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Remote Learning Portal - 5 Pro Tips to Engage Employees

remote learning portal

It’s 2022. Companies are changing the way they approach remote work. Maybe your company has a more distributed team than in previous years, and you’re leaning towards hopping on the bandwagon and adopting a fully remote work environment.

Maybe some employees expressed that they want a hybrid working environment where they only come into the office a few days a week, while others want to work completely remotely.

Your business might even be the type that never shifted to remote work during the pandemic because you couldn’t — retail, healthcare, and trades are just a few examples. But you still had to observe pandemic rules, like limiting in-person training.

So what do all these different types of employee work environments — fully remote, hybrid, and in-person — have in common?

They all have employees that need training. And it’s your job to ensure that they get the best training possible, even with shifting work environment demands. Effective training remains incredibly important. 

But how can you effectively train employees and still accommodate their work environment?

With a secret weapon, of course.

Drumroll, please.

Enter the remote learning portal!

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In this post, we’ll outline exactly what a remote learning portal is, including its benefits and challenges and the steps you can take to set your employees up for success with learning remotely.

What is a Remote Learning Portal in a Corporate Setting? 

A remote learning portal is typically an LMS with a dashboard-style landing page for each employee. This dashboard promotes collaboration through message boards, comments, instant messaging, and video chat. Remote learning portals often have a customizable interface as well, so you can tailor the look and feel of employee landing pages with your company colors and logo.

Tovuti is one example of an LMS that provides personalized learner portals. These portals aggregate other features of the LMS, like communities, forums, and social profiles, to keep everyone engaged and connected with each other.

Even if you’re back at the office, using a remote learning portal is still effective, as employees can complete training on the go and connect with other employees easily during their workday, even if they are in different physical locations. This can help reduce things like silos in your company’s culture.

Benefits of Using a Remote Learning Portal for Business

remote learning potal for business

If we’re being completely honest, training and development should be a major focus for all companies, regardless of their industry or size. After all, employees are a company’s best asset, so it’s in their best interest to make sure they have the best training you can give them.

Remote work and other different work environments might throw a wrench into the traditional, in-person training model, but embracing a remote learning portal for your business has its benefits:

Keep Employees Connected

These days, it isn’t unusual to see workplaces with fully remote employees, often distributed across countries or even the world. As a result, it can be difficult to keep employees connected with each other.

According to the 2022 Global Culture Report by O.C. Tanner,  when employees don’t feel connected to their workplace, culture, and purpose, their ability to produce great work falls by about 90%, the likelihood of burnout increases, and employees are more likely to leave the company within three years or less.

With built-in social media-like functionality, a remote learning portal like Tovuti provides an environment that makes it easy for employees to stay connected. Forums, comments, and video chat is one thing, but Tovuti also supports teamwork-based learning, like live webinars, breakout rooms, and more.

Offers Flexible, Self-Paced Learning 

We’re all working against time in the workplace, but remote learning platforms can enable self-paced learning, giving employees flexibility with how and when they complete content. 

With Tovuti, for instance, courses that aren’t completed in one sitting will be bookmarked at the spot where the employee stopped so they can easily pick up where they left off at a later time. Deadlines can also be shifted (if you even want to implement them at all) so a course that would take two hours can be broken up into 15-minute intervals on an employee schedule, for example.

Easy Access to Training Materials and Resources

Scrolling through Google Drive or Dropbox is uh, one way that you could organize your training materials, but it doesn’t provide the best user experience if we’re being honest.

Instead, a remote learning portal not only provides one place where all training materials are located but also makes them easy to search, categorize, and share. This reduces the time spent on looking for the right resource and encourages employees to revisit content when the need for clarification arises.

Provides More Remote Learning Options for Employees

When you provide employees with the opportunity to develop their professional skills, it not only increases their productivity and morale, but it shows them that your business values their skills and abilities. 

You might think that a remote learning portal like Tovuti is only a place for hosting your course content, but you can actually purchase a subscription to third-party, integrated course libraries that offer thousands of additional courses for your employees. You can even white-label these courses if you choose to, so the whole system has a uniform look with your company logo and colors.

