So, now that remote working is the norm, has your employees’ learning and development followed suit?
We know that it might not seem easy to ensure your employees are still progressing in their roles, but it’s not impossible if you have the right tools in place. Businesses that are successfully adapting during the pandemic are using interactive video or monitoring performance monthly rather than annually, for example. This is made even easier if you have a virtual classroom.
A virtual classroom is basically a platform or a set of tools for providing training to your employees. About 75% of companies use such platforms to train their workforce. The pandemic forced many companies to shift to remote working, further underscoring the importance of virtual classrooms.
Creating a functional virtual classroom isn’t a demanding process. It is also easier if you have a Learning Management System (LMS) that:
- Is accessible to your employees
- Provides personal development follow-ups
- Provides quality and engaging content
- Encourages employee interactions
A virtual classroom will ensure your employees are engaged with the material. This article will outline the must-haves you need to think about when implementing or updating your system. Let’s jump into it!
Step 1: Be accessible and provide support
You must ensure that training is accessible to your staff at any time. Providing this allows your employees to continue their learning whenever they feel comfortable — and that might mean from bed in their pyjamas if that’s what works for them.
Occasionally, employees will need clarification or more information on different areas. Whether it’s briefing them on their tasks or providing the essential documentation, it’s imperative to make sure they have everything they need. But it doesn’t just end there — you need to be accessible when employees need further support.
Remember to provide contact details or support channels (and manager buy in) they can use whenever they get stuck or need assistance. More importantly, be sure to provide weekly or monthly communications that provide employees with access to data and information regarding their work and training.
Step 2: Continue to have personal development check-ins
You shouldn’t wait for employees to reach out to you to inquire about their progress, experiences, and work status. Instead, have regular personal development check-ins. Not only will your employees feel valued, but this is also one of the most effective ways of creating an engaging and supportive learning environment.
Bear in mind that employees have their personal goals, too. Some of them can openly share them with you, allowing you to:
- Provide feedback where needed
- Give professional guidance
- Share key data points to inform their decisions
Another great benefit to this is that employees can become more productive and efficient after achieving their personal development goals. So, if your virtual classroom supports their career and growth goals, they’ll continue to deliver their best.
We know video calls don’t compare to a face-to-face meeting, but right now, they’re the next best thing. Continue to schedule those personal development meetings to assess their progress and address challenges that they face. Use a video call to talk with them about skill gaps, development needs, and career goals. The conversations might also cover the courses in progress and the status of learning.
Employee check-ins work better when they adhere to a specific structure. For example, you can have a set of questions that provide a framework for guiding check-ins. This helps employees to grasp the purpose of the process, making the experience productive. This makes it even easier to create a virtual classroom that considers your employees’ needs and goals.
Step 3: Provide engaging content
Providing an engaging and interactive learning experience hugely depends on the type and format of your training content. Gone are the days when training content used to be lots of PDFs and PowerPoint slides (thank goodness).
Employees will go out of their way to engage with interactive, fun and humorous content. They’ll be motivated to start and even complete their training. Remember engaged employees deliver 21% more profitability than those who are not. Plus, content is a vital part of your company culture, particularly for remote teams.
Video offers the most effective option for delivering exciting and interactive content. Up to 40% of learners respond better to visual information than text. Also, the human brain processes video 60k times faster than text, making video a powerful content format for the modern-day learner.
Pick the right content
High-quality content is the pillar of any training programme, so you need to pick the right topics. The topics can address soft and hard skills to provide employees with valuable and relevant training that equips them with problem-solving skills.
You should consider topics that address employee knowledge and skill gaps, learning needs, business growth goals, and development culture.
Pro tip: Remember, a virtual classroom may only last 30/45 minutes — you need to get a big idea across in a relatively short space of time. Quality content is a great way to do that, either as a plenary task or a way to raise engagement online.
Ensure it’s entertaining
Traditionally, employee training was a “serious” affair — utterly different from modern learning methods. Let’s be honest, it was kind of boring. Humour has become an essential part of contemporary training. According to experts, humour activates the dopamine system of the brain, making learners more motivated.
Humour also helps to improve your employees’ engagement rates during training. As such, the more entertaining the training is, the better. However, remember that humour has limits — don’t go overboard and never target specific groups of people or your competitors.
Microlearning is also another effective strategy in developing a great virtual classroom — in fact, bite-size learning is 17% more effective than the traditional approach. Microlearning reduces cognitive overload by allowing employees to focus on short-term learning activities and small learning units. These are 3-4 minute tasks, which allow employees to complete them anywhere and anytime, making it more likely for employees to complete training tasks.
How you create your training content has a considerable impact on the effectiveness of your virtual classroom. While you can generate the content yourself, there’s immense value in working with an e-learning course provider — like Video Arts! We work with subject-matter experts who strive to address the specific needs of your employees and company to deliver content that’s rich in value.
Pro Tip: It’s advisable to number and categorise your training content to avoid confusion and monitor progress. Learners are usually encouraged to complete training when they feel a sense of progress.
Step 4: Encourage socialisation and group activities
While remote working can be effective in delivering training, no virtual classroom can replace face-to-face interactions. That’s why your virtual classroom should go above and beyond to encourage socialisation and group learning activities.
Apart from regularly checking in with employees, you also need to create a space that makes it easy for them to interact and socialise with other employees. In fact, the training can include modules that require team participation. This will encourage growth, collaboration and improve employee mental health and morale.
Be sure to schedule group activities that prioritise learning and highlight the importance of a virtual classroom. Gamification is one of the ways to do that. Everyone loves a game, and some healthy competition keeps things interesting. For example, you can offer activities or quizzes that allow employees to earn points to lead on a scoreboard or leaderboard. You can give certificates or badges as rewards for stellar performance.
Additionally, you should also invest in virtual mentoring to provide support and comfort to employees. Mentoring offers long-term wellbeing for your employees, allowing you to nurture great relationships and connections even while working remotely. Eventually, this contributes to a supportive virtual classroom that addresses employees’ personal needs.
A proactive approach to engaged learning
As technologies rapidly evolve, learning methods and approaches will also shift to engage the modern learner better. This is a crucial consideration for course designers, L&D managers, and HR directors when creating a virtual classroom. You need to be proactive and ensure your virtual classroom:
- Is user-friendly to all employees
- Accommodates different learning styles and qualifications
- Allows effortless tracking of learners’ progress
- Provides dedicated support
- Is accessible at any time and via any connected device
More importantly, your virtual classroom needs to provide quality content for learners. Remember, content sits at the heart of your culture — particularly for companies that have remote teams. It should, therefore, cover topics that provide value and skills to your employees.
And it’s not just for your employees… leadership should also engage with learning to set a good example. This improves employee participation in learning programmes — they’ll go out of their way to create time for training.
If you need help with creating an effective L&D strategy or providing eLearning solutions for your employees, be sure to get in touch with us today!