If you haven’t already moved your training online, what are you waiting for?
According to the American Journal of Distance Education, online learning is preferred by 96% of learners. Studies continue to show that online learners consistently equal or outperform face-to-face learners, regardless of the subject. Today, almost anything can be taught online.
Online modality, though, is only the first step to increase your student market. Timing the various methods and techniques of delivering a training program also matters.
Whether you are designing training courses to sell to other businesses or directly to consumers, there are three factors of building any successful online training program:
- Quality content
- Learning assessments
- Modern, multiformat delivery
Business and client expectations are higher than ever in today’s competitive training market. Deliver your content poorly, and learners won’t be completing your programs. What’s worse is the learners you do have won’t learn the content as well as they should.
To Sync or to A-Sync, That Is the Question
You have two options when it comes to the timing of course content delivery: synchronous or asynchronous. You can intermix the two options, but it’s often more efficient for the trainers and learners to go with one method.
Synchronous delivery requires learners to attend training sessions at specific times. It simulates traditional classroom delivery, but it is increasingly rare in e-learning delivery. Mandatory attendance at particular times can be too much for today’s learner, who is already juggling work and home life.
Asynchronous delivery better supports our twenty-first-century lifestyle. Trainees are allowed to go through materials and assessments at their own pace, albeit with deliverable due dates. Research shows that learners do just as well learning asynchronously as synchronously.
Techniques for Creating Your Training Content
Modality and synchronicity decided, your options for creating content have never been more numerous. There are many effective ways to develop creative and engaging course content for online training:
- Interactive Training: Design your course content to keep your trainees engaged and test their understanding with knowledge checks and quizzes. Features like text entry, clickable buttons, drag-and-drop elements, animations, or pop-up videos enable an active learning experience. You can even use question pools to randomize tests and keep trainees on their toes.
- Videos: Keep your videos short! Learners are far less likely to complete videos longer than ten minutes. If your training depends on lecture or slide-deck materials, break your recordings up into three-to-ten-minute chunks.
- Infographics: Create data-fueled narratives to communicate complex topics visually. There are several free or affordable infographic creators available online.
- Animations: Short animations are shown to increase user engagement. They work best for giving a holistic view of intricate processes. However, animations can be expensive to create.
- Learning Guides and Materials: Tutorials and reference guides are among the most effective ways to impart knowledge. Consider sharing these materials in branded PDF or ebook format, so your trainees can continue to benefit from your training program once the program ends.
The content and nature of your training’s assessment matter too. You don’t want to assess people in suicide prevention by providing a manual and giving a multiple-choice quiz. You also don’t need to create an expensive animation to demonstrate how to work a fire extinguisher. Choose methods that will help your learners achieve their outcomes with the least amount of overhead.
Best Practices for Delivering Your Content
You have content that will appeal to and work for your training audience. But how do you deliver it?
The methods and techniques of delivering a training program depend on two factors: your learners and the content. There are five things to consider when deciding how to deliver online training content.
The full gamut of authoring tools available to you is too robust to cover here. Instead, we recommend that you keep in mind the following features when selecting software.
- Responsive GUI for mobile devices. Choose an authoring tool that can generate content that scales well on all types of screens.
- SCORM. We recommend choosing a SCORM-compliant authoring tool, like Articulate Storyline, Articulate Rise, or Adobe Captivate, when creating interactive content. SCORM is the most widely supported e-learning standard and makes it easy to track performance, save a trainee’s progress, and update course content.
- Streamline for Browser-Based Delivery. Avoid using technologies that are not natively supported by internet browsers. Make sure your software creates browser-friendly files that don’t require third-party plugins or software to load. While PDFs can be useful for course guides or additional reading material, ensure that they are optimized for use on all devices (font size, line width, etc). When including video, take into account format, size, and bandwidth requirements.
Online education requires content chunking. Shorter content is more versatile. Research shows that learning materials chopped up into smaller chunks result in better learning and recall. Chunking has even more advantages for the trainer, however.
Breaking down your content into small, modular activities allows you to rearrange it with ease. You can disassemble, combine, and mix existing learning content from various training courses into brand-new offerings. You can also easily rearrange content using certain LMS technologies to help students. Content chunking increases your efficiency and return on investment.
Assigning Course Content
After you create your courses and load them into your LMS, you need to decide how your trainees will access them. You can assign courses manually or set up assignment rules so courses are automatically assigned based on specific attributes. Alternatively, set up a course library where they can select the courses that they prefer.
Automate Your Sales Using an Online Store
Today’s consumers expect instant gratification. This means access to their training course as soon as they pay. You can offer your trainees this perk using an online store. If you select an LMS that integrates with Shopify, for example, your customers can purchase a variety of training courses from your store or website and gain access to their courses immediately.
Offer Your Clients a Seamless, Branded Experience
When selling courses to enterprise clients or other partners, consider offering them their own dedicated client LMS site with custom branding, logo, and domain. Branding consistency is important because it offers a recognizable and trustworthy environment for trainees. To make it even easier for users to access your training courses, you could also consider enabling Single Sign On, so they don’t have to remember yet another new username and password.
Select Delivery Methods Based on Learner Expectations
Determining which content to create and how to deliver it can feel overwhelming when building online training courses. Choose vendors that will provide guidance and support. Keep the approach simple to start. There is always room for online delivery enhancement as you learn what works best online with your audience.
Choosing the right methods and techniques for delivering a training program doesn’t have to be complicated. Just remember to:
- Focus on your clients’ or trainees’ needs and expectations.
- Use a mix of content types and techniques to help engage different types of learners.
- Find authoring tools and an LMS that enables you to seamlessly distribute branded content to clients, be they B2B partners or individual trainees.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!