As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause uncertainty for businesses and organizations, employees are coming to grips with an unfamiliar work life. For many, the typical work day is punctuated with new challenges: time-outs for home schooling children; navigating the complexities of sharing a work space with a spouse or partner; ensuring the household’s basic needs are met.

The stress caused by health scares, employment anxiety, and, in many cases, added job responsibilities can leave even the most resilient employees feeling at their wits’ end.

As HR professionals begin to equip their people with the skills — both professional and emotional — required for this new environment, they’re increasingly relying on digital learning tools.

For the leadership development and training of these remote employees, not only are online courses and other digital solutions efficient; they are also necessary.

But getting a return from digital learning requires more than just a library full of content on the company intranet. Before jumping into any digital learning initiative, consider these 6 ways to maximize its effectiveness.

6 Strategies for Digital Learning Success

1. Embrace the “less is more” principle for online learning. Not many people have time to read all the ebooks in a digital library of 10,000 titles! Consider your employees’ unique needs and have them set clear goals around challenges they want to address.

What specific leadership skills do they need? Limit content based on needs and actual time available for learning and development.

2. Enlist support from the C-suite. Learning initiatives need the support of upper management to be effective. Make the business case to senior leadership that time spent on training now would lead to new skills that will make employees more efficient and effective in the long run, and then ask senior leaders to publicly support the training program.

For example, time spent learning a new software tool could lead to fewer hours dedicated to scheduling meetings and other busy work, freeing up time for more important responsibilities.

Infographic: 6 Recommendations for Successful Digital Learning Initiatives

3. Use learner-centered design. Would leaders benefit from a once-a- month online seminar? Or would a virtual lunch-and- learn program be more effective? Talent leaders must find ways to make learning initiatives a part of the routines and technology that employees already use.

4. Make leaders into teachers. Leadership concepts and behaviors should be reinforced in the workplace. Managers will need tools and support, though, to become effective teachers and coaches as they share what they’re learning.

5. Tap the power of learning partnerships. Effective learning doesn’t happen once. Lessons learned from a webinar or in an interactive session must be practiced and refined for managers to truly learn them.

Peer accountability partners can motivate learners to try out new behaviors. Coaches can provide feedback and advice as learners figure out how to apply new skills and ideas.

6. Remember to measure. Remember that what gets measured gets done. Measurement also provides data that can be used to refine and strengthen ongoing digital learning efforts. Metrics, including participation and outcomes, should be built in during the design of the learning initiative.

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