“See any detour as an opportunity to experience new things.”
– H. Jackson Brown, Jr.
You have been delivering training in the traditional, face-to-face classroom environment. All your trainings – be it compliance, onboarding or safety training – this is the route you have always taken. Now, you have a problem. Over the years, your company expanded, welcoming an increasing number of employees. Budgets are not always generous. You also are experiencing more turnover than before. It means, you spend a lot of time, money, and energy in training an employee and when that person chooses to leave you in a couple of months, your investment is wasted.
Is there a way you could optimize your resources and yet not compromise training? Yes, you need to take a detour and you will experience new opportunities. In this case, it is e-learning or online training. Online courses can be created quickly with the help of rapid authoring tools.
What are rapid authoring tools?
Rapid authoring tools are software packages that provide a skeletal structure that enable you to jump start creating an online course. In other words, e-learning authoring tools provide you a framework to collate all your learning objects – text, graphics, videos, and other multimedia elements into an instructionally sound format that is interactive and engaging to learners. Because of this feature, even if you don’t have any programming or coding knowledge, you can still go ahead and create an online course.
You start from what you have on hand. You have an existing classroom course content – it could be PPTs developed by trainers, related videos, training material shared with participants as PDF documents or spiral-bound hard copies. You also have digital content developed by the marketing or HR department. All these form the raw material for developing your e-learning course. You create a course flow and integrate various elements in an appropriate manner.
Which authoring tool is right for me and where can I get it?
Many authoring tools are available in the market. Most popular ones are Articulate 360, Lectora Inspire, and Adobe Captivate. You can take a subscription for these tools monthly or annually. . There are however, many freeware and lesser known authoring tools that might just do for you. Just google ‘free e-learning authoring tools’ and you will get a list of latest articles giving recommendations. The best option is to download the trial version, use it, and see if it works for you. Check out this article that talks about the factors you need to consider before choosing an authoring tool.
You also need to remember that e-learning development is not a simple process and involves learning experts such as instructional designers, multimedia developers, and technology experts. If you think you don’t have the bandwidth to have a full-fledged e-learning team within your organization, you can also consider outsourcing your requirement to an external service provider. The internal team can then do the maintenance and regular updating of content.
Less Money, Less Time…Really?
Investing in authoring tools or outsourcing to an e-learning vendor costs money. So, how is it less expensive to go in for online training instead of the traditional ILT training – you may ask. Well, e-learning does involve initial investment. But, it is like an asset that you can use over and over again. When you create an online onboarding course, you can assign to X who joined today. Assign the same course to Y who will join next week and Z who will join next year. All you need to do is send a registration link to the learner on his/her email id – it is that simple. Oh yes, in the meanwhile if you need to update the course content a bit here and there, it can easily be done through these latest authoring tools.
On the contrary, if you have to arrange for an ILT session, you will have to wait until there is a decent number to justify instructor time and classroom space (or hotel space, in case it is outside your company premises). You will have to invest in ferrying people to and from the venue, lodge them in case they are from outstation. All this is dead expense. Whereas what you invest in e-learning is something that reaps benefits in the long run.
If you have never considered online training for your employees, it is time you give it a thought. You need not shift completely to online training but consider moving one or two training programs with high footfall to e-learning. This might ease the pressure on your internal team and also pave way to gear up to future demands.