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What Hybrid Learning Can Teach Us About Best Practices For Training

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Brooke Lynch

Contact center news, customer experience, CX trends, call center challenges, work from home

Online learning offered a lifeline to just about every industry during the pandemic; from online schooling to remote training and conferencing, virtual education has become a mainstay in the home. But its effectiveness is yet to be confirmed and research on its impact may not be accessible for years to come.

As vaccination rates increase, many schools and offices will begin to reopen, forcing a reassessment of the key benefits and tradeoffs of remote education and virtual training options. 

In the traditional education space, many are predicting a stark decrease in virtual learning and its technological accompaniments. While industries like virtual healthcare and e-grocery may sustain their success, McKinsey predicts that spending on remote education may fade as the pandemic subsides.

What’s interesting is, that schools were, in a way, the quickest to adopt a hybrid model. As many offices went fully remote and haven’t turned back, most schools have opened up in some capacity. And their speed of adoption has furthered the idea that the most successful learning environments are, in fact, physical spaces. This mindset could be an early indication of the complications involved with remote and in-person training. While it is still largely different demographics, as professionals are more accustomed to interacting and operating online, it does highlight the need for companies to prepare more seamless and comprehensive hybrid training sessions.

To ensure success as we shift toward a hybrid environment, here are a few tips to enhance virtual training:


Focus On Improvement Not Replacement

If we continue to look at remote learning in education as a guideline for success, we find that technology is least useful when it’s used as a tool to maintain the status quo. At the beginning of the pandemic, educators used things like Zoom to replicate a normal day, which was decidedly unhelpful as more families began to see increased levels of burnout. And while video conferencing was largely used as a learning replacement out of necessity, it will become less so as we regain access to shared spaces.

According to the New York Times, tools that helped educators give and host assignments, lead lessons or hold class discussions have been more successful in the virtual education space.  This information is invaluable when applying these concepts to training in the professional environment. Rather than using technology to simply do as you’ve always done, these tools should be actively adding value to the experience. Finding technology that engages and inspires employees through things like gamification or real-life scenarios is key in successful virtual learning.


Hybrid Learning Should Be Seamless

Another indicator of the success of a technology was its ability to be used in both in-person and remote settings. When a tool is both accessible and useful in both, it becomes a part of the user’s routine and allows for greater engagement and connection. 

This is helpful when considering the inevitable transition to hybrid workplace culture. If companies prioritize technology and strategy that is useful to employees on their own, and as a collaborative tool, it can offer greater benefits as we establish new routines.

Additionally, while remote onboarding was tolerated during the pandemic, it will no longer be the only option. Therefore, companies can focus on the best and most seamless strategy to encourage participation virtually while still promoting a more hands-on approach when training in-person. Ultimately, consistency across the two settings will be key in successful training sessions.


Increase Employee Engagement

Remote learning, in both an educational and professional setting, allows for plenty of distraction. Without any supervision, it can be easy to start multitasking during virtual training sessions. And while it may not be purposeful, it can lead to a lack of engagement and retention which is detrimental to the entire onboarding process.

However, when virtual training sessions are supplemented by in-person learning there may be more heightened attendance as employees realize they will be discussing results face-to-face. These supplemental discussions should work to reaffirm the importance of online training. Without adequate context and support, employees can feel that virtual sessions are less valuable than they truly are, and lead to burnout. 

But in reality, training sessions are meant to optimize performance and promote productivity, not simply be a tool to help employees cope. LinkedIn’s latest research notes that training sessions are intended to help employees thrive and reach their peak. They should not be used as a mandatory exercise in task management. Therefore, the importance of engagement cannot be understated, and companies need to emphasize the value of the training they are providing. Finding a balance while at home and in the office will allow for more perspective and help demonstrate the meaning behind training.