Traditional face-to-face training, where all your learners are in one room receiving the same training at the same time, is becoming a less and less feasible option for most organisations so many are turning to online training to provide learning experiences for their employees. In this post, we explore the why and the how!

In the near future, 48% of employees are expected to work remotely at least part time – a rise of almost 20% compared to pre-COVID figures. Increased remote and flexible working is now something many employees expect as standard, and in-person training may not be the most effective way to train a hybrid workforce. Even if, tempted by water cooler chats and decent coffee, your workforce is returning to the office in significant numbers, it might be wise to resist reverting back to standard classroom training. Migrating some of your existing training online has clear benefits; it makes sure that all your employees have equal access to training, it ensures that each employee has a consistent learning experience, and it’s available on-demand to fit into busy schedules. On top of this, almost a third of organizations are replacing full-time employees with contingent workers to help them have a more flexible workforce.(1) If your organisation is doing the same, you’ll soon be seeing an increased need for on-demand onboarding and training, getting people up to speed quickly so they can start contributing as soon as possible. This could be why virtual onboarding was one of the top 3 areas of focus for Learning & Development in 2021.(2)

If you do decide to make the leap and migrate in-person instructor lead training (ILT) online, you won’t be alone. According to the 2021 LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report, the move away from ILT (typically the most expensive item in an L&D budget) towards online learning was already well underway before the pandemic hit.(2)

So that’s the why – but how do you do it? How do you shift existing content online? And how can you make sure that you’re building your online training on solid ground? There are a few options available to you depending on your budget and the availability of your subject matter experts (SMEs).

The pop-up tent

This is a cheap(ish) and cheerful approach for when you need to get on-demand training online quickly and don’t have much budget to play with.

How’s it made?

Simply record your existing face-to-face training and create a set of videos that learners can access ‘on-demand’. These videos can be hosted on an internal SharePoint site, private YouTube playlist or loaded into an Articulate Rise course on your organisation’s LMS. You can also record live online training sessions (e.g., via Zoom or Teams) and upload those videos for learners to access on-demand later.

Tempting though it might be, please don’t just upload the raw recording. That would be less pop-up tent, more… piece of tarp thrown over a branch. Your learners deserve a little more effort! Edit the videos, cutting out any chit chat or irrelevant content, and split longer sessions into bite sized pieces (5 – 10 minutes) to create easily digestible microlearning. As people tend to have less time for training now than in the past – small chunks of content are easier to fit into a busy schedule or quickly access on the job. You might also want to add title and end slides to make the videos look neat and professional.

Pros:

  • If you’re a dab hand at video editing this option is quick and cheap.
  • No extra time commitment is needed from SMEs.

Cons:

  • Activities that are often a core part of instructor-led training (such as discussions, group activities or practising a practical skill) are less or not accessible to learners in the video format.
  • Lack of interactivity can decrease engagement and knowledge retention.
  • Audio and visual quality can be hit and miss when recording live sessions.
  • Design can be inconsistent and unprofessional if multiple SMEs create their own training materials (e.g., dodgy PowerPoint slides!).
  • Difficult to update in the future.

Glamping

This approach primarily leverages existing material but has bespoke touches such as basic interactivity and design consistency. Think of it like glamping, sure you ‘re still sleeping under canvas, but you do have a comfortable bed and cute fairy lights!

How’s it made?

Repurpose the content from existing in-person training materials like presentations, workbooks, or recordings to create a piece of online training. This content can be repackaged in a number of different ways – videos, on the job aids, text-based resources, PDFs etc. Your subject matter experts will need to review the content in its new format but won’t need to develop any original content. As you’re reworking the content, you can have voiceover professionally recorded, create new visuals and ensure graphic design is consistent across all the assets. You can also add basic knowledge checks, like multiple choice questions, to help learners retain information. Read more about why interactions are important in eLearning.

You may need to work with eLearning experts who are proficient in instructional design and using common authoring tools to help to transfer the content. Who could that be? (Spoiler alert – it’s BrightCarbon!)

Pros

  • Design consistency.
  • High quality audio and visuals.
  • Increased knowledge retention.
  • Minimal input from SMEs.
  • Can be built so the training is easier to update.

Cons

  • Slightly more costly, longer process than previous approach.
  • No complex interactions or scenarios – only assessing learners at a basic level.

The luxury lodge

The final approach to moving your ILT online is to develop a stable structure built to last. With the first two approaches, you simply take it at face value that your current ILT meets your business needs. And maybe it does. But this move to online training is an opportunity to re-evaluate what your organisation needs and ensure your training aligns. When you’re building a luxury lodge, you start from scratch, developing an original course structure and new course content to create a completely bespoke eLearning experience. If you have a hybrid work force, you can play to that as a strength. Learning can happen outside the office, with mentorship session or workshops happening in-person when the whole team is in.

How’s it made?

First, you’ll need to consult with instructional designers to help identify the business need, craft learning objectives, choose the right medium, and plan the training journey. They’ll then work with your SMEs to gather and structure the content before equipping your training with dynamic visuals and bespoke interactions.

Pros

  • Tailored to current business needs with an eye to the future – not rehashing what you needed when the face-to-face training was created.
  • Ensures content is well suited to the online format.
  • Option for full tracking and assessments, providing insights into completion rates and pass rates.
  • Can include personalisation and customization for different types of learners.
  • Learners can engage with content at a higher level than previous approaches due to more complex interactions e.g., scenarios, personalisation, gamification.
  • Can be incorporated into a blended learning curriculum. Digital resources (videos, PDFs, questionnaires etc.) can be used to equip learners before in-persons workshops or mentorship meetings so these sessions can be more efficient and effective.

Cons

  • More time required from SMEs and the team involved.
  • More costly, longer process.
  • Could look different to your other training materials if they were not developed by training experts.

 

Whatever approach you’re thinking of taking, our eLearning experts can help. We’ve got a range of services to fit your needs, whether you want to give an existing training a refresh or create something spectacular from scratch. Get in touch to talk about your plans for moving in-person training online!

 

  1. 9 Future of Work Trends Post-COVID-19
  2. LinkedIn 2021 Workplace Learning Report
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Written by

Olivia Kippax Jones

Senior consultant

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