Onboarding And Training For The Remote Workforce: Learning And Development (L&D) Strategies

By Chris Westfall | Oct 13, 2020
Chris Westfall | ACHNET

Learning and Development (L and D) teams are seeking new ways of reaching a remote workforce. Leadership pros recognize that remote learning challenges (even for adult learners) are formidable. Because being consumers in a digital world doesn’t necessarily make us great learners in a virtual world. The old-school training strategy of the “sage on the stage” doesn’t always translate from stage to screen. Without innovation and fresh ideas, trainees are bored, disinterested and wondering how much Zoom one person can handle. How do top-tier onboarding and leadership training programs drive learning objectives in a more powerful way? What are the alternatives to the “talking head” training we’ve all experienced online - is there another way to accelerate objectives? Here are three virtual presentation strategies that can make a difference - going beyond an old-school, lecture-based approach.

1. Experience is the Best Teacher: Remember The Jimi Hendrix Experience? The artistry of the unforgettable Jimi Hendrix illustrates an overlooked aspect of learning, leadership and onboarding. Effective training, not unlike a timeless guitar riff, is an experience. The transfer of knowledge begins with listening. But the experience is something internalized - something that is transferred beyond the words, videos and software tools. Just as Hendrix’s music went beyond the notes and the chords to create an experience, today’s L and D pros have to consider how to drive the experience - because an experience is what is often missing in virtual training. An experience is internalized. Even today, some five decades after Jimi Hendrix left this world on September 18, 1970, the experience remains. What is the experience you want to create for new employees, senior executives, or newly-minted subject matter experts? Look past the format to the experience. What do you want attendees to think, feel and do? What new knowledge will they demonstrate as a result? Just like great music, great training is about change. What’s the transformation you’re trying to create? Hendrix wasn’t afraid to innovate - what are you doing that hasn’t been done before? Build that experience from the moment the training begins.

2. Don’t Think - Do: Online learning taxes even the most patient among us: is it realistic to expect people to sit and retain a 60-minute lecture online? There’s a better way: remember that learning happens by doing. Consider the sport of boxing for a moment, as a metaphor for knowledge transfer. Knowing all of the rules of boxing and the history of the sport since 1871 is interesting. But all that knowledge isn’t going to help when you’re about to get punched in the face. If you want to accelerate learning, put people in the ring as soon as