You don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’ if you have good training content that needs to shift from instructor-led training to eLearning. You do, however, need to adapt that content for a different delivery format. Where do you start? We’ve put together 4 tips to help you as you move through this process.
The good news is that eLearning has many benefits to both learners and companies, so it’s not a bad thing if you have to adapt your current instructor-led training (ILT) to eLearning because of COVID-19 or other factors. While it can feel like you’re starting all over again, in fact, there’s a lot you can do to convert your content to an eLearning format. This is also an excellent opportunity to take a look at what’s working and not working about your current training and make some changes.
Tip 1: Do a Content Audit
It can be hard for instructors to find the time to update training materials and content, and when training has been delivered consistently over a long period, it can get stale. Before you rush into simply dumping old content onto a new platform and asking learners to run with it, you need to audit your content and evaluate what will work for an eLearning context.
- Start with Your Learning Outcomes
A good place to begin is with your learning outcomes and objectives. What do learners need to be able to do differently after the training? Do these outcomes and objectives still apply? Were learning outcomes even established at any point? Now’s the time to update or create these objectives.
- ‘Trim the Fat’ of Your Content
It’s tempting just to put all the material you have from existing instructor-led training online, because you’re worried that learners will miss something or you feel like this is the easiest way to take care of the training needs. The problem with this is that because there’s no one to give learners context for the material or fill in any blanks, the material simply becomes overwhelming. Often learners will also be left with a feeling of “how is this training? I’m just sitting reading PowerPoints!” Ways to ‘trim the fat’ of your content include:
- Going through materials and highlighting key ideas, looking for what’s ‘need to know’ vs. ‘nice to know’ and that could be added as an additional resource or external reference
- Editing down large pieces of text to focus on the main idea first, followed by any supporting detail
- Chunking information into connected groups of related content and working out an improved flow for the overall training (you don’t necessarily have to follow the instructor-led training organization if it doesn’t work for the learner online)
- Considering bite-sized learning opportunities using microlearning
- Reviewing any material that may have been built in Flash and marking it for conversion to HTML5 (Adobe has discontinued Flash, so any Flash-based materials won’t work anymore)
Tip 2: Select Your Delivery Method
Delivering online content requires a Learning Management System (LMS) like LearnDash or Moodle. While you can use a tool like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, or GoToWebinar, for example, to record online components like webinars or lectures and email these to users, if you don’t have an LMS, then you won’t have a way to enroll/register learners or track their progress. If there are certain requirements learners need to meet in a course, then the LMS helps you keep track of this information. An LMS also allows you to set up activities and interactions and deliver text, along with handling multimedia content.
Tip 3: Make it Interactive (but not just for the sake of it!)
Just as much as it’s a no-no to put all your materials online and assume it’s eLearning, you also don’t want to go to the opposite extreme of adding too many bells and whistles through the need to “make it interactive.” It’s a fine balance, and it may be useful to engage an Instructional Designer to help you with this. However you decide to go about it, take another run through of your materials to evaluate what might be better presented as visuals, narration, video, or activities for learners. Think about meaningfully engaging learners through quizzes, scenarios, and other interactions. Do they really need a complicated gamification of the material or just good visual elements that highlight key pieces of information? Find that balance.
Some tools you might be able to use include:
- Webinar tools (e.g., Google Hangouts, Livestorm, Cisco Webex, WebinarJam) – it’s relatively easy to integrate these recordings into your LMS for learners to access at any time
- Video software and delivery options (e.g., Vimeo, YouTube) – stick to short, sweet videos and audio, using these to enhance your content and emphasize key points
- Screen capture software (e.g., Camtasia, Zappy by Zapier, Screencastify) – use these to record your screen as well as to edit and share video, particularly if you need to demo any concepts or do ‘how to’ walk-throughs
Tip 4: Keep Blended Learning in the Back of Your Mind
With any luck, we’ll return to some kind of normalcy eventually… and that means that you may be returning to instructor-led training. This doesn’t mean that you have to toss out the eLearning components you’ve created. This can be a great opportunity to offer blended learning, where learners complete some aspects of their training on their own time online and then in-person sessions can be used to reinforce certain topics, address questions and concerns, work on group activities or other pieces that will work better in person.
Although this can feel overwhelming at first, it’s actually an amazing opportunity to re-evaluate and refresh your current content and adjust your training objectives. It will take some time to make the conversion, which you need to factor into your planning, but with a little bit of upfront effort, you can ensure that your training continues to be relevant, easy to consume and focused on the needs of your audience!
If you’re feeling stuck in this process, contact PathWise! We’ve worked with lots of companies and organizations who’ve found themselves in the same place you might be in and will be happy to work with you to find the best solution for your needs.