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How to fix the pitfalls of remote learning

In the current climate, considering how to improve learning and development (L&D) initiatives for the year ahead is no simple task.

Although businesses have accelerated their digital transformation strategies far beyond expectation, the truth is that online training initiatives often still miss the mark.

A recent survey commissioned by Soffos.ai has uncovered that a staggering 41% of full-time workers in the UK have doubts over the ability of digital learning platforms to support their individual learning goals.

As the effects of the pandemic spill over into 2021, in-person training courses are unlikely to return for the foreseeable future. So, with this in mind, what can HR teams do in the meantime to improve their online offerings?


Personalising L&D to suit individual employees

Although online initiatives and digital learning software are often more convenient, many individuals miss the days of in-person interaction. This is for one primary reason: as no one employee learns in the same way, communicating with another individual allows the potential for personalisation and adaptation.

Those delivering training are usually able to answer queries, adapt their language on the fly so that it can be more easily understood, and cater to any specific requests.

And as only 19% of workers believe online learning to be an effective replacement for in-person teaching, perhaps now is the time for a change in tack.

To ensure that workers remain enthusiastic about L&D opportunities on offer it would be wise to involve staff as much as possible when curating new strategies.

There are plenty of things HR managers can do to ensure that training programmes are not just a one-size-fits-all solution. They can create learning-style questionnaires, offer Zoom de-brief sessions after training programmes and develop software which replicates the personality of real life offerings.


Fostering a discursive learning environment

Similarly, HR leaders should look to other facets of in-person training that might be missing from e-learning platforms and consider how new tech can bolster their efforts.

For many, engagement will be an issue; with most of us working in our own work from home bubbles, it is difficult to learn continuously from those around us and colleagues will likely be missing the presence of their peers as they work.

We found 42% of employees find it more difficult to properly engage with learning materials or training courses conducted online. To address this concern, it would be wise to consider a more ‘Socratic’ style of training.

Learning is often more effective when discussion and collaboration is encouraged, rather than the more straightforward Q&A format usually seen in online courses. Businesses should therefore look to dedicate funds to software that can mimic these types of interactions.

New, cutting-edge learning solutions are constantly being developed which offer a more ‘human’ method of teaching, using the advantages of innovations such as natural language processing (NLP).

While these solutions become more widespread, members of staff can utilise digital resources to extract the knowledge they need, and then supplement this through conversations with their peers and mentors. This will ensure that they understand how to utilise new knowledge effectively within their roles.


Don’t rely on a ‘build it and they’ll come’ mentality

Finally, businesses should ensure that they are investing in the right software for their business that can deliver on its promises before committing a large chunk of their budget to a costly package of training materials.

Purchasing a library of standardised resources is not a recipe for success. Effective L&D strategies take organisational contexts and direct links to employee roles into account, as well as company nuances and lingo. Otherwise, it can be tricky for members of staff to truly absorb new information and translate this into their day-to-day.

Solutions powered by artificial intelligence (AI) that can do all of the above and more are on hand to support HR departments with these efforts. Increasingly, software that can ingest specific company data and build a tailored training plan for particular departments, or even individual employees, is being created.

Positively, employees are becoming more confident in the ability of these technologies to assist with their career development. Almost two in five workers (40%) state that they would be more open to online learning resources if they were augmented with AI to tailor training to their individual requirements.

While it’s true that the year ahead will naturally pose further challenges for corporate L&D, HR professionals should consider the solutions at their disposal.

Now is opportune moment to take advantage of innovative tech and give your employees a fresh start where their career development is concerned.

Nikolas Kairinos is the chief executive officer and founder of Soffos.