Remote Learning: Benefits of Distance Learning for Employees

What Is Remote Learning?

These days, the practical definition of remote learning is any formal learning opportunity aside from a traditional in-person classroom.

Historically, remote learning involved a physical separation between the learner and their instructor. That's why it was originally known as distance learning. Distance learning companies relied on textbooks and assignments mailed back and forth with a human instructor to do the grading.

Once the internet – especially mobile/wireless – came into the picture, non-traditional learning systems started being useful even when there wasn't a significant distance anymore. "Distance learning" stopped being the most appropriate label, and along came "remote learning" (though distance learning is still used interchangeably because old habits die hard).

"Remote" just means removed, disconnected, or by means of a network. "Network" is probably the key characteristic here since remote learning is almost always online. However, you could argue that the disconnection to a time or place (or instructor) is what defines modern remote learning. Meaning:

  • You could tune in at a scheduled time or study on demand
  • You can be in the same building as the "class" or on the other side of the world
  • You could be interacting with the instructor through video or studying the curriculum of someone who died years ago

Untethering the learning from the source of information – and all the freedom that comes from that – is an integral part of today's remote learning.

Distance learning and remote learning have something in common though – the terms don't apply to just any learning format. If you read an online article by yourself, you're learning and you're doing it remotely, but it's not remote learning any more than reading a book alone was "distance learning" thirty years ago.

What Counts as Remote Learning and Development?

Distance or remote learning is always managed and assessed in some way by an authority who is providing the information. The authority could be an employer, a school, or a remote learning company with some sort of bona fides.

Why is that important? The remote learning provider vets information on a topic and focuses on what's useful and relevant (not to mention true!). They organize the topic with the appropriate context and present it with a particular goal in mind – whether that's introducing learners to the topic, teaching practical applications, or preparing you to pass a credentialing test. Usually, the authority also sets up criteria for assessing what the audience has learned (but not always).

This still leaves a huge variety of learning formats under the umbrella of modern distance learning, including:

  • Video conferencing
  • Recorded lectures
  • Self-paced eLearning
  • Tutorials, video learning, and microlearning
  • Curated reading and other content

After receiving instruction through the methods above, students may then be assessed or participate via:

  • Quizzes and tests
  • Activities and practice exercises
  • Graded assignments
  • Discussion boards
  • Chat or email
  • Video or audio conference

Depending on the course's goals, instructors or learning providers may choose to mix, match, and choose multiple kinds of instruction and assessment methods.

Remote Learning Advantages

There are many benefits of remote learning, regardless of the audience.

But the advantages are especially clear for businesses that are trying to train and develop their employees.

Remote Learning is Convenient and Flexible

Traditional classroom learning for adults? Ain't nobody got time for that.

Remote learning and development make it easier for your employees to fit training in around the work they're really there for. All jobs have downtime, and on-demand remote learning allows them to make productive use of that time.

Adult learners will absorb the material better when they're not distracted by other obligations. For this reason, most topics can be tackled effectively with distance learning.

You should save the in-person training for the topics that really call for facetime.

Remote Learning is Efficient

When you use remote learning, you save everyone the time of commuting, gathering, setting up, and settling down. Small talk, off-topic questions, breaks that run long – none of these are problems in a distance learning environment.

Individuals get to learn at their own pace. Fast learners can complete the material at a clip and move on to other things, while others can take their time. In a classroom setting, there's a certain amount of frustration and wasted time to accommodate a middle-of-the-road pace. In distance learning, everyone gets what they need.

Remote learning is also cost-efficient. You save on meeting space, instructor's pay, supplies, equipment, and the opportunity costs of that wasted time.

If you're using custom remote learning, there can be a significant up-front investment, but many employers still save in the long run. And below, we'll talk about why custom remote learning courses aren't your only (or even your best) option.

Remote Learning Can Be Standardized & Automated

For good or for ill, traditional classroom learning is at the mercy of the instructor. The person in charge can affect the scope of the content, its accuracy, what's emphasized, and how well things are explained.

This can especially be a problem when you're talking about regulatory training. If you're trying to satisfy a legal obligation, you want to reduce the amount of variation in content and quality. One of the benefits of remote learning is that everyone has the exact same experience.

Remote learning can also be automated to an extent that saves tedious labor. You can schedule courses to ensure that everyone meets the required frequency for training. You can set up learning paths so that employees are encouraged to take the next step in their skills development.

Benefits of Using a Remote Learning Company

For many employers, purchasing courses from a remote learning company is the easiest and most cost-effective solution for learning and development. You get all the benefits of remote learning in general but gain additional efficiencies.

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train your employees

Remote learning companies can:

  • Leverage economies of scale to save you from shouldering course development costs
  • Create high-quality training by using subject matter experts and instructional designers you might not have at your disposal
  • Ensure you're meeting regulatory and accessibility requirements
  • Keep up with changing requirements and best practices so you don't have to

If you choose the right remote learning company (like us!), they can:

  • Secure regulatory approval for compliance courses
  • Give you access to a large catalog that covers a variety of training and development needs
  • Bring down costs even further with bulk discounts
  • Provide a platform for delivering courses and keeping track of your training efforts
  • Connect you with a dedicated account manager to help you meet your training goals

We can provide comprehensive training solutions for employers in a variety of industries, from finance to food and beverage to construction to industrial operations. Learn more about what we can do for you at 360training for Business and schedule a time to chat with one of our experts about your needs!

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