Virtual Learning: 3 L&D Strategies for Remote Teams

There are many challenges human resources professionals face when it comes to learning and development (L&D) strategies. One of the largest obstacles is finding L&D methods that actually work, especially if your team is operating remotely.

L&D is a major contributor to employee productivity and development. It also is a promising method for identifying potential leaders internally, or it can be used as a possible benefit to attract prospective talent. Suffice to say, you want to incorporate L&D into your human resources operations.

Deciding to make L&D a priority is easy—but being able to actually benefit from it is another issue. To help increase the effectiveness of your team’s remote L&D strategies, consider incorporating the following:

1.  Virtual Synchronous Learning

An article published by Bryn Mawr College describes synchronous learning as “all types of learning in which learner(s) and instructor(s) are in the same place, at the same time…In synchronous learning, students usually go through the learning path together, accompanied by their instructor who is able to provide support while students are completing tasks and activities.”

remote work

In short, synchronous learning is the most traditional form of learning. It can refer to in-classroom learning or learning that occurs during live Zoom sessions. While the definition states that the learning must occur in the same place, it does not mean that place needs to be in person. It must, however, take place in real-time; thus, all participants are in sync.

What are the benefits?

Synchronous learning, while the most traditional, is not always the most popular. However, synchronous learning does have some benefits, such as:

  • It builds a sense of community and boosts collaboration. Having employees participate in L&D initiatives together helps to build trust and camaraderie amongst the group so they will turn to each other with questions and work together to solve problems.
  • Participants are able to respond to learning and ask questions in real-time. One of the downfalls of remote work is that communication tends to be slower. You cannot walk down the hall and ask your employee a question, you have to wait for a response via email or phone. Synchronous learning means employees and instructors are able to communicate during the session versus communicating before or after.
  • Participants are more likely to remain engaged in the learning process. In all honesty, another downfall of remote work can be the distractions that working from home may bring. Your dog is barking, your spouse is asking you a question, your child needs something. When learning happens in real-time, there is more urgency for the participants to show they are following along and paying attention; thus, the learning process can be more effective.

What does this look like in a virtual setting?

We are most accustomed to synchronous learning happening in-person versus virtually. However, there are still plenty of promising options for virtual synchronous learning.

  • Similar to a seminar, a webinar is a form of digital learning used to deliver a lecture, presentation, or workshop.
  • Virtual classrooms. A virtual classroom is exactly what it sounds like. The instructor teaches the participants for a set time and participants are able to contribute to the class by answering or asking questions.
  • Digital whiteboards. If one of your goals is to promote a collaborative environment, digital whiteboards are a strong contender for virtual synchronous learning. A digital whiteboard allows participants to all contribute to the same document with text and images in real-time.

2.  Virtual Asynchronous Learning

You may have already been able to deduce that asynchronous learning refers to “learning [that] can occur in different times and spaces particular to each learner…In asynchronous learning, instructors usually set up a learning path, which students engage with at their own pace,” according to the previously mentioned article.

outplacement provider

For obvious reasons, many employees prefer this option because of the advantages described below:

What are the benefits?

  • It transcends time zones. Remote work has allowed for teams to expand their talent acquisition efforts across geographic locations (and time zones). If your team is spread out, asynchronous learning allows your entire team to participate without having to force certain members to wake up abnormally early or work late in order to participate.
  • It allows for flexibility. This advantage is a major selling point for most employees. Each team member has different responsibilities and daily tasks. Flexibility is a major key to having your employees be willing to participate because they can engage in the L&D initiatives at their own pace and on their own time.
  • Employers tend to feel more comfortable with it. A pro and con of synchronous learning is that it allows participants to engage in real-time; however, this can cause some participants to be drowned out by the more dominant employees. For those who struggle to find their voice in meetings, this option allows for participants to ask questions and comment on the learning in a way that is more comfortable and informal.

What does this look like in a virtual setting?

  • Self-paced online courses. There are many companies that offer online courses, and most of them are self-paced. Again, this allows employees to participate in e-learning on a schedule that works best for them.
  • Discussion boards. Most learning management systems (LMS) come with discussion boards or message boards that allow participants to engage with each other and the material. While not as prominent as synchronous learning, this method can still promote collaboration amongst teams via digital communication.

3.  Blended learning

As the name suggests, blended learning is a combination of both synchronous and asynchronous learning. It is essentially a mix and match of the two methods that can be customized to best meet the needs of you and your team. As such, its benefits and methods are those as described above. Many professionals find this method to be the most effective, according to this article by Training Industry.

Zoom meetings

The benefits for your team from L&D are plentiful. Determining which option is the most effective for your team is entirely up to you, but the methods described above can help you get started on your journey. If you and your team have found any L&D methods to work effectively, leave a comment. If your concern is keeping your team motivated during L&D initiatives, read this article on keeping your team engaged.

In the meantime, continue to check in with BrandResumes’ HR Corner for more information and tips.

The post Virtual Learning: 3 L&D Strategies for Remote Teams appeared first on BrandResumes | Professional Resume Writing and Career Advancement Service.

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