Remote working is here to stay. Data from Global Workplace Analytics states that half of the workforce now holds a job that is compatible with partial telecommuting. On top of that, around 20-25% of the adult workforce already teleworks on a regular basis, and another 80-90% of the American workforce wants to work remotely on at least a part time basis.
The “five Cs” of learning design (commitment, career development, collaboration, connection, and camaraderie) need to be put to strategic use to meet the needs of remote learners, says Liz Sheffield, a training and development expert who writes for eLearning Brothers blog. She adds that eLearning designers are entering an exciting time when companies are creating more supportive environments that benefit a growing remote workforce.
Sheffield advises that when employees are connected and part of a community of other learners early on in their onboarding experience, they tend to stay with employers for much longer. She also says that making learners part of the process of collaborating on learning topics, sharing ideas and asking questions has a positive effect on outcomes.
Sheffield's article highlights some very important points in regards to developing e-learning content that engages an ever-expanding remote workforce. Since virtual workers are becoming the norm in many companies, the use of digital learning technology that's mobile friendly but also focused on individual career development makes good sense. Each person learns at his or her own pace, and this approach encourages remote workers to stay connected to not only their own learning, but being part of the community of other learners.
Technology that supports learning collaboration is everywhere. Employees can easily work on learning and work tasks using a number of free and low cost products designed to engage and inspire creativity and progress. The idea of building camaraderie is appealing too. It builds networks naturally through the learning process.