Interactions are the thing that can take a good online training course and make it great. However, getting your online training course to the point where it provides a great learning experience can be a perilous one thats fraught with disappointment and frustration.
If you think your courses are fine then you might be asking yourself….
Why Does My Online Training Need To Be Interactive?
The simple answer is that you dont need any interactivity at all. However, with that answer comes some caveats. Firstly, youre putting the burden of knowledge-retention on the learners. A presentation-style course does get the information across but makes it more difficult for the learners to utilize the knowledge upon completion and in the months and years to come. By creating a course that allows your learners to solve problems rather than recite back facts, all parties benefit.
There will always be someone measuring success
Another thing to keep in mind that there will always be someone measuring success. That could be you or it could be your client. If its you, you may see a loss of clientele because youre not able to deliver results you promised. If its your client measuring results, they may come back to you and ask, Why arent the employees properly trained?. The trail of responsibility ultimately leads back to you.
From a learner perspective, interactive courses are simply more engaging and fun to take than the ones they usually take. The hardest goal of a trainer is to have learners at rapt attention. If you dont have that then its an uphill battle all the way.
The next big question is….
What Makes Up Interactive Online Training?
One of the key components of interactive online training is decision-making. Decision making moves past the rote knowledge that the majority of courses ask us. It allows us to make a logical distinction between the right and wrong answer.
Decision-making is one of the components that make up our Make The Sale course demo. In this course your goal is to examine the needs of a customer by asking relevant questions and provide the proper vacation package based on their implied needs. Each question that you ask gives you the insight into the next relevant question to ask. If you ask too many irrelevant questions the customer becomes frustrated and you lose the sale.
Based on the information that you gather, you then decide on the best package for them.
Scenarios are another effective way at creating interaction within online training. They draw the learner in and really up the stakes from simply getting a large red X after giving an incorrect answer. In the learner is engaged enough in a course, theyll do more than sigh and move on. They seek answers as to what could be done differently.
The scenario created in our How To Motivate Your Employees course demo puts you in the position where if you choose incorrectly, youll end up disappointing the employee in the course. To prove its effectiveness, Ive taken the demo several times and quite frankly failed more times than I feel comfortable admitting. Something kept me coming back though. It was that I had an emotional stake in the content. As a result, I came back, paid more attention and successfully finished the demo. The end result was the knowledge is more ingrained than had it simply been a few multiple choice questions.
The inspiration for interactive online training can come from the most unlikely of places. The incorporation of gaming elements like timers, scoring, and leaderboards really up the ante when it comes to creating great courses.
The Process Management course demo puts you in the position of someone who has survived a crash in a small airplane and needs to find their way to a destination to get help. Further complicating things is that there is a finite time limit before you need to reach the goal and be rescued. Its a harrowing example that really gets your blood pumping. The gamification elements promote challenge and the public score at the end promotes healthy competition. For what its worth, Im the office champion having finished successfully after three tries.
With examples like these youll soon be asking yourself…..
How Do I Create Interactive Training?
There are two vital components to creating interactive online training; a plan and the tools to implement it. The plans consist of several documents used by online training developers including the Instructional Design document and the Storyboard document.
The purpose of the Instructional Design document is to take the knowledge you wish to impart and arrange them into logical components called Learning Objects. Learning Objects are a collection of content items, practice items, and assessment items that are combined based on a single learning objective. One key component to the Learning Object is the Learning Strategy. The Learning Strategy is how you wish to get the knowledge across; whether that be a question, text, multimedia.
The next important part on developing an interactive online course is having the course authoring tool that can help create it. A course developer will have access to the tools needed to create your course. These tools allow them to easily build a branching simulation that bring to life the Storyboard and Instructional Design documents.
In order to create an online training course that your clients and learners will love, there are several best practices that need to be considered.
Your course has to be relevant. Its interactions need to align with the goal of the course. Interactions arent there so much for the wow factor but to facilitate greater learning. As mentioned earlier, the end result of any online course should be for the learner to solve problems based on the knowledge in the course, not to simply recite back the information. Part of the way that this is accomplished is through the use of meaningful feedback. A learner should know more than they answered incorrectly; they should know why and be provided with insight that will allow them to successfully answer in the future.
While the thought of an online course may seem complex, there are ways to make it overly complex if you lose focus of what you main objective is. The creation of the Instructional Design document helps to bring focus and makes sure that your training stays on course.
Lastly, make sure that your course has an elegant interface; a learner should never have to spend more time looking where to click than they would learning. This is frustrating for the learner and could ultimately skew the results.
The best thing about interactive online training is that it puts the learners first. By doing so, youll get the results you need and will have clients who are wanting more of your courses because their employees like them and train them effectively.