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Top 4 Online Learning Formats for High-Impact Corporate Training [Explained]

Are you wondering about which online learning format to choose for your organization? You have arrived at the right place. In this blog, you will get to explore four of the popular online learning formats and their benefits – and the good news is, you can use them simultaneously. With the pandemic making in-person training a very remote possibility, and the globalization of businesses, even organizations relying on classroom training are now looking to online avenues. And if you think online learning will be ineffective due to the absence of an instructor, well most online learning formats such as eLearning and microlearning fill this gap in creative, engaging ways. Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT) and social learning offer learners the benefit of human interaction – between peers and between the learner and instructor.

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Table of Contents

What Are the 4 Popular Online Learning Formats?

What Are the 4 Popular Online Learning Formats?

1. Evergreen ‘eLearning’

eLearning, contrary to popular misconceptions isn’t publishing a well-designed classroom PowerPoint deck with an eLearning authoring tool, nor is it digital job-aids. eLearning is learning facilitated by technology – for its design, development, deployment, and delivery.

And eLearning can be very easy to start as it can leverage existing classroom training material. Effective eLearning courses make learners active participants and not just screen gazers. They are based on instructional design strategies and adult learning principles and leverage eLearning authoring tools.

With eLearning, you can develop courses once and use them in multiple ways for different learner groups. Rapid eLearning is a faster, leaner form of custom eLearning that helps organizations roll out training with scale, speed, and quality.

Instructional Design: How to Create Compelling eLearning?

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses

Design Learner-Centric eLearning

  • Importance of ID Strategies in eLearning
  • Parameters to Select the Right ID Strategy
  • ID Strategies for Effective Results
  • Case Studies
Download eBook

Some characteristics of eLearning:

  • Based on performance-based learning objectives that cascade from organizational goals
  • Needs the involvement of subject matter experts (SMEs) and facilitators
  • Can be designed as standalone courses or a curriculum of modules (on each topic)

Watch this video to learn how Generative AI can enhance your eLearning design.

2. Maximal ‘Microlearning’

Microlearning is short eLearning courses – each covering one learning objective comprehensively. With microlearning, relevant and concise learning modules can be delivered to learners – for learning or for performance support.

Microlearning is a logical response to today’s fast-paced society and learners driven toward short learning bytes accessible easily. Since microlearning modules are short, focused, and mobile-compatible, it is an effective way to ensure your employees have access to learning whenever needed. They can look up what they need without having to sift through bulky books or lengthy eLearning courses.

And microlearning isn’t just limited to videos or performance support. Microlearning modules can be used:

  • As standalone training courses
  • To offer reinforcement and practice opportunities
  • As components in a blended learning program

The interesting aspect is that microlearning courses can be designed in several formats which ensures form follows function. Here’s an infographic enlisting the 10 best examples of microlearning formats.

10 Best Examples of Microlearning Assets

3. Vibrant ‘VILT’

Virtual Instructor-led Training (VILT) is a training approach where the learner and instructor meet at the same time – online through videoconferencing software – though situated in different locations, in a virtual replica of brick-and-mortar classrooms.

If you think a webinar might well take the place of VILT – here’s some food for thought. A webinar is a one-way communication with the presenter doing much of the talking. Participants get to share their opinions, and feedback, or answer questions through polls – which doesn’t leave much room for collaboration. The main essence of virtual classrooms – collaboration – is missing in webinars.

Virtual classrooms give participants the opportunity to participate and collaborate actively, engage in group activities, and share their learning.

Here’s a comprehensive list of popular collaboration activities that can be used in a VILT session:

  • Chats for textual communication
  • Polls to collect opinions, stimulate recall, or quiz learners
  • ‘Raise hand’ option to ask questions or bring something to the notice of the instructor
  • Annotations to help learners type an answer or pick favorites from a pool of alternatives
  • Breakout rooms or virtual rooms where small groups of learners can meet to discuss, share opinions, and participate in group activities. Results and findings from discussions in breakout rooms can be shared in the main session.
Instructional Design: How to Create Compelling eLearning?

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses

Design Learner-Centric eLearning

  • Importance of ID Strategies in eLearning
  • Parameters to Select the Right ID Strategy
  • ID Strategies for Effective Results
  • Case Studies
Download eBook

4. Super ‘Social Learning’

Social learning creates a collaborative environment for employees and encourages teamwork. Many organizations are now turning to social media to provide human interaction. It enables employees to collaborate and communicate without any boundaries – with peers and instructors.

Employees can share tips, tricks, and advice with their co-workers – and these can be moderated if needed. Employees can be kept posted about the latest happenings and company news. A learning management system (LMS) can be used to set up chat rooms and discussion forums on various topics or for different teams/functions.

Here are some ideas to use social learning effectively:

  • Create groups on social media platforms such as LinkedIn or Facebook for learners to connect and network.
  • Post announcements about upcoming courses, including easy-access links to videos on YouTube.
  • Use the “story” feature of platforms such as Instagram, Snapchat, and Facebook to highlight the benefits of the course, key takeaways, etc.
  • Post blogs that quickly brush up on information your learners must be acquainted with.
  • Have learners participate in assignments on social media platforms. For instance, ask them to create a story using Twittories or chain through their tweets.
  • Post microlearning resources such as videos, interactive PDFs, and infographics on your social media platforms.

Social Learning: Useful Tips for its Application in Online Training

Parting Thoughts

It’s time to ditch the outdated training manuals and fixed training schedules! Embrace the digital future of corporate training with online learning formats. With the 4 online formats discussed in this blog at your disposal, you can craft engaging, learner-centric experiences that empower your employees, boost knowledge retention, and ultimately drive business success. Are you ready to unlock your team's full potential by crafting high-impact, relevant training courses? Before you jump right into the eLearning design and development part, it’s important to have a thorough understanding of instructional design strategies as they play a key role in ensuring engaging, effective eLearning courses. Check out our eBook on instructional design strategies to make sure you’re heading in the right direction. Download now!

Editor's note: This post was originally published on May 28, 2021 and has been updated for comprehensiveness.

Instructional Design Strategies to Design Engaging eLearning Courses