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Reflections: Remote Training

What’s Good?

  • Accessibility and Flexibility:
    • Remote learning platforms provide accessibility to participants regardless of their geographical location. This flexibility allows individuals from different time zones or locations to participate in lean training without the need for travel.
  • Cost Savings:
    • Remote training can be more cost-effective. There are no expenses associated with travel, accommodations, or venue rental, which can significantly reduce overall training costs.
  • Efficiencies:
    • Participants can save time that would be spent commuting to and from training locations. This time efficiency allows for a more concentrated focus on the training content.
  • Recording and Playback:
    • Many platforms offer the option to record training sessions. This is beneficial for participants who may need to review the material later or for those who were unable to attend the live session.
  • Interactive Features:
    • Remote learning platforms often have interactive features such as chat, polls, and breakout rooms, which can enhance participant engagement and collaboration during training sessions.
  • Real-Time Assessment:
    • Trainers can use various tools to assess participants’ understanding in real-time, such as quizzes, polls, and discussions, facilitating immediate feedback and adjustment of the training approach if needed.

What’s Not So Good?

  • Technical Issues:
    • Technical problems, such as poor internet connection, software glitches, or hardware issues, can disrupt the training experience and impact the overall effectiveness of the session. Onboarding the participants is often required to assure understanding of how to use the online platform before the remote training.
  • Personal Interaction:
    • Remote training may lack the personal interaction and networking opportunities that come with in-person sessions. Building relationships and fostering teamwork can be more challenging in a virtual environment. It is more difficult to get visual “cues” of the participants understanding and engagement than in-person training.
  • Distractions:
    • Remote training can be susceptible to distractions when in their home environments, which could impact their focus, engagement and understanding during training sessions. Easy to shut off video and/or sound to deal with interruptions or distractions.
  • Hands-On Application:
    • Some lean training activities may involve hands-on exercises or simulations that are more challenging to replicate in a virtual setting, limiting the practical experience participants gain.
  • Accountability:
    • It is more difficult to hold training participants accountable for completing assignments and/or applying learned practices. Translating the online training into application typically requires ongoing mentoring and coaching for accountability. This can be achieved with online mentoring/coaching but is more effective and timelier in-person.
  • Screen Fatigue:
    • Prolonged screen time can lead to fatigue and decreased attention spans. This can be a concern for longer training sessions.
  • Security:
    • Depending on the platform used, there may be security and privacy concerns, especially if sensitive organizational information or proprietary information is being discussed during the training.

What Do I Think?

Meetings and face-to-face interactions and experiences in offices and factories are now different than what they were prior to 2020. Implementing lean training using remote learning platforms like Zoom, Teams or other similar tools has become a widely accepted approach for lean training.  The effectiveness of lean training using remote learning platforms depends on factors such as the nature of the training, the technological infrastructure, and the participants’ needs. Remote and in-person training both have advantages and disadvantages so carefully consider the specific objectives of the training before choosing an appropriate approach.

Although my preference is in-person training, a well-designed and executed remote training program can leverage the advantages while mitigating the drawbacks. Remote training also requires a strong client partner for both execution and application. It can be a challenge for a trainer to promote engagement and to exhibit the enthusiasm and passion to build excitement and entertainment. Because of some of the challenges of remote training, not all in-person trainers are as effective at remote training so preparation and practice are paramount.