As companies around the world begin returning to physical offices and facilities, learning and development (L&D) leaders are facing the new challenge of training both in-person and remote workers.

There’s no one-size-fits-all approach to hybrid training. Organizations and employees alike expect flexibility and efficiency in this new era of work, and training managers have the unique opportunity to develop a culture of hybrid learning that works best for their business. 

What does that look like? We spoke with three leaders paving the way in hybrid training to learn how they’re supporting a distributed workforce at their organization and key take-aways for strengthening hybrid L&D initiatives.

1. Use asynchronous training to improve consistency and save time

L&D leaders are increasingly responsible for delivering consistent, high-quality training across a distributed workforce with different schedules and engagement styles.

This was the challenge facing American 1 Credit Union. With 17 locations and 201 employees – 65% of which are frontline team members requiring continuous sales and customer service training – American 1 adopted asynchronous, on-demand courses to optimize their training programs.

“Previously, all training was in-person, time-consuming, and very disruptive. We would have to pull frontline team members out of the branch, find someone to cover for them while they were out, and take them on-site to our Resource Center for training,” says Marla Sanford, VP of Marketing & Communications at American 1 Credit Union. 

“Now, we have a hybrid model. We pre-record the training that we know we will consistently need, and provide it on-demand. We also have trainers record their live sessions so people who aren’t in attendance can revisit them later.” 

Rather than repeat the same training with in-person and remote teams, asynchronous courses improve the consistency of training while allowing employees to consume knowledge when, where, and as often as needed. 

“Panopto has been amazing because we can reach anyone, anywhere with the same information. It’s really helped us expedite our training and save hundreds of hours,” Sanford says. 

2. Embrace flexibility and continuously strengthen training material

Mortgage Advice Bureau (MAB) is a network of more than 1,600 advisers across 150 partner firms providing expert consumer guidance on mortgage, protection, and general insurance products in the UK. Each prospective adviser must complete rigorous compliance, governance, licensing, and systems training in order to attain Able to Trade certification and join the MAB network of representatives. 

Traditionally, this training took place entirely in-person, with learners joining from across the region for a five-day residential certification program. MAB transformed this course into a dynamic and measurable digital onboarding program that combines on-demand learning modules with live support from expert trainers.

This evolution has not only boosted new certification rates but also increased new adviser sales and advice quality standards by 24% each, reduced learner attrition by 12%, and reduced costs by more than 57% – achievements that earned MAB the 2021 Princess Royal Training Award.

The secret to their success? A continuous improvement mindset. 

“We use video analytics quite substantially to see how learners interact with our training sessions, which videos they avoid or revisit, and what information isn’t sticking,” says MAB’s Training Technology Specialist Andy Cope. “I particularly love being able to see what information learners are searching for and which points in a video timeline have the most engagement. This data helps us create clearer, more consistent material, improve how we communicate, and measure the success of our amendments.”

Feedback from both learners and partner firms has been overwhelmingly complementary, according to Cope. “We’ve been able to work alongside partner firms and keep them informed of how their advisers are doing in our courses. It’s a great accountability tool – if learners are struggling in a course, we can look at the analytics and where they may have skipped a session or where the material could be better explained. Our partners can share feedback on what topics learners need help with or which new areas of study to include and we can work with them to improve the course.”

The ability to quickly create and scale video training has allowed MAB to add more complex material to their curriculum, helping advisers learn more in less time and at greatly reduced cost.

3. Improve content discoverability to boost engagement at scale

For one Fortune 500 manufacturing company with a presence in more than 30 countries, video has been a key communication tool keeping their global staff connected for years. With a large video learning library, however, discoverability is the key to making training content valuable at an organization of their size and scale.

“It’s important to stay on top of how people are actually using your video library and ask yourself the best way to present information to your users. Are people actually going to drill down into folders within folders? Is it going to keep them engaged?” says a leader in the organization. “Know your path forward on what your content structure is going to look like, because it can very easily become unwieldy when managing and scaling large amounts of content.”

Automating the training development process has been the key to optimizing content discoverability, whether staff are in the field or working from home. Employees expect flexibility, ease, and the ability to find information at the speed of need, while training managers want to focus on their curriculum rather than organizing and transcribing content. 

“Panopto’s in-video search function is great, so I tell people, don’t worry about folders. Create good training content with good titles and descriptions and just toss everything in the library. Users can find what they need on-demand.”

Looking to the future of training

As hybrid training evolves, the key is to stay nimble and engaged. Understand how your employees best work and learn, and don’t be afraid to iterate on material and test new approaches.

“Pay attention to your workforce, their demographics, and how they like to consume information,” Sanford says. “If you want to engage your workforce in a meaningful way where they are going to learn best, you need to deliver information in a format that they want to consume. You have to pay attention to that at the executive level if you want to move your team forward.” 

“I can’t see L&D ever going back to what it was,” adds Cope. “The hybrid model and online training are becoming the norm – and it doesn’t have to be difficult. One of the things I really love about Panopto is that it’s so easy to quickly produce a video. I work with teams that have never used video tools at all who easily start creating and editing content. Don’t take my word for it, download the trial version, build a small, digitized course, and evaluate how easy it is for yourself.” 

 

Related Reading: Training a Hybrid Workforce? Avoid These 5 Mistakes

Published: December 06, 2021