5 Steps To Developing a Virtual L&D Strategy 

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Jul 15, 2020

The professional world has been navigating a new normal for a few months now, and we’re finally starting to figure it out. We’re growing accustomed to a calendar full of virtual meetings and collaborating on projects from different locations. Things are starting to feel more adjusted. 

But there’s one important transition that has been de-prioritized amidst the world turning upside down: training. 

As we enter this new “new world of work,” there are new strategies, tactics, and skills your team must learn to evolve with the time. As new technologies continue to reshape how we work, it is incumbent upon employers to ensure employees’ skills are agile enough to adapt to the new sets of challenges that might be on the horizon.  

How can you ensure an agile workforce? By looking for ways to help your people do their jobs faster and better. As you move from a short-term COVID-19 response to a long-term shift in how and where your employees work, it’s important to plan for how to deliver training that supports the new way of working. 

Now is the time to develop strategies that cover a wide range of training scenarios and inform training continuity. Questions to consider for a training program include:

  • What will it cover?
  • Will it be included in an overall education plan?
  • What policies should already be in place?
  • Is the training scalable? 
  • How will you document successful training? 

Here are five steps to help figure out answers:

1. Choose the Critical Content

It’s understandable that right now, learners are likely to be distracted or not fully tuned in to your training. When you’re transitioning to an online approach, you need to pull out the most important content from your original plan to ensure that your learners are still reaping the benefits of your session. If the content doesn’t directly map back to your verified learning objectives, it’s best to set it aside. There is always the option to add any extra content as a “learn more” opportunity, but narrowing your focus will help your organization maximize your team’s attentiveness.

2. Select Self-Paced or Live Training

Even in instructor-led training, you must choose between delivering sessions through a live conferencing tool or bundling the training in a self-paced platform. While the latter doesn’t necessarily mean using an entire learning management system (LMS), there are some advantages to taking that route (often related to tracking). However, you could also opt for creating a series of simple landing pages on your website to house your training programs.

3. Switch Up Your Sessions

Pairing standard text-oriented training with short videos or graphics offers some variety for your learners. However, you shouldn’t make your session so busy that learners struggle to get through the content in a sensible amount of time. Remember, we’re working to maximize a smaller retention window. The principle of mixing it up is true for self-guided and live learning environments. Approaching any training session as a lecture, without allowing learners to interact and ask questions, can impact their focus. Encourage questions, use polls, and facilitate feedback during a live session to increase engagement.

4. Give Your Training a Call-to-Action 

Having learners test themselves at the end of each session drives home the objectives of your training. One common route is to conduct a knowledge check at the end of each session by providing questions for learners to answer. You could also take a hands-on approach and put on a small workshop or have learners reflect on how they can apply the training to a situation they’re in or a project they’re working on. Practice ensures they’re walking away from the training with its key takeaways in mind and leaves them with a sense of accomplishment.

5. Pair It With a Credential

Offering a verified digital badge for training completion provides your learners with a valuable asset they can put toward their future career goals. Maybe you have a robust training program in a skillset that learners could be interested in applying to a future role or job search. A digital credential demonstrates your learners’ expertise and abilities so they can expand their horizons to new opportunities. 

Now is the time to strengthen training programs by improving employees’ knowledge and building the confidence of your people so that they will have the skills needed to be successful.