Updated: Mar 15
Whether you own a small business or run a training, human resources, other another department at a mid-sized or large company, you have probably come to realize how important it is to train and educate your employees. It can, however, be difficult to fit training, not matter how valuable into everyone’s busy schedule. There might also be confusion and concern in determining the value and feasibility of hiring someone to conduct classroom-based training for all of your employees at once.
In recent years, online training (often referred to as “eLearning”) has emerged as a cornerstone for many companies that are looking to raise the knowledge and skill levels of their employees. Online training is the sharing of knowledge using Internet technologies. Online training activities, both course development and actual learning activities, can be conducted from anywhere in the world and delivered to targeted audiences who need to (or choose to) learn a particular subject in order to enhance their skills levels and/or meet specific job requirements. Professionals who have developed specialized knowledge in a particular field often choose to teach and train students who want to take online classes. Content in the form of PDFs, Word documents, video tutorials, and other media are delivered to students in a logical progression. The result is an online training course that may be a stand-alone offering or may be a component of a larger training program.
The Benefits of Online Training Courses
If you are considering the development of online training courses for your organization, some of the benefits you can expect include:
The use of online training courses reduces (or even eliminates) many costs that tend to be associated with classroom-based training. The need for travel, securing venue space, catering meals, and distributing printed learning materials are not required when training if offered online. Also, the costs associated with updating training materials is much lower with online training than with in-person, classroom-based training programs. Given all of this, companies tend to see a more immediate and more powerful ROI through the use of online training.
Unlike classroom-based training, online training courses can be taken anytime, anywhere. All that is required is an Internet connection. In the corporate world, this means that employees might time during coffee or lunch breaks or conduct their training activities after hours. Given this, online training eliminates problems associated with lost productivity as employees can do their online course work without compromising their job duties.
Online training platforms often include communication and collaboration tools to help drive learning and training efforts. Students, instructors, and administrators can leverage these tools to build a sense of community and support among participants.
One of the greatest values of online training is in the ability to capture and analyze data quickly and easily. The review of this information can help administrators and instructors understand how well students are progressing and engaging in the learning program. These insights can be very helpful as you work to revise and improve your online courses over time.
Five Steps for Developing Online Training Courses
Until relatively recently, creating an online training course for your employees, customers, and channel partners would require an assortment of experts from information technology, software development and instructional design. Today’s tools, however, have simplified and streamlined this work. While all the same steps may still be required, including content development, project management and pilot testing, new technologies and tools have made this a much less daunting task.
As you plan your work to develop online training courses for your employees, here are five steps to consider:
Define Your Audience and Training Goals
A critical component of your initial planning is gaining a thorough understanding of your learners. You need to consider such things as demographics, learning style, the types of media they would (and would not) respond well to, and what they would benefit from learning.
You can then define the learning objectives of your first online course and determine whether this will be a stand-alone course or whether it will be part of a larger learning objective and program. If the first course you have in mind requires some knowledge or skill prerequisites, you might consider building your first course around that initial base-level knowledge requirement and moving learners chronologically through your classes.
Build an Outline for Your Course
Once you have identified the learning objectives of your first online course, you can begin to create an outline, which can be a simple exercise, like creating a bulleted outline, or as detailed as creating a storyboard. As you build your outline, make sure the content is consistent with the learning objectives you established as a first step. In some cases, a topical outline may be enough to share the course curriculum with the team before actually producing course content. In other cases, you may believe that a detailed storyboard is required.
Build Your Course Content
Most of the work you will do is in this step- creating the required content for your course. But this process doesn’t have to be greatly time-consuming. A good place to start is in exploring any content you already have developed and available to you. This can include PowerPoint presentations, PFDs, or video trainings, support articles, and more. Organize the content in a cohesive manner and determine which pieces can be included in areas you have outlined for the course.
Create Engagement with Your Learners
Once you have your online course created, it is time to figure out how you will engage users and make your course accessible to them. This is equally important to the creation of the course itself because without awareness and accessibility of the course to your targeted learners, your course is useless. “Accessibility”, in the context of online courses, refers to the learner experience that starts when the learner finds or hears about the course (through a course a link, landing page, etc.) to the point when they enter the experience and are presented with the course content.
You can simplify course access for your learners by:
Emailing a link to the course
Offering a link from your website
Including a link to the course in products your learners are using
Providing the link in a text message
Offering the link in a chat channel (e.g., Slack, Intercom or HipChat)
Capture and Measure Learner Engagement Metrics
As learners access your online course, it will be important to capture and analyze all the data around the engagement metrics and the success of the users’ learning experience. Many eLearning platforms provide tools to easily capture this information, visualize it in various ways, and then share the information as needed. This information can be extremely helpful as you work to revise and improve the quality of your online courses and the user experience over time.
LMS Portals for the Development of Online Training Courses
LMS Portals provides a cloud-based platform that allows you to build your own customized eLearning portal. Using our system, you can quickly and easily develop your online courses, enable communication and collaboration among participants, create awareness and onboarding for your learners, and measure their success.
Contact us to discuss your own customized eLearning portal to develop online training courses. Get started for free!