The Linux Foundation has been a 100% remote workforce for many years, so we are lucky to be in the position where the COVID-19 pandemic has not impacted our ability to deliver training and certification solutions. As a non-profit organization, our mission has always been to provide high quality, affordable programs to those who want and need them.
To help other workers working remotely stay up to speed we have nearly two dozen completely free training courses that are always available.
The way people work has changed. In the wake of the information revolution and widespread adoption of cloud technologies, workers in countless professions can complete their tasks each day from anywhere. It’s not necessary for everyone to be in the office at their desk from 9-5 each day, which has led many companies to offer flexible work arrangements, or even more wholly to allowing – or insisting on – full-time work from home.
This trend towards remote work – which was occurring organically and now accelerated due to the pandemic – affects all aspects of a business, from IT departments to human resources. Learning and development are no exception.
For most enterprises, learning and development traditionally involved in-person courses, where an instructor would spend hours or days onsite at a company worksite, providing the training employees required. Or, employees may be sent to a training center to complete a course. Either way, managers are assured that employees will be focused on their training as they are in a live classroom environment, engaging with the instructor and other students.
In a world where teams are distributed around the country, if not the world, it becomes difficult and expensive to conduct all training in person. In addition to the instructor and materials fees, you have to account for travel expenses and the time employees will not be working both for travel and participation in the course. This is time consuming and cost prohibitive enough in normal times, but essentially impossible during periods of travel bans.
Thankfully, the same technology enabling distributed work to begin with also is making it easier for teams to keep their tech skills up to date from anywhere. Modern training delivery and testing methods, including self-paced eLearning, instructor-led virtual courses and remotely proctored exams, mean anyone with a computer and stable internet connection can participate in training and certification activities from the comfort of their own home or remote work location.
For employers who worry about ensuring employees get as much as possible out of a training investment, instructor-led courses help ensure engagement and interaction. These courses are conducted live via webcam, and enable students to ask questions of the instructor as well as participate in live labs and workshops where instructors can give instant feedback.
Self-paced courses are a better fit for some, as they typically require less of a time commitment in one sitting. Students can complete modules at their own pace when it is most convenient with other work priorities. These courses are typically less expensive than instructor-led ones as well, which can make L&D budgets stretch further.
Traditionally, certification exams required students to appear in person at a testing center in order to verify their identity and take the exam in a monitored, controlled environment. Techniques available today enable this to be done from home, using a webcam and live, remote proctor who can check identification and watch the exam taker electronically to ensure compliance with exam requirements. Exam takers don’t have to travel to testing centers, which for some may be hours away, and can take exams from the comfort and safety of their own homes or workplaces, reducing the time and stress required.
Demand for open source talent is strong, but there’s a gap between available opportunities and the number of professionals qualified to fill open positions. Employers need to consider revising their playbooks to ensure they have access to adequate talent to meet business needs, keep existing teams updated on the latest technology, and provide opportunities for continuous growth and advancement.