John is frustrated. He is relatively new at your company and is trying to book up a day of vacation on the HR portal. However, he finds the dated system impossible to use. If he wasn’t working from home at the moment, he would simply ask a coworker at the next desk. However, most of his team are either OOO or in a meeting.
John’s experience happens to remote workers tens of thousands of times every day, and countless hours of productivity are lost because they cannot resolve minor issues. In fact, one global survey of remote workers during the coronavirus pandemic found that productivity dropped by as much as 70% among staff working from home because they lacked technology know-how.
The obvious solution in this scenario is to offer more technology training to remote workers. However, a recent study found that nearly half of American workers received no remote training since the pandemic began. What is more, out of those who did, a third found it ineffective.
This is a serious problem. If your remote workers are struggling with tech training, they will be less productive and less satisfied in their jobs.
5 problems with remote IT training
Remote workers depend on technology to get their work done. This means they also need effective technology training too. However, most instruction currently available leaves them disappointed.
At VisualSP, we often hear about organizations that struggle with providing technology training for their remote teams. Here are five of the most common issues companies encounter:
Did you know that the average company uses 129 software programs, and the average user works with around 10 apps? While it is great that businesses have access to all these tools, the sheer quantity of tools can be a real headache when it comes to training.
It would be practically impossible for your internal training team to produce useful guides for all these software applications. Even if they could, they would only be able to offer ‘high level’ guidance, rather than the more specific tips and problem solving that end users really need.
Training is out of context
A major problem for remote tech training is that it happens out of the context that employees actually use the technology in. Employees join a webinar where they are given examples of how to use a program. However, they may not actually come to use that tool again in their daily tasks for several days. This means they are liable to forget much of what they learned.
Training has much greater impact when it can be put into practice immediately. Unfortunately, the webinar approach just does not reflect this reality.
Remote IT instruction is too generic
Instructors cannot be expected to offer personalized training for every attendee. However, the nature of most business technology means that personalized learning is often the most effective.
Imagine your company chose to put on training session about how to use your internal HR system for booking vacation, recording sick days and so on. Employees from various departments would attend and see some examples of how to use the technology. The problem, however, is that in most cases employees will be looking for solutions to very specific problems – not the generic use cases that training usually offers.
One person may need to book a Monday afternoons off work for the next 6 months to care for an elderly relative. Meanwhile, the manager of a group of temporary workers will want to know how to assign vacation days for staff who don’t have access to the internal portal. Unless the training session can offer such specific requests, it will be irrelevant to many.
Practice and repeat
Repetition is a key building block for learning. However, remote technology training does not mirror this fact. Simply demonstrating how to do certain tasks in an app is almost never enough. Employees need to be shown several times, in context, before they truly understand the process.
Long webinars don’t match remote worker needs
Many companies choose to conduct their app training via webinar sessions where an instructor shows how to use a program over the course of an afternoon. This might be suitable for an in-person training session at your corporate offices. However, it is much less effective for remote teams.
We all know how difficult it is to focus when working from home – whether it is interruptions from a delivery person, the dog barking or the kids playing! A long training webinar is simply too difficult to focus on when people are in their home offices.
Contextual microlearning removes the challenges of remote training
While some webinar-based training is certainly useful for remote workers, the weaknesses described above suggest that an alternative approach would be highly valuable.
One innovative new approach to this problem is contextual microlearning. Rather than putting your employees through long, generic webinar training sessions, contextual microlearning involves the creation of short, relevant training videos and walkthrough guides right within an application – at the point that the user needs that guidance the most. Rather than searching online or asking a colleague for help, contextual microlearning provides training at the exact moment it is needed.
Let’s return to our example of John who can’t figure out how to book a day of vacation on his company’s internal HR portal. If his company offered contextual microlearning, he could get an answer in moments. By clicking on a learning tab right within the HR portal, he is presented with training videos and articles which relate to the specific page he is viewing. Right at the top of the list there is a quick guide showing how to book vacation. He makes his time off request and can get on with his day.
Contextual microlearning offers people like John so many benefits:
- John feels empowered – he no longer feels blocked by the technology
- After a couple of repetitions, he will remember how to do this in future
- It saves him a lot of time and boosts productivity for the company
Impactful remote technology training
With remote working set to become a much more common feature of the working world, companies need reliable, effective technology training for staff who are away from the office. Failing to do so could introduce serious productivity problems and high rates of employee frustration.
And this is where contextual microlearning is revolutionary. VisualSP provides you with a powerful suite of microlearning tools which fit effortlessly into your teams’ workflows. From an easy-access on-screen tab, they find relevant, engaging and reliable training on any app your company uses – be that common enterprise apps like Microsoft 365 or your own in-house custom apps – see how it works here.
To find out more about contextual microlearning, download our microlearning whitepaper.