6 Ways To Research Your Remote Corporate Learners

How To Research Your Remote Corporate Learners

Learning technology is not a miracle solution that will cure all your training ills. As is the case with all tools, you must know how to use it effectively to achieve the desired results. More specifically, your organization needs to learn as much as possible about its distributed workforce. But how do you evaluate the needs, preferences, and goals of your employees when they're thousands of miles apart? Here are 6 methods to research your remote corporate learners for online training.

1. Surveys And Questionnaires

Online surveys and questionnaires are versatile evaluation tools that help you explore employee backgrounds. From their experience in the field to personal learning preferences. However, you must have specific goals or pain points in mind when creating surveys. What do you really need to know about your employees? Are you trying to discover their personal goals? If so, which specific training areas are you focusing on? Certain goals involve skill development while others pertain to work related knowledge. Once you formulate effective survey questions, you must then determine the best delivery method. For example, you can upload it to your online training course or post it on your social media page. The key is to utilize online platforms they're already familiar with to make the process more convenient.

2. Video Conferencing Interviews

Surveys, polls, and questionnaires are flexible, but they are also limited in their scope. In some cases, more qualitative evaluation methods are in order. For example, video conferencing interviews that allow you to interact with employees directly. Skype, Google Hangouts, and other online platforms give you the power to determine their preferences, motivations, and training needs. Compile a list of questions beforehand and send out invites to a diverse group of employees. For instance, one or two people from each department. During the online interview, give them the opportunity to share their opinions openly and invite their suggestions. They should feel completely comfortable voicing their concerns without the fear or repercussions. You can also offer them a token of your appreciation, such as a gift card or paid time off for their participation.

3. Webinar Focus Groups

Interviews are one-on-one, while focus groups involve multiple participants who have already taken the online training course. Alternatively, you can set up a testing phase that gives them a sneak peek of the online training course. This serves as the discussion starting point during the meeting, which can also be conducted through a video conferencing online platform. Once again, have your questions at-the-ready, but also give employees time to share their thoughts and ideas. The secret to successful focus groups is keeping the conversation on track. As such, you might consider a general outline for the participants to use as a guide.

4. Pre-Assessments

This is one of the most direct and measurable research methods for online training. Before you start developing the online training course, create pre-assessments to gauge employee knowledge and proficiency. Multiple choice and true/false questions are ideal for qualitative data, such as comprehension of compliance topics. While interactive branching scenarios and serious games are best for qualitative data, like task performance and skill mastery. These assessments help you customize your online training approach and improve your ROI. Another benefit is that they can be used as a benchmark. Employees must take a final assessment at the end of the online training course and you're able to compare the results. This helps you determine the effectiveness of your online training course design and identify performance and skill gaps.

5. Simulation & Branching Scenario Observations

In the case of remote employees, on-the-job observations aren't an option. However, there is a way to evaluate their performance to identify strengths and weaknesses. Online training simulations and branching scenarios immerse employees in real world environments. They must perform workplace tasks and use the resources at their disposal. Every challenge or obstacle must be met with creative reasoning and problem-solving skills. You can observe employees and view detailed performance reports after the fact. For accurate results, ensure that your online training simulations and branching scenarios are as realistic as possible. Every image, sound, and situation should resonate with the employee and reflect real world circumstances. This allows you to replicate the pressure and stress what employees find in the workplace. As such, you know how they'll perform on-the-job and if they require additional resources.

6. Statistical Data

Your Learning Management System, corporate website, and even social media pages are rich sources of Big Data. They can tell you who's accessing the online training course, for how long, and how well they're faring. Reports and analytics give you the power to examine every aspect of their performance and your online training course design.

For example, the data reveals that 65% of your employees aren't able to pass the task assessment. This is a tell-tale sign that they need more real world activities, walkthroughs, and online tutorials. They may also require additional skill training to successfully complete the task. As a result, your organization can focus on that area and allocate your resources more efficiently. In addition, data gives you a better understanding of your employees' background and knowledge base. Learning Management System metrics offer a detailed overview of individual performance. Thus, you're able to give them the personalized online training experiences they require.

The secret to effective corporate learner research is organization and planning. Create a step-by-step outline of which methods you'll employ and when you will conclude each phase. You should also allow time for evaluation and analysis of the data you collect. In addition, bear in mind that research can be costly. Estimate the fees and resources involved so that you can budget accordingly.

Research may be an investment, but it's a necessary part of the eLearning development process. Read the article 5 Hidden Benefits Of Conducting eLearning Audience Research to discover the hidden benefits of researching your target audience.

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