that simulate real world traits, like the color of hardhats in a factory or the floor plan of a deep-sea oil platform. As an example, Attensi’s work for global renewable energy and aluminum manufacturer Hydro included an immersive 3D simulation that recreates a range of challenging work safety situations that staff are likely to face in any of the company’s facilities across the world.
There will ultimately be as many variations in hybrid training curricula as there are variations in hybrid work arrangements. Luckily there is no single formula for success, but there are some key priorities. As we’ve seen, structuring the hybrid learning experience to be engaging, measurable and seamless will ensure trainings excel in creating highly skilled and motivated employees — regardless of where they’re working from.