Training is a huge part in onboarding new employees, especially within the manufacturing and industrial industries. Proper training on how to handle hazardous materials and heavy machinery is vital to keeping workers safe in these heavily regulated work environments.
While the industrial industry thrives with in-persson training, remote training has become the de facto training method out of necessity and convenience. In this article, we share some key differences between in-person training and remote training and why remote training comes with its own set of best practices.
What is remote training and how does it help?
Remote training is often synonymous with distance learning. It describes the physical separation between the trainer (also instructor or mentor) and the trainee. Training sessions can be carried out through online courses, webinars, podcasts, voice or video calls and other e-learning technologies.
Remote training advantages include:
- Allowing trainers to train more people at once
- Allowing trainers to train people at multiple locations
- Decreasing absenteeism
One of the biggest advantages is its flexibility. The pandemic response of travel restrictions and social distancing has allowed organizations to continue to onboard or train their employees. If remote training was used sparingly or only to augment in-person training, the pandemic has forced organizations to use remote training as their main method of knowledge sharing.
Remote training best practices
Not all training methods are created equal. And what works for in-person training, may not necessarily work for remote training. Kristen Naeini, Director of Training at RealWear, shares the three tips she keeps in mind when training customers remotely on how to use their new HMT devices.
1. Remote training will be different from in-person training
In-person training strategies don’t always work for remote training.
“Training methods that are created for face-to-face might have to be reworked for remote,” says Naeini.
One of the activities Naeini likes to use for in-person sessions is having customers use the HMT device in a scavenger hunt around the worksite. Creative modifications can help. During the pandemic, new customers are asked to use the HMT to take and share pictures of common household items.
Also, virtual engagement is completely different from in-person engagement. With people working — and training — from home, Naeini thinks it’s important to set a more casual tone to better connect with people on the call.
“People don’t like to be on video, and they’re used to muting themselves on webinars or if they’re in video conferences,” says Naeini. “But it’s important to get people to open up on these remote calls so they’re engaged. There’s no need to wear a suit or wear make up. I like to tell them that we’re just here and sharing together.”
2. Don’t rely on demos or pre-recorded training videos.
Naeini strongly supports experiential learning to teach customers how to use the RealWear HMT devices. In short, experiential learning is learning by doing and reflecting on that experience.
“If we want to teach someone how to make a video call on the HMT-1, we can give a demo,” says Naeini. “I can preload the HMT by installing Microsoft Teams, signing in and creating a list of sample contacts. I can give that demo all day long.”
But will customers be able to replicate that by themselves once they’re on their own? Usually not, says Naeini.
Instead, Naeini creates goal-oriented learning experiences. In the case of making a video call, she guides customers through the entire experience step-by-step by helping them answer the following questions:
- How do you get the app on the HMT?
- How do you login to the app?
- How do you get on wifi?
- How do you load your contacts?
“We’ll then go through all the app’s menus and features and then get on a call together,” says Naeini. “We’ll transfer the training call from the computer to completing the training call on the HMT device. This makes it replicable. Customers can use the repetition of learning it and doing it to know exactly what to do when I’m no longer around to hold their hand.”
While experiential learning does take more time and effort, Naeini has found that knowledge retention is stronger.
3. Slow down
According to Naeini, trying to learn too much and too quickly is a common challenge. Training in general is a major time commitment.
“A lot of people don’t know what to expect with virtual training,” says Naeini. “They don’t know if it’s worth sitting through a two-hour session. New customers would ask to do a three-day course in one day or 10 sessions back to back. I have to push back, because it takes time to absorb information and practice what they’ve learned.”
Creating a manageable training timeline is important, and it’s consistent with the experiential learning approach. A smaller volume of new information at a time allows trainees to reflect on what they learned, which in turn, helps them retain the material.
Remote training with the RealWear HMT devices
Experienced supervision is crucial to frontline or manufacturing work. RealWear HMT devices are perfect for facilitating remote training in industrial settings or when social distancing is required:
- Hands-free operation: The RealWear HMT devices are wearable computers that are controlled entirely by voice commands. This allows workers to better manage their safety or use both hands to operate equipment or tools — which is often required in an industrial environment.
- Real-time communication: As long as they can connect to wifi, the LTE network, or a hotspot phone, remote workers can engage with their trainers in real time.
- Accurate communication: Cameras enable trainers to see images and videos from the remote worker’s perspective. Trainers can also present or cast their screens onto the remote worker’s micro-display. This way, information is communicated clearly and more accurately.
Combining the RealWear HMT technology with Kristen Naeini’s remote training tips, industrial workers can be remotely trained effectively and safely.
Learn more about how RealWear technology can improve safety on the factory floor with remote training.