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If You Build It They Will Come

Designing a Distance Learning Methodology that Works

LiveOps was founded over 15 years ago as a pioneer in crowdsourcing large numbers of work-at-home contact center agents to provide services for our clients. This unique model required us to explore and develop best practices to provide award-winning distance learning to everyone regardless of their geographic location. Just as LiveOps was crowdsourcing before it was labeled crowdsourcing, the company was also offering opt-in distance learning to contact center agents before distance learning became the trend.

Every distance learning methodology should be backed by a sound learning management system that includes administration, documentation, delivery, tracking, and reporting. These basic tools are a given. How you use them to develop your distance learning methodology is an art.

Establishing a quality-based distance learning methodology for remote agents requires staying on top of new developments in the learning space, measuring results along the way, and making adjustments to fine tune the methodology. This approach is paramount to keeping it fresh and effective.

Distance Learning

Getting Started

It is not an easy task to transition contact center agents from the traditional classroom, where knowledge and job skills are transferred through face-to-face interactions, to a world where the agents are empowered to hone their skills and bolster their results through a finely crafted distance learning methodology. So we have created this list of tips to help you establish a distance learning methodology that will keep your agents empowered, motivated, and engaged.

  1. Make it flexible: Offering 24/7 self-paced access to learning content will go a long way with your agents.
  2. Make it variable: Offering a variety of content in different formats allows learners to self-select mediums that best match their learning style.
  3. Make it meaningful: Create true situational training simulations. These simulations should closely mimic “on-the-job” experiences, allowing for realistic practice before the agent ever talks to a live customer.
  4. Make it social:  Some learning styles require in-person or social learning and some agents just appreciate the opportunity for interaction. Implement community features where agents can collaborate and ask questions as needed.

Is it Worth the Effort?

When done right, distance learning can be powerful. After years of using a distance learning methodology, here are some of the trends and benefits we have experienced along the way:

  1. A distance learning program that includes self-paced curriculum in multiple formats, and situational learning repeatedly shows a learning seat time reduction of up to 60% with little to no loss of quality or learner speed-to-performance.   
  2. Distance learning modules also showed a 12% increase in self-selected training events. Giving control of when and how to increase skills empowers and motivates learners compared to the dry and time-consuming classroom training.
  3. Individuals who engage in a distance learning methodology that includes community features, where peer-to-peer learning offers an organic way to promote knowledge transfer, ultimately perform at higher levels.

Community Features Increase Participation

Adding community features to your distance learning methodology can be accomplish by utilizing off the shelf social technologies such as blogs, forums, and chat clients. This is more than a trendy way to train, it produces results. By taking this extra step, we experience the following benefits:

  • 84% of agents participated in social learning activities
  • Increased instances of community stewardship (peer-to-peer coaching and best practice sharing) as well as performance-driving competition
  • Recurring community activity, with 70% of agents returning and participating weekly

Measurement is Key

Of course none of these techniques are valuable unless you can measure a learner’s knowledge and skill gain. It is important to implement assessments in every module and event. Include both question-based assessments and situational assessments. This not only ensures you know where learners are at in the training process, but allows you to track knowledge transfer.

When considering a distance learning methodology for your business, make sure to clearly outline success metrics. What type of measurement is needed to ensure success? Is it simply having learners complete training? Or is there a defined measurement of knowledge transfer and demonstrated skills? If it’s the latter, well-written assessments and graded simulations are key.

Good luck and happy learning!

About LiveOps

LiveOps is a leader in specialized, scalable, and limitless inbound and outbound contact center solutions for insurance, health & human services, financial services, and retail clients. LiveOps’ unmatched scalable and on-demand community of agents is a perfect fit for any organization that experiences fluctuating call patterns. LiveOps award-winning distance learning and certification programs translate into better and faster results. For more about LiveOps and its award-winning distance learning and certification programs visit http://www.liveops.com/.