A key part of any new implementation project, whether that be CRM, website, or any new technology, is ensuring that the key staff receive the right level of training. Since remote working became common place across the sector, all organisations have had to adapt to delivering training through online platforms (e.g., Teams, Zoom).

But how valuable can online training be and what can organisations do to ensure they deliver training effectively to arm their staff with the tools to hit the ground running when the new system goes live?

Benefits of remote training

Everyone able to access sessions

Although there are challenges in moving to online training, there are also several advantages of delivering remote training. Online training enables everyone to access the sessions, this is particularly beneficial if there are colleagues in multiple locations and thus reducing any travel time. It also ensures that the training is accessible for all and that no one is particularly disadvantaged by being a remote member while everyone else is in the room.

Sessions can be recorded

The session can also be recorded, so if anyone cannot make training then there is the ability to re-watch and catch up as well as have these saved for future to be referred to at any future point in the project. This enables organisations to build up a bank of knowledge and is more cost effective, reducing the need to pay for additional training sessions for staff.

Overcoming challenges of online training

Nevertheless, despite the benefits there are some obvious challenges which organisations need to be conscious of and put in place mitigations against.

Focus and engagement

The first challenge is ensuring focus and engagement from participants. Any sessions that are longer than two hours will be challenging and additionally there can be other distractions if people have e-mails open or other background activities. According to the University of New Hampshire, the brain is only able to hold true focus for around 45 minutes before it begins to lose steam and so you will need to build breaks into your agenda. Encouraging regular breaks, especially if longer than two hours ensures people can come back refreshed and have time away from the screen which can be intense.

Lack of social interaction

Another major challenge is the lack of social interaction. In-person training provides opportunities for good conversation and healthy discussion on topics with questions and queries answered more easily and people helping each other with challenges with less reliance on the trainer. However, delivering remote training you can often see a reduction in this. To help mitigate this challenge, encourage the use of the chat function as will enable people who are not as confident to speak to engage and encourages conversation between participants. It also allows for questions to be raised and recreates the social interaction you would have face to face.

Technology challenges

There will also be inevitably challenges with Wi-Fi and technology for either the trainer or a participant which can lead to sessions being disrupted and not all key information communicated properly. To ensure all key information is communicated, provide downloadable resources in advance to allow users to refer to after the session as well as take any notes at critical points.

Maximise online training

It’s critically important for organisations to recognise the challenges posed by online training. The trend will continue in 2022 as companies take a hybrid approach to work with remote working continuing throughout the sector. There are challenges with online training and ensuring it can be as effective as in person delivery are tricky. However, by putting in place mitigations and creating the right environment for users, working closely with your delivery partner you can still maximise the sessions empowering users to feel confident with the new technology.