Makes it easy to train employees on new policies and procedures

Ever worked for a company that made a big policy change, and you didn’t find out until months later?

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The reality is that when you roll out a new company-wide policy, it can take weeks or even months before all employees are aware and fully trained on it, especially if you have hundreds or thousands of employees. Instead of leaving it up to the managers to train in person, a remote learning portal is an easy way to distribute the same information to everyone.

This not only prevents games of telephone obfuscating the original message, but it also ensures that every employee learns about key policy changes at the same time, rather than some learning about it earlier than others. 

Procedural changes follow the same idea. If you need to limit policy or procedure changes to one or two departments based on relevance, it’s also easy to do that within a remote learning portal. Features like personalized learning portals and course management let managers organize training to suit their teams.

Common Challenges of Remote Employee Training

remote learning challenges

Remote learning may offer a ton of benefits, but like with any type of training, there are challenges that need to be overcome. Being aware of these challenges is half the battle, as when you’re ready to tackle things if they go wrong, it’ll be easier to deal with if they do happen. You can also be proactive with implementing solutions that’ll help mitigate some of these issues before they become a real problem for your business.

Here are some common challenges that come with remote employee training:

Keeping Employees Engaged

Here’s a scenario that you’ve likely experienced before: your workplace needs everyone to complete an IT course related to phishing scams, but after the first week of assigning the course, you have a whopping…2 people that have actually completed it.

The glaring problem with remote training is that it’s hard to keep employees engaged. Remote training is often pushed aside for other tasks, or employees simply aren’t interested.

One of the ways you can address this issue is by using a virtual classroom. Get everyone together and train them all at the same time, so engagement will be the same as if every employee was sitting in front of the trainer in a classroom. Another solution, which is especially useful for courses taken over a period of time, is to use breakout rooms to encourage students to work in groups or for instructors to interact with students individually over video.

There are other ways to increase engagement in a remote learning environment, like incorporating gamification, microlearning, and more, which we’ll get into later on in this article.

Technology Issues

Lack of suitable technology can be a big barrier when it comes to remote employee training, with issues like poor internet connectivity or lack of access to modern hardware limiting access to training.

The obvious solution to the hardware problem is to provide computers to employees, which most workplaces do anyway, but internet speed and quality can be more of an issue. This map of internet connectivity in America highlights the problem with reliable high-speed internet connections in more detail. 

You can’t change how bad the U.S. is at the internet, so what can you do?

One way is to provide a stipend that covers or partly covers monthly internet bills for remote workers, allowing them to upgrade to a better internet plan. Another solution is to offer hotdesking options, which may be especially useful if you have a group of employees working remotely in one area. Not only do you help solve the problem of poor internet, but you encourage them to come together in person to complete learning objectives.

Poor Digital Literacy

Workplaces have a diverse group of people, and not all of them are tech-savvy enough to be comfortable with spending a lot of time learning new software.

That’s why choosing a remote learning option that’s easy to use is so important. Tovuti was designed from the ground up to be intuitive for both the person uploading and managing training materials and the learner. 

Another simple way you can make training material easier to digest is by keeping your courses concise and straightforward. Slides with cluttered designs that make it hard to tell where you need to click next can be frustrating. Big media files and images can also slow down course performance, so using image compression and other ways to optimize courses for peak performance is a good idea as well.

Distractions (browsing social media, checking email, doing work instead, etc.)

Let’s face it: employees are busy. Often too busy to dedicate hours to learning, as there are more pressing tasks that require their undivided attention. It can be difficult to convince employees to pry themselves away from work to complete learning objectives. 

This is just one example, but you get the idea — even though professional development is important, there are other, seemingly more important things that distract them from doing it.

One of the best solutions to this problem is microlearning. This is a type of learning where employees can consume bite-sized chunks of information through quizzes, PDFs, games, and more that only take a few minutes to complete. 

When combined with mobile functionality, employees gain more flexibility to complete learning tasks while they are waiting in line, riding on the bus, or whenever they have a spare few minutes.

How to Setup Employees For Remote Learning

remote learning setup

Prepare your staff for a remote learning environment by following these necessary steps:

1. Choose a Delivery Model

First, you’ll need to figure out how you want to deliver training to your staff. This is the step that requires the most consideration, as you’ll likely be making decisions about what software to purchase at this point.

