8 Tips for Quickly Creating Effective Online Learning

The ability to quickly create online learning presents both a challenge and an opportunity for today’s learning development teams.

Regardless of the methodology used, learning leaders can discover efficiencies where they least expect them, in order to deliver useful, engaging learning experiences at scale.

Let’s have a look at some ways you can quickly deliver compelling content that your learners will crave.

1. Repurpose existing content

For training on your company’s products, services, and processes, look internally.

Sales, marketing, human resources, and even IT/administration have all created content that could be repurposed for courses useful for other employees within your organization.

The design and development of your training will move much more quickly as you can incorporate content that already exists.

Luckily, several course authoring tools incorporate the ability to upload content in such common formats as .PDF, PowerPoint, and Word, minimizing the need to re-create content.

For additional relevance and context, incorporate additional feedback from these content creators into your course. They just may become your new subject matter experts (SMEs) and could be vital to the creation of that course.

2. Count casual interactions with experts

Thanks to new(ish) technologies, it has become possible to track experiences a learner has offline—and not just while attending an in-person, instructor-led class.

Even casual conversations in the office, where perhaps a certain concept or process is explained, can count as part of a learning experience.

The Experience API (or xAPI) is a specification for learning technology that makes it possible to collect data about the wide range of experiences a person has both online and offline. In fact, the xAPI specification offers the ability to track up to 100 percent of learning experiences.

How is this connected to creating online learning? When managers and employees discover that even unplanned discussions can be trackable and “count” as learning, they will be encouraged to do more of them—and help you transform them into courses.

When employees learn that there is value to these, you are essentially recruiting additional SMEs to your course-building efforts. You might be able to speed through some of the earlier exploratory phases of the project and be able to create and deliver courses rapidly.

3. Create social learning channels

For additional mileage, formalize these discussions or meetings into social learning channels.

Using your company’s existing productivity software, you can easily create a wiki, team space, or internal community in which these seemingly random discussions about a topic can be organized and trackable.

SMEs can be designated as moderators, and learners can ask questions, make comments, share links, and discuss ideas. After a while, there may be sufficient content to create a separate, standalone course, including assessments.

4. Develop testing sooner rather than later

To shorten the delivery time for a course, think about what sorts of assessments make sense at the onset. Will they be simple, multiple-choice quizzes, or will they be longer, requiring the learner to evaluate an in-depth scenario?

SMEs, on whom you might be leaning to help you drive the content, can weigh in here. They are clearly more familiar with the subject matter and can also advise you on the ideal testing options for learners.

5. Lean on intake forms

Some of your course analysis and development might already be done for you—and is sitting right in your inbox.

A properly designed training intake process can remove many of the headaches—and much of the time—in deciding which courses get built and which do not.

For the courses that do get built, there should be enough information in the training intake form to help the training team to start building the course right away. Answers to such business-impact questions as What is the desired business outcome from this training? and How will you measure the effectiveness of this training? can be extremely helpful for instructional designers, as they do not need to start from scratch.

Consider a solid, well-designed and well-executed training intake system to help speed your course development processes.

6. Leverage microlearning

Your learners will thank you when the courses are short. Pushing out shorter courses that are centered on a single learning objective resonate much more strongly with learners.

Creating bite-sized Microlearning courses means a faster turnaround time for course design and deployment, streamlined selection of content focused on one single learning objective, and the ability to respond quicker to learner feedback.

7. Create and re-use templates

This may seem like a no-brainer, but it helps tremendously. All of the hours spent developing and designing a course do not have to be repeated if templates are used.

Templates not only ensure that the company’s branding and voice are presently properly throughout all learning materials, but they also help SMEs and others helping with the course delivery efforts by making it easier to add content.

Further, learners taking new courses built on templates will immediately gain a sense of familiarity with the style and flow of the course. This will ease friction and encourage stronger learning outcomes.

8. Leverage employees who have learning agility

Learning agility is the ability to adapt to unfamiliar or unpredictable situations and learn quickly. Naturally, people who are high on the learning agility scale are top performers during times of uncertainty. They can self-direct, and are able to accept the unfamiliar or unproven. 

Learning agility is beneficial to an organization in several scenarios. These include joining a new team, taking on a first-time management role, and working with outsiders.

Those employees who exhibit strong learning agility are the ones that the L&D team can leverage to help with course-building efforts. They may not be SMEs but they might be members of teams interested in building their own courses.

Try to identify these employees who possess learning agility, as they can be allies in your quest to build learning experiences quickly. They can recognize the assets and resources needed and can help you generate the outcomes needed to fulfill the L&D mission.

Want to learn more about how to manage change when shifting towards an Agile Learning culture? Download our free ebook,
It’s Time to Change How You Design Training“!

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