Remote Training: Tools, Benefits and Best Practices

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published March 25, 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

Employee training programs give professionals the skills and knowledge to contribute to their company. While traditional training programs take place in conference rooms or training facilities, advancing technology makes remote training programs more effective and accessible to companies of all sizes. If you're an HR or learning and development professional, learning about remote training can help you develop effective training programs for employees in hybrid and remote organizations. In this article, we define remote training, list some common remote training tools, explain the benefits of these programs and describe effective tactics for implementing remote training for employees.

Related: Q&A: What Is Remote Work?

What is remote training?

Remote training programs teach employees content or skills using digital tools. The training manager might be in their home or office, while the trainees log in from their own locations. These programs might be ideal for companies with hybrid or remote work environments or those with multiple offices in different cities, states or countries. In these programs, trainers might hold webinars or virtual meetings to communicate with trainees directly or administer self-paced programs through a training platform. Companies might employ remote training in a wide range of scenarios, including:

  • New employee onboarding

  • Professional development

  • Certification training

  • Intervention plans

  • Mergers and acquisitions

  • New technology adoption

Related: What Are the Different Types of Workplace Training?

Remote training tools

The types of tools a remote trainer uses in their programs might depend on the program's goals and the participants' access to certain pieces of technology. Here are some tools a trainer might use in a remote training program:

  • Slide show programs: Trainers might use slide show programs to create informative presentations for trainees. These programs allow the trainer to integrate images, text and videos and can be presented in real-time.

  • Video meeting platforms: Remote training programs often use a video chatting or meeting program, where everyone in the training group can log on and see each other. These programs can also allow trainers to broadcast live webinars to hundreds of employees at once.

  • Interactive activities: Trainers can use quiz-making websites or other resources to create interactive activities for trainees. These might test trainees on the program's content or teach them new concepts.

  • Shared documents: One of the easiest tools a remote trainer might use is a document-sharing service found on many company email accounts. They might send trainees the schedule, syllabus or other written content through a custom link or folder.

  • Uploaded videos: If a trainer already has videos that explain certain content, like a company's mission statement or HR policies, they might share a video with their training team. Trainees can watch the video at their own convenience, but the trainer might also include a reflective activity or quiz to ensure completion.

  • Chat programs: Along with real-time video meeting programs, trainers might use a chat application to send messages to trainees throughout the program. Trainees can use these applications to ask their trainer questions about the content or program's schedule.

  • Task management or training platforms: Specialized training and task management software automates the training process by tracking when participants have completed certain training modules and activities. These tools allow trainers to upload all the training content at once and provide a training pathway for participants.

Benefits of remote training

Here are some key benefits of remote training:

It's cost-effective

Companies with hybrid or remote work environments might have employees in many cities and states, while global enterprises might have locations in several countries. By implementing remote training programs, these companies can save money on airplane tickets, hotel rooms and other travel-related expenses. Remote training is also cost-effective for employees who might spend money on child care or house-sitters if they travel to a different location for training.

It's convenient

Because remote training typically uses online platforms, trainers simply prepare their materials and launch their training applications when it's time to begin. Many of these applications are available on computers, tablets and smartphones, allowing trainers and trainees to access the material wherever they are. The convenience of remote training programs can help trainers complete their sessions in the allotted time, keeping the training class on schedule.

It's flexible

The wide range of digital tools means you can customize a remote training program that meets the specific needs of a company or department. You might combine slide shows, written documents, videos and interactive meetings to convey different types of information. For example, a remote onboarding program for new employees might use prerecorded videos to teach trainees about company policies, with short quizzes at the end of each section. A diversity training program for established employees might use more collaborative tools, like video conferencing software and chat programs, which allow participants to have discussions.

It can include self-paced content

While training programs might have set schedules for seminars and group activities, they might also contain study modules and other independent exercises. This self-paced content allows trainees to complete the activities at their own speed, which can help them learn the material more thoroughly. Including self-paced content also gives the HR department flexibility to schedule other onboarding activities with incoming employees. Self-paced content might include quizzes or other activities that assess their knowledge, allowing the trainer to feel confident that they learned the material.