The obvious remote learning option is an LMS, but with hundreds of options out there, how do you know which one to choose?

You’ll need to do your research, of course, but here are several features that LMS buyers should look for:

  • Intuitive UX design that’s straightforward and easy to understand
  • Custom learner portals (this is especially great for keeping employees focused on the courses they are supposed to be taking)
  • Responsive design so employees can take courses on the device of their choice (smartphone, computer, or tablet)
  • Single sign-on (SSO) functionality, so that employees don’t have to bother with remembering yet another set of login information
  • Robust analytics and reporting so training managers can keep track of learning outcomes
  • Advanced administration options, so user access can be controlled, and security can be maintained
  • Compliance with standardizes eLearning formats (SCORM, xAPI, etc.) to ensure compatibility of course content

If you need more guidance with choosing a remote learning option, we’ve outlined our top 5 choices later on in this article.

2. Buy the Necessary Tools

Once you’ve chosen an LMS that fits your business's budget and needs, it’s time to make a list of any other tools you’ll need. Onboarding? I.T. support? Server space? These are all possible extra expenses that come with implementing an LMS, so it’s important to factor them into your budget. 

Some quick points to keep in mind are:

  • Tovuti offers free onboarding for the first 30 days from when you purchase our LMS to help you learn how to effectively use the system.
  • If you don’t have an I.T. team or they don’t have the resources to manage an LMS, then no worries. Tovuti actually doesn’t need an I.T. department in most cases. Once the technical stuff like APIs and SSO functionality is set up, then the system can pretty much run itself, aside from regular content updates and maintenance.
  • There’s no need for server space with Tovuti, as it is a cloud-based system that runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS).

3. Prepare Your Learning Materials

There are a few ways you can go about preparing your learning materials for your remote learning option:

  1. Standardized file types like.PDFs, .jpgs, .docs, and other formats can often be uploaded to the remote learning platform as is, without any changes needed.
  2. Actual eLearning courses often need to be built out in advance using software like Adobe Captivate or Articulate Storyline, and then saved as SCORM or xAPI compliant files. But with Tovuti, you can create courses directly on the platform, with built-in course authoring, meaning you don’t need to learn how to use complicated instructional design programs to create compelling courses.
  3. Hire instructional designers to create training courses and materials for you.

4. Deliver Training

When you have all your training materials ready to go and your remote learning portal is set up, you’ll have to decide how you want to deliver training. This often includes setting out specific learning paths to keep employees on track and lesson gating to ensure that courses are taken in the correct order. 

Personalized learner portals also provide a great way to organize course content to make it easy for employees to know exactly what courses they need to take next.

5. Track Learning Results

When learning objectives are complete or deadlines are fast approaching, training managers want to see who has completed courses, who still need to complete them, and more. They also want to see information about how employees interact with the training materials to determine if improvements or changes need to be made.

That’s why it’s essential for any remote learning portal to have solid reporting and analytics. With cold hard data, training managers can put gut feelings aside and get the facts on learning outcomes, gathering insights and information with the goal of making training better.

Tovuti includes a robust report builder that shows information like learner performance and events data and an analytics dashboard that allows training managers to see overviews and more granular data as needed.

5 Pro Tips to Engage Employees

employee engagement

Employee engagement can be defined in a few different ways, namely motivation, the amount of effort an employee is putting into learning, and how enthusiastic they are about the content they have to learn.

There’s no question that the more focused you are on learning something, the better that you’re going to remember the material and be able to action what you’ve learned in your day-to-day work. If an employee feels engaged, they are happier and more motivated to perform better in their jobs.

To keep employee engagement a focus at your company, consider using the following tips:

1. Use Microlearning

We honestly can’t say enough good things about microlearning. It’s a great way to keep busy employees on top of professional development, and it changes up the traditional eLearning formula from having to spend hours taking a course to spend a few minutes reading a PDF or taking a quiz instead. 

Think about it: it’s much easier to stay focused on a task if it’s only going to take you 5 minutes rather than an hour or longer. 

