Organizations across industries have understood the need to convert their instructor-led training (ILT) to the online mode, and have been transitioning to eLearning to train their employees for quite some time now. This shift offered organizations the benefits of:
- Reduced training costs
- Increased employee productivity
- Improved business revenues
- Greater employee engagement
- Flexibility to learn anytime, anywhere
Adding to this came the recent pandemic. It has reiterated the usefulness of eLearning in upskilling new employees and reskilling existing ones remotely. While many organizations have the technology in place, others are still planning on the metamorphosis.
If yours is one such organization, you must understand that contrary to popular thinking, transitioning to eLearning is more than just publishing PowerPoint presentations (PPTs) after adding audio or publishing PPTs to HTML.
And why is that? Because in most instances, PowerPoint presentations contain less than half the content delivered in the classroom. The other half that is not captured by the PPT is discussed by the instructor through examples, stories, and detailed explanations.
So, converting classroom material to captivating eLearning is not very simple. It involves ‘Instructional Design’. And careful consideration of the six factors discussed here.
Important Considerations for ILT to eLearning Conversion
1. Learner: The Crucial Factor
Learner analysis is the first step in the design and development of eLearning courses. You should understand:
- The learners’ current level of knowledge and skills
- Any major misconceptions they have about the content or topic
- Their preferred language style
- Their learning environment
- Where employees will be accessing the course from
- Which devices they will be using
Their available time for training and work commitments are also important considerations. This will help instructional designers tailor and deliver the right eLearning courses to learners.
The Proven Way to Successful ILT to eLearning Conversion
- Understand the learners
- Redefine learning objectives
- Update and finalize content
- Select the right ID strategy
- Frame assessments
2. Learning Objectives: The Genesis of Online Course Development
Analyzing the learners and their learning environment sets the stage for defining the learning objectives. This is an important requirement for developing an eLearning course. Learning objectives inform learners on what they will be able to do at the end of the course (answering the “what’s in it for me” (WIIFM) question).
Learning objectives also ensure instructional designers pick the right content and frame the right assessments.
3. Content: The King
Once the learning objectives are set, the next step is to put together content for the
eLearning course based on the objectives. The self-paced nature of eLearning courses makes the content very important. Structuring and delivering it the right way is crucial.
In the constantly evolving world of corporate organizations, training materials sometimes need to be revised and reshaped to accommodate change. This is where the subject matter experts (SMEs) enter the picture.
While the Instructional Designers (IDs) design and develop the eLearning, SMEs share their knowledge and resources and validate the accuracy of the content. IDs thus work closely with the SMEs to fill any gaps in the content and ensure the content supports the set learning objectives, helping learners achieve the desired outcomes of the training.
4. Instructional Strategy: The Catalyst for Improved Learner Engagement
Once the content is in place, it is time for the instructional design team to devise an appropriate instructional strategy. The strategy is a broad plan on how the content should be taught to learners. Remember, unlike the traditional classroom, eLearning does not have the luxury of an instructor. So, learning has to be based on an appropriate strategy to be effective.
Important instructional strategies include:
- Guided learning:
- Uses characters/avatars to guide learners through the course
- Can be used in onboarding training, product training, etc.
- Scenario-based learning:
- Places learners in situations where they learn by doing tasks or making decisions
- Presents challenges like the ones they will face in real-life situations
- Can be used for sales training, compliance training, etc.
- Mimic the real-life environment to allow learners to explore, learn, and practice on a risk-free platform
- Can be used for training on skill-based tasks, on complex processes, when there is no margin for error
These instructional strategies help to immerse learners fully in the learning, resulting in enhanced motivation and completion rates. The risk-free learning environment allows learners to make mistakes, learn from them, and gain mastery in solving real-world problems.
5. Assessments: The Metric to Determine Training Effectiveness
While converting the classroom material, it is important to add various assessment activities in the eLearning courses. Assessments have the two-fold advantage of reinforcing the learning (through formative assessments) and determining the degree to which the learning objectives have been met (summative assessment or final quiz).
Formative assessments appear during the course after each learning objective. They help the learner recall important concepts and reinforce learning, and are always followed by feedback. Summative assessments appear at the end of the course, and are used to determine how successful learners were in achieving the learning objectives.
It is important to chalk out a plan about the types of questions and where in the course you would like to use them. The best time to frame assessment questions is right after deciding the learning objectives. Because assessments, both summative and formative, need to be perfectly aligned with the learning objectives for learning to be effective.
Converting classroom training to online courses is widely being adopted by a number of organizations across the world today owing to the benefits. Understanding the intricate process and the roles of various stakeholders is essential for a smooth conversion. If you are planning on the conversion and would like to know how ready your ILT material is for eLearning, check this webinar and have all your queries answered.