In times of uncertainty, businesses must quickly adapt to meet new needs and challenges that are surfaced. The recent outbreak of COVID-19 has caused temporary upheaval in how we work, and how we learn, in today’s workplace.
Studies show that by 2017, as many as 77% of companies were using eLearning. But many of those companies are using a mix of online learning and in-person training. Not to mention the 23% of companies that were still using instructor-led training (ILT) exclusively at that time.
When mandatory work-from-home policies are put in place and gatherings of people are discouraged by medical professionals, companies must find a way to quickly adapt the way they deliver crucial training to employees.
For those training teams who are looking for a way to quickly adapt planned ILT sessions, here are some ways to get back on track as quickly as possible.
1. Rapid Content Development
When it comes to achieving a quick transition to elearning, one of the biggest challenges is to rapidly create the content you’ll need for the online course.
Here are some quick tips which are particularly useful for standardized topics such as sales enablement, compliance topics, or anything health and safety related:
- Embed Youtube videos
Try to find pre-existing video content that fulfill the needs of your audience and the learning objective of your online course.
- Use pre-existing graphics
Try to cut down on the graphic design time needed for your courses. Use graphics and images from free online resources such as Canva or Pixabay.
- Repurpose existing content
By using a rapid elearning authoring tool, you can quickly repurpose existing content. Longer courses can easily be broken down into bite sized chunks for handy microlearning options in a fraction of the time it would take to build new courses from scratch.
- Use infographics to quickly build visual training materials
Infographics perfectly combine visual aids with written information for a more effective learning experience. They can also easily be converted into job aids so learners can easily refer back to them at any time. Canva hosts lots of great infographics templates, but you’ll also find them in many rapid authoring tools.
2. Leveraging subject matter experts’ knowledge
It’s one of the most widely discussed bottlenecks in the training development arena, but working with subject matter experts (SMEs) is usually a necessity when building internal training.
One of the best ways to work with SMEs when courses need to be turned around double-time is to find a way for SMEs to “data dump.”
Whether it’s in a word document or in a project management tool you already use, speed up the process by which SMEs share their knowledge. Encourage them to give you as much detail as possible, so you can work through the information and focus on the instructional design aspect.
3. Create a microlearning template
SMEs are only half the battle when rapidly converting instructor-led training to elearning. Your training team will also need to be organized and form a united front.
Keeping everyone on the same page can be as simple as creating a microlearning template for all the instructor-led training material, and assigning different mini-projects to your instructional designers for different sections of the content.
Spending a little time upfront creating pre-made templates will help your team to “turn and burn” the courses that much faster for your learners. Making them microlearning templates means courses can be released at a faster pace, and any courses that need correcting mid-design won’t hold up the deployment of other valuable learning content.
4. Try webinar sessions
If an instructor is absolutely essential to the learning process for specific topics, modules, or courses, try running remote webinar sessions instead.
Webinar hosting providers like Zoom are a robust option. Zoom in particular also offers free subscription options and very reasonably priced premium packages.
Instructors can make use of online polls, document sharing, screensharing, whiteboarding, and in-meeting chat, and Q&A sessions to keep the interactive classroom vibe.
5. Be cognizant of learner preferences
Many learners prefer in-person training to elearning. Perhaps this is because they have had the misfortune of being exposed to some poorly designed online training in the past. Plus, studies have shown that even those who prefer online learning still like a high level of human interaction in their training solutions. But, either way, you may have some work to do to keep learners engaged with the new online versions of your traditional instructor-led training.
Here are some quick tips:
- If you’re producing quick video content, use a real person in the videos to help guide people through the training content, rather than just using text or voiceover.
- Strongly consider webinar sessions for more in-depth topics.
- Enable social learning where possible, encouraging learners to support each other by recommending extra content.
- If your learners are pressed for time, consider creating equivalent job aids to help them navigate new scenarios in the flow of work.
6. Create guides to help people access all the learning they’ll need
For many, the transition to instructor-led training is difficult because learners are being asked to navigate new technology. While this might often be easier for younger generations, many people are resistant to learning new systems or tools unless absolutely necessary.
So, when elearning becomes a necessity rather than a learning preference, it’s vital that all learners with varying levels of technology fluency can easily access and use your new online training.
For example, if you’re running instructor-led webinars, make sure your learners have detailed instructions for how to join the webinar and how to interact with any materials, polls, and Q&A features of the platform.
Ensure you provide detailed instructions for your LMS (or wherever your learners will be accessing the online material). These instructions should include:
- How learners can login
- How they can search/access different courses
- How to troubleshoot any recurring issues or potential problems
- A support contact to help them out if needed
Whether your learners are already familiar with elearning or whether this will be your first foray into taking training online, disruption and confusion are part and parcel of the process.
Getting ahead of the game with these tips will help you move your instructor-led training to online portals as quickly as possible.
If you’re looking for a place to collaborate with your team, work seamlessly with SMEs, and quickly create and deploy mobile-friendly courses, we’d be happy to show you how our Learning Design System can help you with that.