It allows larger training classes

Because remote training classes don't require classrooms or parking space, they can allow companies to schedule larger training classes than an in-person format might accommodate. Different remote tools, like webinar platforms and online quiz modules, can accommodate dozens, or even hundreds, of users at one time. This function makes remote training an effective way to educate all of a company's employees about new policies. You might also train hundreds of employees at once after a merger or acquisition.

It prepares employees for remote work

Sometimes, remote training is the first experience an employee has with virtual work. These experiences can be a useful opportunity to learn how to use virtual work tools, like task management software, chat platforms and video meeting programs. Ongoing training can also help employees learn about new digital tools that can help them improve their work. For example, when a company adopts a new digital workspace platform, the company's learning and development team might lead a training for the employees to show the new program's functions.

You can create permanent resources

Many remote training tools allow you to create resources that your training class can refer to in the future. Many training managers make online folders for slide decks, documents and online study guides accessible by either the training class or the entire company. That way, if an employee has a question about a procedure or policy after they begin their work, they can find the answer easily. Also, you can record video sessions and meetings, so if a trainee misses a session, they can access the information later.

7 best practices for remote training

Here are seven ways to create strong remote training programs:

1. Establish clear goals

Remote training programs are often effective when they have specific goals that connect the different modules and training methods. Establishing a program's goals during the development stage allows you to create quizzes and other activities that test your trainees' grasp of the target concepts. Depending on the length and purpose of the program, you might have a single goal or several key targets. If the program has multiple goals, consider dividing the program into several sections, each focusing on a single goal. For example, an onboarding program might have different sections for company mission, organizational structure and HR policies.

2. Test your platforms in advance

Remote training programs might use several tools, like video meeting software, chat platforms and online modules, each with its own system requirements and procedures. Before the training class begins, do a demo session using each tool you plan to use in the course to ensure that the programs work smoothly and have the features you want for the class. You might ask a colleague to role play as a trainee and ask you basic technical questions, so you can prepare your responses in case your trainees have difficulties.

Related: Video Conferencing Best Practices for Professional Meetings

3. Organize training material

Employees in a training course might have access to a wide range of materials, including a schedule, login information, activities and additional reading. Depending on the type of training, they might also have other responsibilities to manage. For example, employees doing onboarding training might also meet with HR team members and attend private training sessions with their managers. To help trainees stay organized, consider creating a single training resource, like a PDF document or drive folder, with all the material they need for the course.

4. Introduce tools to trainees

At the beginning of the training program, provide a tutorial for your trainees about the tools the program uses. In onboarding programs, participants might come from a range of professional backgrounds, and they may have different levels of technical expertise. Showing the class how to use each tool can reduce the number of technical questions you get during the program, making the training sessions more efficient. You might share your screen through a video meeting program and explore each tool's various functions.

5. Incorporate social time

Training programs can give colleagues an opportunity to build strong professional relationships. Consider using icebreaker activities during the training course to encourage participants to get to know one another. If the training class has over 10 people in it, it might be difficult to have conversations that include everyone. In these situations, you might divide the class into small groups for icebreaker activities. You can also use socializing activities to reinforce training material. For example, you might host a virtual trivia game at the end of the training program, with questions about the material covered in the course.

Related: 18 Online Icebreakers for Virtual Meetings

6. Use a variety of activities

During a training program, you might present information in several ways to engage different types of learners and keep your audience focused. Combining self-paced, independent work with group meetings and webinars can help your trainees process the material and enjoy the training process. For example, a remote professional development series for customer service representatives might ask trainees to read several customer service scenarios and write how they'd respond to each customer. Then, small groups of trainees might meet over a video meeting platform to share their responses and create a manual for each type of situation.

7. Evaluate your training methods

Evaluating a training program can help you refine the modules and make the program more efficient. When a training program ends, you can ask participants for their feedback to help you improve the program for future trainees. You can use digital tools, like online surveys and feedback forms, to get anonymous responses, which might increase the rate of response and provide more insightful answers. Consider asking participants about every aspect of the training, including the training's goals, the digital tools used, the content and the activities.

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