Editor’s Note: This is a guest post by ed-tech enthusiast Kamy Anderson. His opinions are his own.
It took less than fifteen years for the regular work-at-home population to grow by 140%.
For employees, remote work is synonymous with convenience, better work-life balance, and a unique opportunity to manage work on one’s own terms and at one’s own pace.
For employers, it offers an unexpected boost in productivity and some much-needed cost reduction.
But among its many benefits, remote work hides a few challenges.
In this liberating work environment, on-boarding, training, and continual learning are often hampered by a lack of immediacy and motivation, which further triggers loneliness and isolation. In fact, loneliness (21%), collaborating (21%), and various distractions at home (16%) are the biggest struggles of remote workers surveyed by Buffer. These are arduous struggles, but they can be overcome.
Why LMS thrives in a remote context
Learning management system or LMS software can be limited to in-house use as well, but this uncreative application would then rob it of its greatest potential – remote learning.
Here’s what a good LMS solution includes:
- Learning management tools for assigning, sharing, and organizing courses
- Integrations with external systems such as cloud storage
- Training course bundles and skill-specific learning paths
- Reminders, compliance, and expiry features
- Reports, analytics, and learner performance tracking.
A common denominator to these intuitive features is the ability to use them online for both real-time collaboration and flexible, self-paced learning. Sounds familiar? Should we also mention that these tools are available anytime, anywhere, and across devices? It’s almost as if LMS platforms were designed with remote employees in mind, to enable them to train, learn and develop new practical skills alongside their in-house colleagues.
Defying space, time, and language
Thanks to these capabilities, LMS software falls under the category of space-defying and time-defying tools. Its web-based use transcends both physical boundaries and time zones. They are available 24/7 and can be accessed from anywhere via any device.
Two of the greatest challenges of remote work – lack of collaboration and loneliness – come from the lack of immediacy. Although online tools cannot erase distance, they can facilitate connectivity.
Here’s what real-time connectivity entails in terms of remote learning and development (L&D):
Easy course scheduling: Live online training sessions can be scheduled and organized with ease that remote workers can attend from anyplace and at any time.
Mentoring and support: Real-time connectivity enables remote mentoring – whenever in need of help, off-site workers can seek counsel from their tutors and in-house peers across the world.
Accessible content: Remote workers can access learning content, material for further reading, and FAQs from the internal knowledge base, thanks to seamless LMS software integrations.
Personalization: The ability to create personalized learning paths enables remote employees to study alone or within a group, depending on their personal preferences and learning habits.
Multilingualism: Advanced LMS software solutions offer courses in multiple languages, allowing remote workers from other countries to study in their own mother tongue.
Taken together, all these powerful LMS capabilities help solve problems connected with loneliness and poor collaboration of a remote workforce, thus providing a better learning environment for them.
Boosting flexibility and engagement
The third most cited challenge of off-site workers has very little to do with the restrictions that work-from-home employees face at their home office desks. According to Buffer, 16% of them suffer from distractions. Be that a family-related issue or a doorbell, these distractions can have a huge effect on productivity and efficiency in a remote learning environment.
Even though a lack of immediacy doesn’t contribute to this problem, that doesn’t mean that 24/7 availability of LMS courses can’t be a potent solution. Both 24/7 availability and real-time connectivity ensure flexibility, so let’s make that the first benefit of LMS software for remote learners who struggle with productivity issues:
Remember personalized learning paths? They help remote employees organize their L&D timetables around their peak productivity hours, thus allowing them to make the best use of their time, energy, and focus.
Personalization makes learning even more convenient by helping remote workers discover the fastest and most effective knowledge retention tricks that work only on them as individuals.
In addition to that, real-time mentoring and easy access to educational content further facilitate their study efforts simply by providing the right answer at the right moment. But productivity suffers for yet another reason. No matter how comfortable, quiet, and stimulating a working environment is, it makes little difference if an employee is not motivated to learn, which leads us to our second benefit:
LMS software fosters engagement by making learning more convenient than ever before, but that’s not all. Innovative educational techniques also help boost motivation. This is achieved with custom-tailored courses that cater to specific learning needs with techniques such as gamification, blended learning, and social learning. Constructive feedback and rewards are just as effective motivational tools.
LMS tools offer them as well. Performance tracking helps with goal setting, real-time support encourages learners’ efforts, while course completion certifications provide the incentive.
With LMS software, overcoming the common challenges of remote learning environment is a breeze. Being designed with real-time connectivity and collaboration in mind, these tools help bring down the barriers of time, space, culture, and language.
In doing so, LMS platforms don’t only make remote employees feel included. They also help build a flexible learning environment that nurtures diversity and encourages continual learning and development with engaging elearning techniques.