Expert online training has become quite popular in the enterprise. Since it offers quite a number of advantages at the fingertips, using this method to enhance skills and improve the chances for professional advancement, makes a lot of sense. However, once having started to walk down this road, there might be some difficulties along the way to reaching your training goals, making it not as easy as you first anticipated.
Here are five things about elearning, that you definitely don’t want to hear – and the best way to work around them.
1) Planning, planning, planning!
Good planning equals a successful course! You have to invest a lot of time working on not only the course itself, but also on the instructional design stage of the development process. It is, without a doubt, the most important part of it. This means defining your Learning Objects (questions, answers, other information you want to impart) and setting up a logical order into your course modules. Learning Object could be a multimedia element like video or audio or a question type. Simply the way how you want the information to come across. Next, comes the storyboard stage in which you define how the learning objects relate to each other as part of a larger narrative.
2) Technology can be a curse!
There are times, when you have developed the best video learning website, complete with an archive of materials to download and an online communication system, but your learners are just not able to use them, because they simply don’t know how. Basic expertise is an absolute must. If necessary, you need to invest some time and money into briefing your staff about your online course. Make them web-savvy and familiar with all the features on your website.
It can also be the technology itself, that messes up and puts a stop to it all. This is a risk that will always be there. However, it is one that you can minimise with just a bit of effort. For instance, use a fully customizable and scalable cloud-based learning management system to enhance data security, improve accessibility, lower your costs and have more storage space. It could happen, that your course authoring tool is unable to communicate with your LMS. This could mean that you have to change or upgrade either or both, as it could mean they are not being SCORM-compliant [SCORM is the standard that enables communication between the course and the Learning Management System (LMS) on which it is hosted].
You might need to involve a number of various products in your expert online training process. So, do your research and make sure that the software components are able to work together. If possible, find a vendor, that supports an all-in-one solution for your needs.
3) Ask for help, if you need it!
You want your staff to have expert online training, the best course possible! You want them to be able to use the limited amount of time they have to optimise their knowledge and skills. It can be hard to admit that you simply don’t have enough time or abilities to develop training that can offer all of that. That is the time to ask for help. An instructional designer can help you at all stages of the course building process, its design, publishing and of course the planning itself. Choose the right person! You have to be able to trust them and they have to provide you with their expert support at all times.
4) Online learning encourages procrastination and falling for distractions.
It’s a tough task to keep your learner’s attention on the course. A classroom offers the emphasis of quietness and discipline and comes with a structured time frame for the classes. However, taking a course online from the comfort of your home does not. It is on you, as a developer, to design the training style. It should be so engaging and valuable that it beats the natural tendency to procrastinate and makes falling for distractions difficult. Aim to secure your learner’s attention in order to produce the best results.
5) Developing expert online training is hard, creating just a bad course is easy.
You might train yourself, before you can train others. Even though it’s one of the most popular ones, don’t let Powerpoint be the only authoring tool in your course. There’s a number of other features that you can use, like different question types, embedding multimedia objects or branching. Be creative and smart. Educate yourself and step out of your own comfort zone before using just the simplest of tools, to make sure your online course will be a success right from the start.
Elearning can have all the advantages for your staff, if only you make sure to follow a few guidelines and keep an eye out for the stepping stones along the process of developing a course, that meets the learner’s needs and suits both you and the company.