Online training is the quickest growing segment of training. According to Training magazine, more than $92.3 billion was spent on online learning in 2020-2021; that’s nearly 12 percent higher than the previous year.
While online learning is seeing huge traffic as it becomes one of the main learning options, many trainers have faced a similar problem when it comes to delivering materials online. It’s reported that audiences have difficulties in engaging with the content provided. So, even though the option for online training is higher, the learning outcomes aren’t typically linear.
Online trainers need to update their teaching and materials brought to the audience in order to catch more attention. Here are some tips for making it as effective and memorable as possible:
Tip #1: Have a Clear Objective and Plan
When delivering online training, make sure your objective aligns with the organisation’s business objectives. Your audiences should understand how your topic(s) will help them perform better at their jobs and ultimately contribute to their company’s overall success.
The more specific you can be about what they’ll accomplish by completing your online course, the better. Before you design or deliver any content, map out each step of your plan for delivering this training together with your stakeholders – this means determining who needs to participate in certain activities.
Your stakeholders include those responsible for signing off on all stages of your online course design and delivery: the learning team, management team and key subject matter experts.
If you can’t decide what content to include in your e-learning, develop an outline based on the action steps for each component. This way, you’ll know what information will be necessary for participants to absorb or discuss.
Read Learnium’s blog post, How to Plan Your Online Learning Programme, for a step-by-step guide on everything you need to know when you first start developing your online learning course, including programmes to prioritise, ways to determine the programme framework, evaluation criteria and more.
Tip #2: Keep Learner Engagement a Priority
To keep learners engaged as they learn through e-learning, make sure that they interact with one another and with you, the trainer! Prepare every opportunity possible for participants to share experiences with their fellow learners and ask questions as they arise during your session (e.g., “Who here has used this application before?” and “What tips can you offer our new users?”).
Another tip to keep your audience engaged throughout the session is to deliver compelling content that captures their attention. You can use training videos and short infographics to share the knowledge more easily. Since videos have become an integral part of today’s internet sensation, more people will be quickly catching on to the information while watching the content rather than reading it.
For more content design ideas, read Learnium’s blog post, How to Create Content for an Online Training Programme.
Tip #3: Design for Mobile Learners
Since learners will access your online training anywhere – at home, in airports or cafés, on buses and trains – it’s essential that the content be as mobile-friendly as possible. If any of your participants like to learn through videos (which tend to be more engaging than text-based materials), make sure those videos are short and include subtitles.
If you plan to use specific software applications during your sessions, design a separate version for mobile devices and test it with actual users before launching live training.
Creating mobile-friendly learning content comes with its challenges. Find out how to address them here.
Tip #4: Provide Real Value That Meets Business Goals
To keep up with the rapidly changing business landscape, employees need to learn new skills and adapt quickly. For example, you can provide online learning for companies aiming to boost their employees’ productivity. This gives much more valuable outcomes for the target audience as you offer a service they really need.
When people see what you offer and that’s in line with what they are looking for, your service will be way more memorable than typical companies without a clear objective on their programme. That’s why you need to form the online training in a way where it meets your audience’s expectations. It allows them to engage with the whole session easily.
A really easy way to uncover your audience’s training needs is to ask them directly. For more ideas on how to pick the right training metrics, read Learnium’s blog post How to Measure the Success of Your Online Learning Programme.
Tip #5: Incorporate Engaging Activities
If your online training doesn’t include engaging activities (e.g., games, quizzes or case studies), participants will become disengaged very quickly – and you’ll lose them entirely if the content is simply too difficult for them to follow.
One way we keep learners interested and on-task are by asking them to do the following:
- Identify and write down their biggest challenge(s) related to the course topic
- Take a few minutes to submit those challenges to your Assigned Mentor (who is available via chat during each session)
- With help from the Mentor, identify one way they might overcome those challenges on their own or as a group
- At the end of class, you need to review all of the responses and choose three People’s Choice Award winners who receive $25 Amazon gift cards for sharing their thoughts on how they would solve problems at work.
For more engaging learning activities, check out this blog post.
Tip #6: Deliver Personalised Feedback and Evaluations
Online training can be quite expensive, so it’s important that participants feel like there is value in attending your sessions. One of the best ways to make sure they do this is by rewarding them with personalised feedback and evaluations.
After each session, have participants complete a simple evaluation that rates their satisfaction levels for certain aspects of training (e.g., course content, your presentation style, or the opportunity for interaction). You can then use those responses as a barometer to continue refining your e-learning programmes based on what works well and what could be improved.
Rather than treating online learning as an impersonal process – which can often lead to disengagement – make it feel more like a personal connection between yourself and your learners, which will exponentially increase their participation in future training sessions.
Find Learnium’s blog post on how to increase learning retention here.
Tip #7: Celebrate Learning at All Stages
As you begin to train online, celebrate with learners as they take their first steps toward mastering your content. Then celebrate again when – and if – they receive certification for completing your programme successfully. The more you acknowledge milestones and success during training, the more motivated you’ll keep participants and the better they’ll perform on the job!
Adding a personal feel to an e-learning training programme is essential not only from a gratification perspective but also for fighting the scene of isolation in an online-only environment. Here is how you can add the human component to your training courses.
Online Training Prediction in 2022
The web is currently the biggest platform for training but many companies are keeping up with other emerging technologies. Mobile devices have already replaced laptops as the preferred learning method, and virtual reality technology has started to be implemented in employee training programmes.
The future of online training will continue to integrate more advanced technology into e-learning. Look for augmented reality glasses or headsets that overlay images onto real-life scenarios so employees can learn by doing at their own pace – instead of being told what to do.
Holograms are also predicted to be used in online training so teams can “meet” virtually for meetings or training. Instead, they would normally see each other’s faces and facial expressions with a 3D model – mitigating issues like time zones, frequent travelling, and excuses for not making an in-person meeting.
Finally, virtual reality training will integrate more closely with augmented reality so employees can use the technology to train on real-life scenarios that are virtually recreated. Virtual simulations could be used to train medical students who would otherwise have no access or budget for multiple experiments, for example.
The rise of mobile devices and advancements in technology have enabled learning delivery methods, enhanced collaboration tools and more social approaches to online training. This will continue evolving how we deliver knowledge worldwide – especially as individuals spend more time on their mobile devices.
Traditional training methods won’t completely disappear, but they’ll become less popular with younger generations who want everything right at their fingertips – including books, research studies, courses and other virtual resources. Technology truly has transformed how we work now more than ever and it will continue to do so.
The future of online training includes a more immersive experience for employees with virtual technologies so they can learn from virtually anywhere – as long as the environment is engaging enough for them to want to use those tools instead of another method that’s been proven effective.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos (in that order).
Email: [email protected]