By Tracy Ring
Are your remote learning and development (L&D) programs effective? As companies look to upskill their team members and invest in internal talent, some HR departments are realizing how ineffective their current programs are, especially in the lens of our current WFH evolution.
The German psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus created the Forgetting Curve, which shows how humans forget the majority of information they learn within an hour of receiving it. Within a week, most people won’t remember 80 percent of what they learned in your training seminars.
Your L&D materials need to beat these odds. Not only do you need to engage your remote team members, but you need to present materials that they want to retain and put into action in their regular workflow.
If you’re not seeing the results you want in your remote L&D programs, there could be a few key problems with your materials. Here are a few red flags to look for.
Your L&D Programs Are Too Passive
One of the biggest challenges related to remote L&D opportunities is keeping participants engaged. Due to the pandemic, many people experience “Zoom fatigue,” i.e., exhaustion and burnout from video presentations. As such, they may have a harder time paying attention during video calls and may be less likely to sign up for optional learning sessions because of it. Your company can overcome this with engaging development programs.
Disengagement (whether with L&D or traditional meetings) is a prevalent problem in the remote environment. As Alice Calin with Hubgets explains: “A lot of meeting time is wasted when people get distracted and things need to be repeated or the poor understanding of the tasks generates problems. Prevent that from happening by encouraging active participation and setting up rules.”
How to fix it: Rather than opting for passive webinars where your team merely listens (like a lecture or boring meeting), experiment with a learning management system that facilitates creating hands-on learning experiences and requires participant involvement. This type of platform allows attendees to jump right in and start honing their new abilities. Plus, it requires accountability.
Your Programs Overload Trainees
One of the main causes of the Forgetting Curve is information overload. This often occurs when workers attend a conference with several seminars each day. While they may learn a lot, so much material is covered that it’s impossible to remember. Now throw in the fact that remote work also allows workers to be distracted by their everyday lives in between sessions. And you have your challenging work cut out for you!
Consider how your employees learn new concepts and whether they have time to process the information and apply it before moving on to the next topic.
Psychologists use the Cognitive Load Theory to explain that people learn easier in batches. Essentially, the more information someone has to learn within a short period, the harder it is to process and remember. (It’s similar to cramming for an exam instead of learning the material over a semester).
How to fix it: To prevent cognitive overload, remote L&D teams should look for ways to break down materials. Some companies do this with breaking down learning programs into micro-training, or introducing new ideas into small learning activities over the course of several weeks. Additionally, you may benefit from breaking up your training sessions to make them more effective and rewarding employees for completing smaller tasks.
Another method to improve the effectiveness of L&D programs is to add scaffolding. Through this process, employees learn about one concept or tool in the first segment of a learning program and then build on those skills with another tool in the next. With scaffolding, basic introductory concepts are reinforced and your trainees only move on to more complex materials once they have mastered the basics.
You Don’t Evaluate the Impact of the Materials
Too often, companies evaluate employees on whether or not they completed a training process rather than whether or not they use the material. While your staff can spend countless hours engaging with your L&D programs, you won’t see ROI unless they actually apply the newly-acquired skills.
According to a study conducted by the American Society of Training and Development, 95 percent of organizations conduct a post-training evaluation to see how participants feel about a program. However, only 37 percent of companies made an attempt to prove participants learned something. Moreover, only 13 percent of companies followed through to make sure employees actually used the skills they learned.
This data reflects the challenges companies have with L&D follow through (again, especially in the remote workplace).
How to fix it: Develop benchmarks and 360 degree feedback to measure the success of your L&D programs. While you want to be careful so it doesn’t feel like you’re testing your employees, which could lead to trust issues, you do want to ensure you see a return on your efforts and investments.
Try Something New With Moodle Workplace
If your remote L&D programs put your team members to sleep, look for alternative options to keep them engaged and provide valuable information. For example, Moodle Workplace contains all of the features of Moodle LMS, plus advanced features designed for workplace learning. In particular, Moodle Workplace automates common processes. You can automate repetitive tasks such as enrolments or certifications plus motivate team members with automated push notifications and messaging. Plus, you can reward and recognize employee achievements with automated badges and diplomas when learners complete a section of a course, or an entire learning program.
In terms of engaging learners, Moodle Workplace allows you to create an online learning space containing “courses”. These course spaces allow managers to create and arrange a wide array of resources and activities into a rich learning experience where enrolled learners have the ability to interact and work with each other to achieve the learning goals of the course.
Moodle Workplace allows you to assess the success of your learning programs through custom reports that incorporate a diverse range of conditions and filters. These will provide you 360 degree feedback on learning activities allowing you to track skill development and inform improvements to your learning ecosystem.
Get in touch to see if it’s right for your team.
Tracy Ring is a long-time remote worker, freelance writer, and content marketer. She brings a real-life perspective to her writing from 10+ years of diverse experience including, HR, project management, customer and client relations, and admin roles. Connect with her on LinkedIn or Twitter.