Several trends will likely emerge over the next three to five years, impacting businesses across all sectors. The most probable and impactful involves an accelerated transition to technology. With this shift, entire industries will experience a further widening of an already existing skills gap. Companies will face an unprecedented need to reskill their workforce, rendering most training strategies no longer effective. A new form of leadership will be required to make these changes successfully. It will also need to be integrated to practice at a shop floor level, where implementation and execution occur.
In this blog, we’re going to discuss the benefits of online development as an option for preparing middle managers and front-line supervisors for the challenges ahead. We’ve outlined five advantages to online supervisor training and learning and believe the timing has never been better for its consideration.
In every business sector, certain norms can be expected. For those in skilled trades or other labor-dependent industries, one given involves limited availability of supervisors for needed development. An undeniable advantage to online learning involves flexibility in scheduling. In many instances, online learning can be adapted to fit the availability of learning participants. When supervisors' availability is a barrier to needed development, the advantages of online learning are an important factor worthy of consideration.
In-person, chalk and talk training is labor-intensive. For those creating leadership skills programs in-house, instructional design and development takes time and requires subject matter experts' involvement. If resources are brought in from outside an organization, they can also become quite expensive, with hourly rates and travel-related expenses factored into the overall training cost. Not only does online learning offer a feasible alternative to onsite instruction, but it also provides a financial advantage for those wanting to get more bang for their buck. In our experience, we’ve found, on average, businesses save 20% or more when training is provided online instead of in-person.
Many organizations treat development opportunities as events. Employees are scheduled to attend training where they receive everything at once. While efficient, this approach isn’t effective for adults. Development is an ongoing journey and training should ideally be provided as a continuous process, reinforced and spread over time. Numerous online options exist for providing supervisors ongoing development in bite-sized chunks. While this isn’t always practical or feasible for in-person training, it is an important consideration for those interested in alternate training strategies available online.
Learning objectives associated with most training content are generalized for a wide range of audiences and seldom consider individual learners' unique needs. This, in part, helps explain why a 24x7 learning survey revealed that only 12% of learning in a traditional classroom setting finds its way to practice on the job. Ideally, development should be provided based on the needs and preferred learning styles of individual participants. This alignment, when created, consistently results in the best learning outcomes. For those tired of off-the-shelf programs or looking for better returns than canned options provide, customizable online training is well worth exploring.
Training for the purpose of providing information and understanding isn’t enough. For supervisors to succeed, they must have the ability to evaluate and analyze a wide range of circumstances uniquely inherent to their job. Equally as important, they must have the ability to apply learned skills in a manner that consistently delivers performance through others. The leadership skills required by supervisors today are more important than ever before. To effectively prepare front-line resources for the challenges ahead, organizations must seek enhanced skill development opportunities.
Additionally, instructional designers must provide higher-order learning experiences. Online resources make this attainable to most anyone. Quality content, designed for adult learners, has never been more accessible or convenient. This is especially important for smaller organizations with limited in-house training resources.
Whether or not online training will become the primary means of workforce development moving forward is anyone’s guess. The void that it can fill at this time for front-line resources is undeniable. For those looking to renew training strategies or take advantage of investments in technology, online learning provides a safe and effective alternative.
For more information about online supervisor training and learning or to better understand the services our organization provides, contact us at AEU LEAD.