You may find yourself in the position of needing to move some of your training online because face-to-face options are not available. These are some simple takeaways to help you on this journey.
Decide what’s really critical content. It will come as no surprise that learners might be distracted or not fully tuned in to what you have to say, so get to the point, and only hit the most important content. All the extras can be added as “learn more if you wish.” Instructional designers start with learning outcomes such as “the learner will be able to recall where to find the user manual.” You can do the same. If the content isn’t immediately aligned to one of those stated outcomes, keep it to the side for now.
Live or self-paced? Even in an instructor-led environment, you’ll need to decide if you should deliver training via a live conferencing tool or package the learning in a self-paced platform. Don’t think platform means an entire learning management system (LMS), although there are advantages of such. You could, in theory, build a series of simple web pages and achieve the same.
Mix it up. If you are able to mix some text with short videos (short, like 2-3 minute explainers) and graphics, give your learners a little variety. That said, don’t make it so busy that learners can’t get through the content in a reasonable amount of time. This “mix it” principle is also true for live online events. Talking at an audience without allowing them to genuinely interact, ask questions, etc. can be detrimental.
By the way, there is an amazing array of tools available for free infographic creation, clever animated videos, quiz generators, and web page creation. Just Google!
Have a call to action or an opportunity to test oneself. At the end of the training period, give your learners an opportunity to test themselves. A knowledge check that one could do repeatedly is an example. You might also give learners an opportunity to produce a work product; “OK, group, now that you’ve seen how to better organize data, build a spreadsheet and see if you meet the following criteria …”. Practice drives home the point, reinforces learning, and leaves learners with a sense of accomplishment.
Do you have to add a digital credential?If your training is robust and results in a skill set you can verify and you think the learner might want to leverage in a future job search, that might be an occasion where you’d like to add a digital credential. However, we are not suggesting adding a badge for gamification purposes. Make it matter.
Final point: Ask the learners. Right now, there is a sense of lack of control and fear of what to do next. Go ahead and package your training for virtual delivery, and make sure you ask for feedback early and frequently from your learners. They’ll help you shape your first attempts into more meaningful learning experiences!