7 Things To Do When Switching From Instructor-Led To Online Training

06/12/2018

Instructor-led training (ILT) or classroom training is how most organizations picture training. However, online learning (or eLearning) has seen a steady surge in its usage and has been the driving force for corporate training in the last couple of decades. Its benefits evidently outweigh the advantages ILT offers and improves upon its limitations. From serving the learning needs of modern learners by giving “anytime-anywhere” access to learning content to being a learner-focused, cost-effective solution, online learning has many organizations deliberating and switching from instructor-led to online training to reap its benefits.

With the amount of effort that goes in to make instructor-led training work, it might seem like converting to eLearning would be easy. However, with no proper knowledge about how the conversion is carried out, organizations may find it difficult to get it right. This post shares 7 tips that will make the conversion from instructor-led training to online training undemanding and easy.

1. Make The Existing ILT Content Ready For eLearning

ILT training material cannot be directly converted to eLearning. The material may be incomplete and might require additional information. Companies who are looking to convert their ILT material to online learning must first know what information and media they have available for the course, and what they will create from scratch. To do this, all the existing ILT material must be categorized into:

  • What works for both ILT and the online format, as-is
  • What works for ILT but will need to be designed for an online format

Additionally, while examining the existing classroom program, they must not let go of the assets associated with it. PowerPoint presentations, lecture recordings, videos, case studies, paper-based documents, quizzes—everything associated with ILT has the potential to be repurposed for online learning.

2. Rethink And Rekindle Your Existing PowerPoint Presentations

PowerPoint presentations are a big part of most instructor-led training. They are a result of hours of efforts put in by Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) and training managers to make ILT work. When taking the leap from ILT to online learning, most organizations overlook the importance of these PPTs and start creating online learning content from scratch.

Instead of discarding them, organizations can convert these presentations to SCORM-based eLearning modules with authoring tools, such as iSpring. With this authoring tool, PowerPoint presentations can be converted to interesting eLearning courses by importing ready-made audio and video. iSpring also supports mobile learning, which means that the modules created using this tool are ready for consumption on mobile devices, especially useful for on-the-go learners.

3. Choose The Appropriate Instructional Strategy

Unlike ILT, online learning makes use of specialized instructional strategies, which is a high-level approach to teaching a subject/concept to learners. Before the conversion, organizations must ensure to perform an audience analysis. Deep audience analysis is the first step to deciding an instructional strategy. Knowing what learners expect from the training, how and where they want the course to be delivered will assist organizations in improving the effectiveness of the training program.

4. Replace “Nice-To-Know” With “Need-To-Know” Information

Most ILT content is text-heavy and before it is converted to online learning, the material needs to be reviewed properly and chunked for easier consumption. Any content that does not lead to improved learner performance is nice-to-know information and must be removed. Also, nice-to-know information increases the duration of the eLearning course and the development cost.

Replacing the nice-to-know with need-to-know content results in retaining only the performance-based information which helps learners apply the information they learn to their everyday jobs. The usual length for an online course is between 15 and 30 minutes. If your new course is longer than this, you should consider breaking it into multiple shorter modules for better knowledge retention.

5. Use Learning Objectives To Create Good Assessments

One of the preferred ways to keep learners engaged in online learning is to include periodic assessments to reinforce key learning outcomes throughout the course. The best way to design these assessments is by aligning them with the learning objectives.

Learning objectives are focused on the key learning outcomes you want your learners to achieve, and what better way to create knowledge check questions around these learning objectives. For example, if one of the learning objectives of a training course for service technicians is, let’s say, to be able to identify the probable failures of a piece of machinery, the assessment questions should check just that instead of asking them to name the parts of the machinery.

6. Design Your Training For Multiple Mediums

Unlike an ILT session, which is traditionally presented using a projector or a blackboard, online learning content should be designed for multiple mediums which include desktops, tablets, and smartphones. This becomes all the more important if your workforce consists of learners who prefer learning on multiple devices depending on their convenience. Consider making the converted content responsive to get more learners on board so that they can seamlessly access the content across multiple devices.

7. Consider Implementing Blended Learning

Before organizations proceed with implementing the conversion, it is recommended that a holistic assessment is performed to determine whether that the conversion process will indeed meet the required learning outcomes. If the answer is no, organizations can still reap the benefits of online learning while retaining certain components of classroom training. This approach is called blended learning, and it offers organizations the “best of both worlds”.

To implement blended learning, identify what aspects can be retained in the ILT format and what aspects can benefit from picking a blended solution. You can implement blended learning via a Learning Management System (LMS), for example, to keep your learners informed of the classroom sessions, conduct pre-ILT session activities, use it as a knowledge repository, and conduct online assessments.

Instructor-led training to online learning conversion does not have to cumbersome. Instead of transferring the ILT content verbatim, transform the content into a creative and interactive online learning experience. If organizations devote some time to plan the process properly and use the tips shared, they will be on their way to having an effective conversion.

By Ayesha Habeeb Omer, Ph.D

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