The dos and don’ts of remote training

Dos and don'ts of remote training: illustration of person training via laptop with checkmark and "x" icons above her head

When life gets turned upside down, it often presents an opportunity to reframe our thinking or establish new (and maybe, better) habits around some of our business practices.

So let’s talk about the changing classroom: while learners of all ages are going back to school in person, when it comes to work, remote training is here to stay. We think that’s a great opportunity to improve your approach to training⎯ensuring that you own your business, instead of your business owning you.

At Ruby, our receptionists complete 35 hours of training before ever taking a call, so we’ve gathered a few dos and don’ts along the way to help you plan your own remote training.

Table of contents

Do have an objective.

Writing an objective takes a bit of practice, but it’s a great habit that will help structure your training. Objective statements should be clear and measurable, explaining what specific skills or knowledge individuals will gain from a training session.

You can start an objective statement this way: “By the end of this training, participants will be able to…”

Then, use action verbs to describe exactly what your trainees will learn, or what skills or behaviors they will master. Here are just a few of those verbs:











The objective statements should look something like this:

(Check out this blog post from The Bob Pike Group for more in-depth instruction on writing training objectives.)

Do make sure your agenda aligns with your objective, and forecast!

It sounds super simple, but how many times have you attended a meeting that veered way off course? As you map out your training session, think of your objective statement as a compass.

Providing the objective and the schedule in advance to your trainees, and forecasting the agenda verbally at the beginning of (and throughout) the session keeps everyone aligned. Doing so can also help you bring the training back into focus when you feel the conversation shifting away from the objective. It can be as easy as saying, “Hey everyone, our goal is to ensure you are able to format and send an email by the end of this session, so let’s circle back to the agenda I provided.”

Do use a variety of training formats.

Using different training formats helps you both connect with different learning personalities and avoid the collective fatigue that can happen when you utilize only one type.

Not all training has to be live with you or another person on your team leading the session. Consider incorporating some other ways of training, like:

  • Providing opportunities for trainees to reflect on their learning through a writing exercise.
  • Assigning a project so trainees have the opportunity to work on a new skill.
  • Using audio-only training so your trainees can listen on the go.
  • Hosting a discussion, and letting yourself get a little uncomfortable if there’s silence as your trainees find their voice.

Do make your training remote-friendly.

In an ideal world, everyone on your team would attend your training sessions in their private home offices without distractions and at the designated time. But realistically, remote training looks different for everyone.

Consider offering your trainees multiple ways to complete their training session, which can incorporate different training formats. For example, you might be able to provide opportunities for written reflection to those who can’t attend a live training session.

Do incorporate learning into your company culture.

A company that values learning carves out time for ongoing training. At Ruby, new team members are given additional time every week to complete relevant courses or review past content, in addition to one-on-one coaching each week for eight weeks after the initial training.

Earmarking time for yourself to learn is a great practice, too. Check out our small business hub for more ways to boost employee morale and retain great employees. 

Don’t lose track of time.

Time is our most valuable asset. Map out how long each segment of training should take and be faithful to the time you allocate for training. Going into overtime or losing control of the training agenda can lower morale and make your training less effective.

Don’t stop there! Evaluate the effectiveness of your training.

A strong feedback loop around training improves what you do (and supports that learning culture!). Taking your training remote is a great time to assess what you’re doing and make it better.

There are a few ways to do this, either by conducting one-on-one coaching sessions, providing post-training assessments to check for understanding, or by sending out a survey.

To put it in terms of the classroom, the math is simple: the time you put in to establish a culture of learning pays off in the long run. For more insights into the evolving nature of training, check out Retain, train, and engage: HR practices now with Courtney Moss, and visit our small business hub for even more resources on going remote.