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How to Create Engaging Online Training Programs

Many businesses face the same challenges when it comes to staff training: everyone’s schedules are difficult to match up, trainers are constantly customising and updating Powerpoint decks, training outcomes are difficult to track and measure, and the learner’s concentration wears thin after spending hours in a training session on a Friday afternoon.

More often than not, employees feel disengaged, obligated to attend the training, and are more interested in the lunch buffet instead.

This occurs at every level of training, from employee professional development, right through to communicating “What is our offer for the Chinese New Year sale this year?”

To make matters worse, it’s impossible to evaluate the effectiveness of the training program at the end of the day—especially if you count on self-reported evaluation surveys and feedback. What’s the point of that?

🤷

That’s where online learning platforms swoop in to save the day.

How to choose an online learning platform

In this blog post, we’ll cover what you need to know before choosing an online learning platform for your team, no matter the size of the group or the scale of your training.

 

STEP 1: Evaluate your current training

Revisit your current training practices and ask yourself a few questions: “Who is this program currently training? What skills am I training them in? What are the learning outcomes (LOs) for this program?”

Often, the most important questions sound like they are the simplest. But don’t be fooled; it’s no easy feat to craft a good learning outcome. LOs are the unofficial blueprint that every effective online course is built upon. We recommend creating specific, measurable learning outcomes so that you know which evidence you need to collect in order to prove that your training has worked.

[Worksheet Available]: In our experience, evaluation should be done at every stage of the training process—not just at the beginning. Download our worksheet to guide your evaluation.

STEP 2: Identify groups that need training

Based on your evaluation, pinpoint specific skills or individuals that require targeted training. This sounds simple, but if done correctly, it is the first step towards creating a realistic training plan which is based on a thorough understanding of your target audience.

Another question to ask at this stage is, “How will I measure learning before and after the training has taken place?” Knowing your target audience, as well as defining what you’ll accept as evidence of their learning, is essential to the course-building process.

STEP 3: Compare prices and choose a platform

Let’s face it: building your own platform is expensive. Luckily, you don’t have to: there are a few cloud-based online learning platforms out there which are perfect for all kinds of training. Most platforms offer the same features, so it’s really up to us to use those features to create effective training programs. 

Choosing a platform with the features and prices that you are comfortable with is key. Take note, though—some platforms charge per user, while others charge per course built or educator. With the right learning designer and facilitators, it’s all down to which pricing structure suits your needs.

 

STEP 4: Look for alternatives

Sometimes, building your own online training course isn’t an option. Consider outsourcing by looking at what’s already being offered in the online training market. Many training providers have begun offering professional development micro-courses online—these give you the option to ‘fill the gaps’ in your training programme.

For example, the Penang Skills Development Centre recently released an Industry 4.0 skills training course as an alternative to their existing face-to-face program. It’s openly listed on an online marketplace, which means that employees from several different companies can enrol in the same course and exchange their ideas on the core technological pillars underlying the Fourth Industrial Revolution. Cool, right?

You’re almost ready! Before you start suggesting to your team that it’s time to bring your training online, there are just a few more things you’ll need to consider:

 

How long does it take to create an online training program?

Depending on the level of training, the length of the program and the availability of a subject matter expert, an online training program can take anywhere between 14 to 90 days to create. You can reduce the time taken by hiring a professional learning designer who is familiar with the platform you have chosen.

How do I encourage people to take training seriously?

To encourage staff members to take training seriously, the training has to be in a format where they feel valued as an active contributor—not just one person in a 300-seat lecture hall. It’s difficult to do this face-to-face with large teams, which is why online courses over longer time periods are a good option for providing training.

What’s the possibility of selling my program online, and how much should I charge?

We’ve mentioned the online training market. Did you know that it’s projected to exceed $325 billion in 2025 (Research and Markets)? If you build up an engaged e-learning community in your online training program, you can market your programme to other companies, or as a micro-credential with industry certification, and charge a per-learner enrolment fee. 

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