Online employee training has proven to be an invaluable tool in the past year. With the COVID-19 pandemic ripping through communities in 2020, many companies had to innovate. Even now, with many areas moving closer to a normal state, there are still concerns that have businesses looking for long-term solutions that are safe and effective.
One of the biggest resources organizations have tapped into is eLearning. It’s extremely flexible, making it possible for employees to train from home. Even those who live across state lines or country borders can access training materials and participate in classes just like local employees.
eLearning developers have gotten creative with their platforms. Learning management systems offer new and improved features that increase productivity and knowledge retention while reducing the back-end workload that once burdened trainers and management.
According to an ILX Group survey, over 50% of HR decision-makers reported that eLearning has a direct effect on increasing employee morale, retention, and job satisfaction.
The Journal of Applied Psychology reported that microlearning specifically makes the training process 17% more effective. Microlearning is supported by most modern LMSs and is rapidly growing among corporate users.
Time is money, and online training requires less time. A Brandon Hall study discovered that eLearning cuts employee training time by between 40% and 60% compared to in-person classes.
And for executives and business owners who are concerned about their bottom line, IBM reported that every dollar invested in eLearning results in $30 in productivity. Workers learn new skills faster so they can return to their jobs and start helping the business generate profits.
Many businesses jumped into eLearning because of the pandemic. However, some have done so to different degrees. While many dove head-first and went completely online, others only dipped their toes in with the expectation of returning to in-person training.
It’s clear that the world still faces problems with the virus. And even if that wasn’t the case, there are many advantages to training your workforce online. If you are interested in getting started or want to push your training program to a completely digital format, then you need to have a plan to make the transition as smooth as possible.
Identify Your Roadblocks and Find a Way Around Them
Businesses face challenges when they make big changes. And switching to an online training program is considered a big change. Make sure you know what to expect and what might get in the way before you begin. This will allow you to plan for obstacles and find ways around them.
A good way to get started is to conduct a needs assessment. This should cover your overall business strategy, not just any training gaps that eLearning can fill.
This process will help you establish a foundation for your new training program. You can see what needs to be included, what should be prioritized, and anything that might slow or stop the process. This information should be applied as you work through development and implementation.
Build Your Online Training Curriculum
You will have to consider many factors when building a curriculum. How will you simplify complex topics to make them easier to understand? How will you bridge knowledge gaps?
Your curriculum should be clear and concise. You should have defined goals that trainees understand from the beginning of each course. This will help them put the information into context and stay on top of progress. If they don’t feel like they are reaching that goal, then they can request additional assistance.
Employee training may require a hands-on component. Is this something a digital environment can provide? Many LMS platforms now support augmented and virtual reality as well as simulations. These are a great alternative to in-person, hands-on demonstrations.
Some include innovative features like video demos that allow a trainee to record themselves completing a task. The video can be sent to a trainer or supervisor for review.
Ease into Virtual Training with Test Courses
You are not required to force your team to move to a 100% online training environment all at once. It can be helpful to ease them into it with test courses.
Organize a few test events that allow your team to experience eLearning. See how they perform during the event and ask for feedback afterward. This is also a good way to uncover obstacles that might have been missed in your original assessment.
Find out what might slow learners down now so you can find a better method and launch a successful online training program.
Discover Your Team’s Hidden Subject Matter Experts
Hiring new instructors and consultants can be costly – especially when you may already have knowledgeable people on your team. Find out who your hidden subject matter experts are and utilize them.
These are the people who have significant experience and a deeper level of knowledge of a topic that you need to teach. They can provide insight into what information to include in a course or even serve as the instructor. You can film pre-recorded classes or host webinars with your subject matter experts.
Subject matter experts can also be listed as go-to people for questions and training support.
Have Supplemental Resources Ready and Accessible
Most LMS platforms include a file repository or library. This is meant to serve as a centralized location for materials and resources. It can include workbooks, forms, instruction sheets, and anything else that might be needed by your team.
Make sure you have one of these ready to provide self-serve support options. Doing so allows employees to work independently as they get comfortable with new skills or job roles during and after training.
Remember to keep your supplemental resources up to date so everyone has access to the most recent developments and changes.
Provide an LMS Intro Class for Everyone
Your team won’t get much use out of eLearning if they don’t know how to use it. One of the first things that should be taught is how to navigate your LMS.
Workers at all levels of your company should be given access to an introduction class. This should cover the basics like logging in, finding courses, and accessing user profiles. The better your team understands the system, the more use they will get out of it.
You should also provide additional training anytime new features are added or when existing functions are changed.
Continue Gathering Feedback on Training
Your team is a valuable source of feedback for your training program. Have a feedback process in place to learn more about which courses were beneficial and which were not. This will allow you to continue improving your online training program over time.
Many LMS platforms provide a built-in feedback feature. Learners can review instructors and courses or share suggestions. You can compare this information to stats to get an idea of what training components may be missing or underperforming.
Find an LMS That Meets Your Business Needs
The eLearning industry has grown significantly in recent years. There are many platforms to choose from, each offering a unique list of features. Figure out what your team needs and find an LMS that provides it. You can get started by visiting LMS.org to read reviews and more.