Covid-19 is requiring all leaders to reconsider how they train. In-person traditional training is essentially restrained by this pandemic. Leaders are supposed to adapt quickly to maintain order and train for safe operations, yet do so in a COVID-safe way. Fortunately, it can be done, and it is not tough. By taking the steps necessary to deliver training in covid-19 times, they need to put in place systems, instruments and content to improve both the outcomes and cost-efficiency of their eventual training, pandemic or not.
In order to respond to the immediate need, we will focus here on giving effective training remotely to those who need it quickly, efficiently and safely. Remote learning has been carried out for decades and there is a tremendous evidence to show that it is often more effective than in-person training. This applies to all forms of training which can be delivered remotely.
The Required Tools
At this moment, the purpose is to deploy effective training quickly. The tools we require are a learning management system (LMS) to deliver on-line assessment and training in covid-19 times, and a conferencing tool to allow for real-time engagements. Its great if you have an LMS already available, otherwise you will have to select one.
While in normal times there would be several choices to consider, at the time of pandemic, only two main requirements must be considered. First, make sure that the LMS chosen by you can easily provide your own custom training content and assessments. For example, it should be possible to record a short video and quickly make it available to all your learners along with a quiz to test their knowledge. This is important as some LMSs make it very difficult to apply your own content, instead allowing only the LMS dealer’s content and assessments. Second, it is important to decide whether you would like to provide training in covid-19 times, while on-board. Then, it will be important to choose an LMS which works on-board without network. Otherwise, a larger variety of LMSs will do the work.
Next, for instant interactions between your instructors and learners, a discussion tool is required. Some popular choices are Google Hangouts, Zoom, and Skype. All of these are inexpensive and easy to use, are reliable, and support audio, video screen-sharing and chat functionality. Customers have made much use of all of these without issue. Pick any one.
Looking closely at the needs, design a program carefully tailored to address those needs. While that would be ideal, excellent result can be achieved by following a few basic principles.
- The Lecture
- Both for efficiency and for improved results, avoid simply moving the workplace-based model onto a video-chat. Instead, record the lecture into a series of short videos, and make them available via the LMS. Then, once your learners have watched the recorded videos, use the live conference tool to hold a discussion, work through problems, answer questions etc. Unlike a live lecture, recorded videos will allow learners to repeat material they find difficult or avoid items they already know. This will create a better learning experience and improved learning results.
- Evaluate Frequently
- Use your LMS to create short and simple tests to determine whether the learners know what you need them to know. For example, after they have watched one of the video lectures above, ask them to carry out an online exam. This will not only tell you whether your video was useful and also help you improve it, but it is also an effective way to convey your learning expectations to the learners. Furthermore, it will help to stimulate questions for the next live conferencing session. And finally, it will provide inspiration to help ensure that the learners watched the video and absorbed as much as they could before the remote discussion.
- Bite Sized Videos
- Keep your videos small sized. Although in normal situations you might lecture for an hour or more in a workplace, it is better to record very short videos for training in covid-19 times. Each video should contain one topic and should be followed by an assessment. This will help the learner to remain focused and easily repeat the material they find difficult, and also allow them to get quick feedback through evaluation.
- Keep Growing
- Provide your lessons with written FAQs, providing clarifications and responding to the questions often asked by your learners. Expand and improve your video library. Add structure to your talks. Soon you will have a constant improving, highly effective learning program that can be applied over and over.
Clearly there is much more that can be said on training in Covid-19 times. But these basic tools and principles will drive you in the right direction and get you up and going almost instantly.