By Nicholas Wyman, CEO IWSI America

Since the March 2020 outbreak of COVID-19 in the United States, countless companies have expanded telecommuting and remote working situations (many for the first time), relying on IT networks and tools such as Zoom and Slack. Practically overnight, necessity has demanded that our work processes adapt to this new distributed work model.

It is still an open question when or if office life will go back to the way it was. As COVID-19 continues to change the way we live, work, and learn, one thing is clear: many of these sudden adaptations are likely to become permanent features.

Our organizational cultures, as well as our training and onboarding systems, must also adapt.

Now is the time for companies to invest in remote training and onboarding systems that are designed to get through the current crisis and well beyond it.

Here are three ways to get started today.

Implement Mobile Microlearning

Integrate a mobile learning platform like EdApp into training and onboarding processes. EdApp is a microlearning, mobile-first platform with over 50,000 top-quality lessons, contributed by experts on a broad range of subjects. It is designed to help companies of all sizes train and educate staff, using high-quality expert content delivered in bite-sized, targeted lessons for optimal knowledge retention.

With EdApp, you can even customize lessons to meet the unique training needs of your business or organization. Their content library is edit-able, so you can select lessons and re-brand them as necessary, as well as upload your own content.

Implementing remote training and onboarding systems doesn’t mean starting from scratch. In fact, companies can use their existing body of expertise and knowledge to contribute to the greater good.

EdApp recently launched the Educate All Initiative in partnership with the United Nations Institute for Training and Research (UNITAR). Their aim is to make quality education and upskilling opportunities available for free on a global scale. They’ve issued a call to action to experts who can contribute courseware designed to enhance users’ technology skills, as well as corporate training content on human resource development and other topics aligned to the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. In exchange, contributors gain free, permanent access to the course library.

As Darren Winterford, founder and CEO of EdApp, points out, “When traditional face to face opportunities for learning are being canceled or postponed, remote and mobile learning platforms can keep education accessible and effective. Digital access to high-quality educational coursework is even more vital now during this uncertain period.”

Focus on Remote Upskilling

We’re undergoing an economic transformation which will continue to demand revamped, adapted or new skills. Forward-thinking employers will make learning new skills a priority for their teams, including tech and digital as well as soft skills.

New technology is eliminating a certain class of jobs – those that consist of repetitive tasks or processes. At the same time, it’s creating another class of jobs. In addition to gaining strong tech and digital skills, modern workers need to be tinkerers and problem-solvers. They need to know how to ask questions, when and how to get help, how to work in teams, and how to communicate effectively both in-person and virtually.

In short, they need to have a broad, agile set of skills, and the resources to continually upgrade them. What’s the best way to ensure this? Integrate skill-building and training into the workplace culture from day one.

Empower staff to take part in online education and enhance their skills using the bevy of remote learning opportunities that are available.

Online courses allow anyone to reboot, boost or enhance their skill set—cheaply, easily, anytime, anywhere. Online learning makes it convenient and affordable to learn something practical and new—from home. Many colleges and universities offer massive open online courses (MOOCs) that are available to everyone, everywhere on the planet. Look for MOOCs at Coursera and EdX. Consider providing incentives for employees to upskill at home during downtime.

Explore Virtual Modern Apprenticeships

Today’s business and industry leaders need to embrace training and keep their eyes on the long-term. This means helping to build a pipeline of talent with the necessary skills.

It’s particularly urgent to open up education and training opportunities to a much greater share of the population. One powerful way to do this is through modern apprenticeship. When I say modern apprenticeship, I mean a system that goes beyond the traditional trades and branches out to all sectors, including finance, healthcare, tech, hospitality, and green sciences.

Pretty much any expanding business sector can use modern apprenticeship to get the skilled workforce it needs. And better yet, we can do this right away because many apprenticeships can be undertaken virtually using remote learning platforms. Among the occupations in which virtual apprenticeships have worked well are medical coding, medical transcription, pharmacy techs, cyber technicians, software development and even insurance sales brokers.

The future of work holds many opportunities for those willing to learn and change – it’s about adaptability and flexibility and resilience: the ‘zeal’ for continual learning.

Now is the time to invest in remote training and upskilling to create a workforce agile enough to play a crucial role in our economy as we know it today, and how it pans out post-crisis. Either way, employers and our country will benefit from having a workforce with enhanced skills.

About Nicholas Wyman

Nicholas Wyman is a future work expert, author, speaker and President of the Institute for Workplace Skills and Innovation. He has been LinkedIn’s #1 Education Writer of the Year, too, and written an award-winning book, Job U, a practical guide to finding wealth and success by developing the skills companies actually need. Nicholas has an MBA and has studied at Harvard Business School and the Kennedy School of Government and was awarded a Churchill Fellowship.

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