Five tips for remote learning

Not so new…
Remote learning is not new. Training students remotely is something the education sector has tinkered with for years, progressing from sending course notes via snail mail towards utilising more sophisticated remote learning models.
Many have already noted that the pandemic accelerated digital transformation (which was already going on), and while the rush to remote learning wasn’t perfect, it helped us see that it is inseparable from remote working and the future of work, the place where learning now must unfold.
The way we learn
The fast-forward button pushed on digital transformation by the pandemic not only quickly redefined the way we work but also the way we learn.
COVID-19 saw up to almost 100% of face-to-face training programs postponed or cancelled in some parts of the world, bringing home a time-critical reality – adapting to new ways of learning and training was no longer an option.
Why? Because the need for continuous learning hasn’t changed. If anything, our current environment of record low unemployment rates and workforce shortages has shown us that employee reskilling, upskilling and retention is more pertinent now than ever before. Compliance requirements haven’t disappeared because employees aren’t in the office and organisations must continue to meet legal requirements for compliance training.
So how can we begin to best match the way we work with the way we learn?
Five tips
1.  The ‘Modern Learner’ is impatient, easily distracted (e.g., most learners will not watch videos longer than 4 minutes), overwhelmed and often overworked. However, the ‘Modern Learner’ really wants to learn! The key to truly effective and impactful remote learning is to spend time on the first step of human-centred design: Understand the learner. Step into their shoes and see the world through their eyes. How do they think? What are their needs? Where are the gaps? How can we meet them where they are?
2.  It’s not about replication. Directly transferring or replicating a face-to-face program that has been successful in the past into a remote learning space tends not to work. Why? Because the way we learn through a screen is completely different to how we learn face-to-face e.g., attention spans are much shorter when learning through a screen, so a remote learning program needs to be shorter, succinct, punchy, and powerful.
3.  Ensure content is on point. In a face-to-face environment, there are less distractions e.g., learners generally can’t answer emails and doorbells whilst training! Shorter attention spans and more distractions means that every minute of the program must add value and be impactful, so make sure that you set out your learning objectives clearly and stay laser focused on them. Invest sufficient time and resources in getting content right. Utilise remote learning training tools that facilitate online engagement through participation and collaboration.
4.  Small groups AKA breakout rooms. Remember that workplace training ultimately exists to improve what we do at work, so it’s essential to incorporate real-world examples and scenarios that can be experienced through exercises and/or discussions in smaller groups.
5.  Murphy’s Law is an adage that seems to showcase its colours in abundance when it comes to technology! To avoid any surprises, pre-empt potential tech issues and plan ahead to minimise or mitigate the impacts. Explain how the chosen tech works at the beginning of the program or better still, circulate instructions and FAQs prior to the program going live. Make available a short training session on how to use the tech in advance. Have support on hand where possible to cope with the tech issues e.g., IT support or a moderator to help field and resolve questions as they arise.

If you haven’t already, is now the right time to introduce effective remote learning for your organisation? What benefits have you seen or experienced when it comes to remote learning? What challenges have you faced?


Susan Loane
Senior Consultant, Learning Solutions
+61 422 421 797
[email protected]



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