With corporate training a necessary component for long-term company success, companies need to ensure that they are effectively developing courses that meet the needs of the workforce and help them truly reach their potential. Let’s start by reviewing the benefits of eLearning before moving on to create your own successful course development project.
Benefits of eLearning
There are a number of benefits to using an eLearning platform for your course development and training opportunities. Here are some benefits to eLearning:
- Reduction in travel and other expenses to provide in-person training or education.
- Flexible schedules, access, and convenience for employees in different time zones or for employees who can’t attend traditional training.
- Additional opportunities to learn, as eLearning also enables workers to log information on their tasks and take online quizzes to test their knowledge and skills.
- eLearning platforms can help employees stay up-to-date with the latest corporate directives. It also allows an organization’s HR department to stay up-to-date with new policies and procedures while they are in development.
- Learning courses can be updated at any time with new information, which significantly reduces costs for the company over time.
However, implementing an eLearning strategy does come with certain drawbacks, including security concerns for online programs. This has to be balanced against productivity gains of having everything at your fingertips. Additionally, content will lose relevance if you cannot maintain a constant flow of fresh material into your training program.
Once you understand the benefits – and potential challenges – of eLearning, you can start building a custom eLearning design.
Building a Custom eLearning Design
In order for this new form of training to be successful, employers need course designers who can create courses that provide value for both the employee and the employer. They also need content writers who can create engaging content with valuable information. This helps ensure that employees enjoy what they’re learning about during professional training sessions, and actively look forward to new classes rather than dread them. This also provides them with all the information they need in order to do their jobs better and more efficiently with minimal supervision required from managers on-site or elsewhere in the world because of remote desktop connections or other technology platforms.
There are numerous ways to go about designing a custom eLearning course for your audience, and some are more important than others. In particular, here are four steps involved in developing an effective course: planning, design, development and deployment.
First and foremost, you will want to identify what the company wants to accomplish with the course. You may want your team members to be more productive at their jobs, or you may want to help them live healthier lifestyles. This is what they will get from completing the class. But how do you know what will work? How do you know which approach is going to maximize their success? You can’t simply choose a topic out of thin air and hope for the best!
To find out what topics will work and which ones won’t, I recommend asking for in-depth feedback from your team based on a simple, four-question survey. This survey gives them an outlet for their thoughts on what they would most like from the course and allows them to help you understand what would offer them a more complete experience. It may also have tertiary benefits if they happen to feel stressed out or unfulfilled in their current position – many employers mention how survey interventions significantly prolong the longevity of their team by finding nascent problems before they grow.
The purpose of this survey should be to provide constructive feedback that will allow you to provide employees with eLearning courses that will help them do better in their role or improve their quality of life outside of work. Four questions to ask during this phase include:
- What does your company’s culture value the most?
- What are your business goals?
- What information is most relevant?
- What do employees most desire to learn?
Next, a scope statement is constructed which outlines what topics will be covered and how they will be approached in order to achieve the stated goals. Once these elements are crafted, it becomes significantly easier to move into the design phase. You will use the information you collected from your employees and leadership during the planning phase to help create this scope statement.
During the design phase, instructional designers work with subject matter experts to develop learning objectives for each topic (both general and specific). Attention should be paid to ensuring that all objectives are measurable and testable before proceeding to the development phase.
During this phase, it’s important to think about the following questions:
- Identify what kinds of training materials will best aid in reaching your goals. Will a blended learning approach work best? A self-paced eLearning module? A group workshop or coaching session? Be sure to consider what format would offer the most value and best work for your audience.
- Develop a concrete design for your course by going through lesson modules in order and thinking deeply about how each piece can build on or reinforce previous pieces . This concrete design should ultimately achieve an overarching goal or set of goals you created during the first phase. Learners may additionally find it helpful to use storyboards to plan their content. This process can take some time before you reach a design that satisfies all of your needs, but it will likely pay dividends in the end.
Next comes the development phase, or authoring phase, which entails writing scripts for each lesson in your training material. The role of technical experts during this phase is critical, as they ensure that all logistical requirements are met before moving on to the development phase where programming takes place.
There are many different ways that organizations can use eLearning to develop and deliver courses. The most popular methods include:
- Video-based training: video-based training is a great option because it’s a cost-effective way to train multiple people, and enables you to create elaborate and engaging presentations that persist over time.
- Courseware: courseware is text-based online content that allows learners to interact with web-based videos, assessments, and simulations. Courseware is fantastic for building subject matter expert skills because they allow learners to practice and reinforce their new skills through guided practice.
- Assessment software: these tools allow your organization to test employee learning through assessments, quizzes, games, surveys, and more to gauge what individuals have learned. Assessment software can be the same as courseware or an additional product used separately from other methods of eLearning.
- Lecture capture: lecture capture is great for employers who want their employees on the job development to be “hands on.” Lecture capture allows companies to video record a training session that employees can view at their convenience.
This is the final step that puts it all together, and where you actually build a custom eLearning design. It is important to test out the eLearning curriculum, before distributing it to employees.
Once you’ve created an organized design, it’s time to start thinking about logistics for deployment. Some questions to consider are:
- How long should it take learners to complete the course?
- How will they enroll in it?
- Who should enroll in it with them?
- What’s included in the price of enrollment?
- Is live webinar recording necessary for this course?
- Should some modules need professional hosting or should learners have access to a virtual meeting room?
- Is self-paced learning practical for your business considering time constraints and technical skills (like fairly low bandwidth speeds or unreliable internet connections)?
- Is certification required after completing training?
After carefully moving through these questions and coming up with answers, you will put together your own custom eLearning design. The deployment phase is the exciting part! This is when all your hard work pays off and comes to life.
If you are looking to develop your own custom eLearning design, make sure to follow the steps outlined above. By moving through these phases and carefully considering each one, you are well on your way to developing an effective and engaging custom eLearning design!
And if you need help with any of the above, you can always reach out to a world-class elearning agency, who will happily take you through the process.
The development phases mentioned above provide a solid foundation from which you will be able to start planning your eLearning project.
As an eLearning development agency, we use a similar, albeit more comprehensive approach that allows our customers to have full control over the build process. See how this works here.
This is the fifth of 8 articles from the eBook eLearning 101 - How To Create The Perfect Curriculum For Your Company.
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