November 4, 2019
Deciding to change your corporate training program to one based in eLearning isn’t an easy decision. It’s also not a small investment. It can be even harder to decide to make that investment when you’ve already spent time and money creating effective instructor-led training (ILT).
While the investment may seem high, you can’t argue against the increased effectiveness of eLearning when compared to ILT. In 2015, 72% of organizations believed that using eLearning for their training gave them an advantage over their competitors:
- eLearning takes less time from the employee – sometimes up to 60% less – when compared to ILT.
- Employees can choose their own timeframe, and accessing eLearning modules during downtime has less negative effects on productivity.
- eLearning increases information retention by employees.
- Employees can access training materials after the initial training period for refreshers or for reference.
eLearning is clearly an upgrade over ILT. Deciding to switch to eLearning doesn’t mean you simply throw away your ILT and start over – you simply convert your ILT course into an eLearning course. Here are 3 tips to help upgrade your training.
Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
It’s very rare these days for ILT courses to be completely free of digital content. If your instructor hooks up a projector or shares a screen, there’s content ripe for harvesting – but, you can’t harvest blindly.
Analyze and Reuse Existing ILT Content
Whatever form the ILT content is in, it could potentially be reused. PowerPoint slides, videos, scenarios, tests, and quizzes can all be repurposed into eLearning content. These materials don’t have to be used in their current format (and probably shouldn’t be, as we’ll discuss in a moment), but may simply offer more understanding in alignment with the goals of the eLearning course.
First analyze the content to determine its usefulness. Then organize the content from simple to complex. You’ll want to ease those taking your eLearning course into it. They won’t have an instructor to clarify things if they are lost, so start simple before hitting them with the big stuff.
Don’t Port over Content As-Is
Reusing content does not mean loading your PowerPoint presentation into your learning management software (LMS) and calling it a day. Studies have shown that strategy simply doesn’t work.
The facts are, PowerPoint slides are visually nice to look at, and as used in ILT are overtly designed visual cues for the instructor. Slides often only contain headlines, expecting the instructor to fill in the blanks for the learners, and assume classroom time for learners to ask questions is available. When you remove the instructor, the content is incomplete and often confusing.
Use the Tools Available
There’s nothing like sitting down and excitedly watching a DIY video on YouTube. You’ve seen something in the screen grab that you simply can’t live without. Chances are that the title indicates the DIY is simple and easy to do. Inevitably, you get five minutes into the video when you realize that it’s “simple” because the person in the video has a plethora of tools at their disposal – most of which you’ve never heard of.
Everything is easier when you have the right tools and know how to use them – which brings us to choosing the right LMS. Here’s how to do it.
Choose the Right LMS
There are many LMS’s out there and it can be hard to choose the right one. Depending on the staff you have in-house, the level of your developers, and the path you want to take with your eLearning project, the perfect LMS can be elusive. There are 3 things you need to consider when choosing your LMS.
1. Determine Your Goal
While this may seem simple (for example, teach your employees), there are some key questions you need to answer:
- How many users will there be?
- Are you going to host this content internally?
- What type of content will you be hosting or creating?
2. Determine Your Budget
LMS suites run the gamut, from free-to-use to expensive full-service solutions. Assigning a price point to your LMS search may feel restrictive, but it will help trim the options in an otherwise flooded result set. You may realize that your budget will allow you to use a third party eLearning solution for your needs.
3. Determine the Required Features/Skills
All LMS have similarities, but you need to focus on the differences. You also need to consider the skill sets required to use the LMS you choose. Giving the keys to the teacher sounds great until you realize they can’t drive a stick. Consider the following questions carefully:
- What features do you require for your eLearning project?
- Do you require a responsive solution?
- Do you need to be able to create and edit videos within your modules?
- Will you be porting over PowerPoints?
- Do the users need to be software developers, able to edit module code when necessary?
Choosing the right LMS will ensure that you’re able to hit the ground running when you’re ready to start.
Keep it Engaging
Ask any student of any age who their favorite teacher is, and why. There’s a pretty high chance their answer will be the teacher that was able to make the material fun and interesting. eLearning is no different.
ILT wins or loses based on the instructor. If they’re boisterous and full of energy, they’ll be able to drag even the most reluctant learner through the material with a smile on their face. When you cut the instructor out, the content itself must engage the learner.
Luckily, eLearning has evolved to include some of the most engaging multimedia options available. When you determine your strategy, consider how the different sections could be ported over to these formats. Engage learners by gamifying your content with VR. Use well-written scenarios and stories to keep them entertained while teaching them.
A successful eLearning course consists of the right mix of engaging content. Your employees will not only engage with the content, but they’ll also learn faster, and get back to work quicker, minimizing the impact on productivity.
There is no cut and dry set of instructions to get you from where you are now with your ILT, to a successful eLearning project. Every conversion is unique.
It’s clear that eLearning is not simply a passing fad, and that the benefits are good enough that it’s worth the effort to upgrade your training by converting. With this guide, you’ll be able to get started down the right path.