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Converting ILT to eLearning: 7 Classroom Interactivities Transformed

There’s something about good old classroom training that remains unmatched by online learning environments. It’s the ‘human touch’ and no matter how much we harp on about the benefits of online training, it cannot compensate for the absence of a wonderful instructor. But all said and done, we’ve got to be practical, and the reality is that instructor-led training (ILT) programs are not always conducive to global corporate training, not just because of the cost involved but also because of their limited reach. This has led to the need to convert ILT programs to eLearning.

What makes classroom training interesting is the way various interactivities are woven into the session to make learning engaging and effective. When you convert ILT to online training, is there a way to transform these interactivities used in the classroom training and make them suitable for eLearning? Yes, there is, and this blog is an attempt to reveal some of the techniques to convert classroom-based interactivities to online interactivities.

7 Interactivities Converted from ILT to eLearning

1. Break the Ice and Grab Learners’ Attention

It’s not just the instructor, learners too determine the success of a classroom training program. It is essential that learners share a comfort level with others in the classroom, to ease communication and encourage participation. Icebreakers are often used in ILT programs to break the ice and get learners involved in the training program.

When converting ILT to eLearning, how does one transform icebreakers? E-learning is meant to be self-paced, and the learner is not required to interact with other learners in real-time. However, in eLearning, learners are required to stay engaged in the training and the best way to do this is to set a clear context for the training. Here are a few ways to transform classroom icebreakers to attention grabbers in an eLearning course.

  • Anecdotes used in classroom training can set the context for your eLearning course. Begin the eLearning course with a story and get learners interested.
  • In a classroom training where learners come with prior knowledge and experience, you have the instructor asking questions to gauge the knowledge levels of learners. You could begin the eLearning course with an adaptive assessment that tells each learner which topic they need to focus on, instead of wasting time on something they already know.

Consider the example of an online module in a leadership training curriculum where managers are to be made aware of the skills they are expected to possess or build. Begin the course with a quick survey/quiz that evaluates what type of manager the learner is, based on his/her responses.

This works as an effective attention grabber and can quickly hook the learners into the training program.

2. Show them the Demo with an Engaging Video

Every business is based on either selling a product or a service, or in some cases, both. Demos are often part of product or sales training that’s classroom-based. This is a way to:

  • Get learners to be familiar with the product (tangible learning)
  • Give learners a download on the USPs of the product
  • Educate learners on the benefits offered by the product

One component you might miss when you transform live demos to an online platform is the tangibility aspect of products. In some cases you might have to train sales teams on selling intangible products (e.g.: Insurance policies). When you convert ILT to eLearning, replace live demos in the classroom with videos in eLearning. This can work well for both tangible as well as intangible products.

A case in example is an online product training we delivered to sales reps of a pharmaceutical company. The training made use of short videos learners could access to look up information on the uses and contraindications of various drugs. This helped the sales reps achieve improved results from their sales calls, as they could use these online modules as just-in-time training before meeting potential clients.

ILT to eLearning - How to engage with Video

3. Let Learners Practice through Simulations

One of the best ways to transfer the skills gained during classroom training to the job is through hands-on practice. When learners get a chance to apply what they’ve learned, the chances of them retaining that information is more.

Consider the example of software training that needs to be converted from ILT to eLearning. In the classroom, you may have given learners access to a test environment and the instructor could have facilitated a guided learning experience. Translating this to online training could pose a challenge. But simulation-based eLearning can be used to provide a workaround.

Watch-try-do demos let learners practice skills within the eLearning course. They can also be provided with effective feedback that serves as guidance to learners.

4. Encourage Role Plays with Scenarios

Role-plays in ILT programs can be used to teach learners to apply the knowledge gained in the real-world. Role play in the classroom is often a group activity and can be used to let learners reflect on their learning. When you have to convert this interactivity from ILT to online training, try scenarios as an effective replacement. Branching scenarios can be used to make the learning process interactive. Depending on the responses to options in the scenario, learners can be taken through an entirely new learning path.

For an online sales training curriculum we designed and developed for one of our clients, we made use of scenario-based learning to teach learners how to close a sales call effectively. Based on the learners’ response to a branching scenario, they were taught the right way to close a sales call.

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5. Transform the Instructor’s Questions to Assessments

In an ILT program, the instructor periodically gauges learners’ understanding by getting them to answer questions. These questions from the instructor can be collated to design formative and summative assessments that can be included in the online training when you’re converting from ILT to eLearning.

Tips to Create Effective eLearning Assessments

 While the role of formative assessments in an eLearning course is to monitor the learning process as the learner goes through the course and provide effective feedback, the summative assessment is used to evaluate the learning after course completion. If you are considering deviating from formal assessment strategies, make learning fun through gamified assessments.

For an online course on employee onboarding, we developed a gamified assessment strategy where learners had to go through a maze that represented the office campus. Learners were required to answer questions at various stages in the maze before they could arrive at their destination.

6. Discuss with Instructors and Peers

A classroom training environment is perfect for collaborative learning as learners get to interact with the instructor as well as peers. Should any questions arise during the training, the instructor is available to provide instant clarifications.

When you convert ILT to eLearning, you might have to forego real-time interaction between learners and the instructor and among learners themselves. An online training program is designed to be accessed at your own pace and convenience, but collaborative learning can still be implemented through the LMS. A discussion board on the LMS can let learners share thoughts or queries on the topic with their peers as well as subject matter experts and classroom training instructors.

7. Review the Learning Highlights

In a classroom training program, the instructor takes care of summarizing each topic and this helps learners in the following ways:

  • Consolidates the important details in each topic
  • Eases recollection and reflection

It is not advisable to skip summarizing module/course content when you convert ILT to eLearning. In your eLearning course, a summary slide at the end of each topic/module helps learners recollect the important points covered in each topic. While a summary slide is part of most eLearning courses, reflection is not practiced often in eLearning courses.

ILT to eLearning - Practice of Reflection in eLearning

Here are some quick tips to encourage the practice of reflection in your eLearning course.

  • Get learners to take a few minutes to summarize the eLearning topic, before you reveal the summary slide.
  • Ask a thought-provoking question and let learners exchange ideas/thoughts through a discussion forum on the LMS.
  • Ask learners to create a mind map summarizing the eLearning course.

Before we move ahead, watch a quick video on strategies to replicate the real classroom in a virtual learning environment.

The Way Forward

These are some of the ways to convert the interactivities used in ILT to effective eLearning. If you’re just getting started with converting ILT to eLearning, it’s essential you stick to a time-tested process for conversion. Our eBook on the eHacks to Jumsptart eLearning is worth checking out and can prove to be a resourceful guide to get started with eLearning in your organization.

Editor’s note: This post was originally published in May 2019 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

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