Humans are incredibly social beings, as a result they are most effective when they are able to create teams and communities in person. Unfortunately, with the ‘New Normal’ professional landscape that COVID-19 has created – with entire organisations having to work remotely – teams have had to find ways to ensure they continue to work effectively. Part of achieving an effective remote workforce, is creating an online community. This can be done through online training, an area that has specialised in creating successful online teams.
Technology has made many tools available for organisations to create thriving online workplace communities. Mobile networks, computer networks, video conferencing tools, social media…the list goes on. There are a few factors that are required to create a successful online training community within organisations –
Create a Communal ‘Hub’
Virtual infrastructure is already in place the current digital age. Organisations are able to seamlessly take their meetings, conversations, and projects online. The same can be said of training. Learning Management Systems (LMS’) are in place for organisations to set up and run their own online training sessions. For organisations who require assistance, companies, like FUEL, exist to run their training from start to finish. This includes set up, maintenance, support and regular reporting on all learners.
Creating an online training community for your employees, offers them the ability to continue improving their skills, whilst challenging them to work harder at their tasks. Having the ‘Hub’ creates an opportunity for learners to converse and interact with each other over the training, offering the opportunity for your team to strengthen relationships while not being able to interact physically.
Create Team Interaction
Once employees have access to an online training platform, they are able to communicate and interact with each other with regards to the training offered. Creating a sense of belonging is a complex undertaking that does not necessarily align to a plan. Community is developed, rather, through a series of soft-skill actions, activities, attitudes, and enablement. For obvious reasons (lack of physical presence, limited ability to read body language, etc.) this process is more challenging in a virtual environment. For your virtual community to thrive, you will need to ensure that your team has honed their communication skills whilst ensuring that they remain positive and motivated without access to the traditional office environment.
Offering your learners tools like Gamification, can foster motivated and friendly competition. Specific and attainable challenges can do wonders for unmotivated individuals, and if done right, it can uplift the whole team or community. Additionally, Competition, rewards, and collecting points on a virtual scoreboard can be huge motivating factors for continued engagement with virtual assets for teams who do not have onsite supervision.
Create Engaging Content
Creating challenging content stimulates creativity, critical thinking, and collaboration among your learners. This is a universal learning principle. Organisations must strike the right balance; content that is too easy may create a false impression of proficiency and can detract from the learning experience, while challenges that are too difficult may create frustration and despair. Understand your learners and use that knowledge to find the middle ground where they can confidently build on what they know while simultaneously acquiring new knowledge and skills.
Assessments and feedback are arguably two of the most important factors of online training. These allow you to determine if your content is successfully delivering key learning objectives to your learners, and which areas require more attention. By creating custom content with assessments and feedback, you can ensure that your learners are receiving training that is relevant to your organisation, rather than generic content that doesn’t impart the skills and knowledge required to make a difference at your organisation.