2. Gamification

Gamification works by providing a reward for completing a task or objective, which motivates the learner to continue. This idea has been applied to eLearning courses to motivate employees to complete training and enjoy it as well.

Gamification elements don’t have to be super complex either, things like leaderboards, matching, drag and drop badges, and certificates appeal to our need for healthy competition, control, and reinforcement.

3. Incorporate Real-Life Scenarios into Training 

It’s easy to feel disconnected from training if you can’t immediately see its application. When training is presented in a way where the employee can understand its relevance to their job, they’ll likely be more motivated to complete the training. It can also be a great way to test their knowledge.

For example, let’s say an employee in a warehouse was just taught the basics of WHMIS. The real-life scenario could present them with a bottle filled with an unknown chemical and get them to demonstrate how they would go about identifying the substance inside. 

4. Keep training materials relevant

As a company grows and policies and procedures change, it can be difficult to keep learning materials updated. However, it’s absolutely essential for making sure that employees are learning the correct information. 

Thankfully, with Tovuti, you don’t have to upload new SCORM files when you need to make changes to course material. Instead, you can use the built-in course authoring tool to make changes that take effect immediately, making it easier to keep your learning resources up-to-date.

5. Encourage collaboration and teamwork

Research shows that we learn better when we can work together.

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To promote collaboration and teamwork among employees, be sure to take advantage of forums, instant messaging, video chat, and more that keep employees connected. Tovuti’s virtual classroom specifically allows learners to share screens, upload presentations, write on a virtual whiteboard, and participate in breakout rooms. 

4 Top Remote Learning Options

At this point, you’re likely wondering what your best remote learning options are.

We’ve gathered up our choices for the top 5 learning portal platforms and outlined their features below to help you with your research process. The main thing we’re looking for with each of these platforms is their ability to keep employees engaged with training, so that will be the focus of our analysis of each platform.

1. Tovuti 

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When it comes to providing the tools you need to keep employees engaged with training, Tovuti has it all. Personalized learning portals allow you to make individualized training plans, while virtual classroom features like breakout rooms and messaging keep students connected as if they were sitting next to each other. 

When building out your courses using the built-in course authoring tool, you can include gamification elements that take your course from boring to fantastic in a few clicks. Plus, you can provide your employees with more training opportunities with third-party courses that help them improve existing skills or learn new ones.

2. Absorb LMS

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Handling learner engagement isn’t easy, but Absorb LMS takes it seriously. You’ll find the typical features you would expect here, like an intuitive interface, mobile responsiveness, social learning (interactive polls, leaderboards, and newsfeeds on personalized learner dashboards), and gamification elements to include in the course material.

3. Cornerstone

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As an LMS that caters to organizations of all sizes, the usual employee engagement elements are all found here: mobile learning options, Instructor-led training, gamification elements, and more. But what makes Cornerstone really stand out is its AI-recommended content. Through their vast content library, Cornerstone can recommend courses to your employees that further their professional development.

4. Talent LMS

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Touting itself as an easy-to-use eLearning platform, Talent LMS provides gamification elements, mobile learning, and more to keep employees engaged with learning objectives. Their ready-made courses feature cute cartoon characters and fun animations that help capture and keep an employee’s attention. Their intuitive content builder also lets you create engaging courses with just a few clicks.

Summary

Employee engagement continues to be a challenge for most companies. As most of our work environments continue to evolve to be more distributed, the challenges of keeping employees motivated to complete training and engaged enough to actually learn something will continue to need to be refined and optimized for each specific organization.

One of the ways you can ensure you have the tools you need to keep employees engaged with training now and in the future is by investing in an LMS like Tovuti. We’re constantly adding new features and optimizing our system to provide you and your employees with the best and most effective learning experiences.

Want to learn more? Watch our demo!

Author:
Tyson Chaplin

Tyson Chaplin earned his Master of Educational Technology degree from Boise State University in 2014. He also earned a graduate certificate in Technology Integration and holds teaching certificates in online teaching, special education, and history.

Tyson is an Idaho native who is passionate about technology and how it can help all people learn and better themselves. He has worked in both public and private sectors. Tyson enjoys cooking and traveling with his wife, Malia, and restores vintage video game systems in his free time.

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