When you’re designing an online training programme based on previous classroom training material, the first instinct can be to simply digitise your existing content. Creating a successful online training programme, however, isn’t that simple.
Delivering knowledge to learners through digital media like websites, videos, chats, and images requires you to build entirely new frameworks that work specifically for online learning. For instance, showing learners Powerpoint slides in a digital classroom is not going to be enough to hold their attention, let alone engage them in a meaningful way. Instead, you’ll have to think in terms of creatively adapting your existing content for the digital medium to get people interested in your programme.
In this article, we will take you through the many steps you need to take to move your face-to-face training programme online. We will also go over the challenges you might face along the way and suggest proven ways of overcoming them.
Challenges You Might Face
The online learning industry has been expanding rapidly since the beginning of this century, growing by over 900% since 2000! Watching online videos is currently the most preferred method of learning among people aged 16-54 in the UK, while another 28% report they would find an online course more enjoyable than an in-person classroom environment. These figures reiterate the fact that the internet is fast becoming more of a learning platform than simply a source of entertainment.
If you are a student educator or a business owner looking to create a training course for your employees, you’ve probably thought about taking your physical training programmes online. What you probably haven’t given much thought to are the unique challenges this process entails. Let’s look at some of the difficulties you are likely to come up against as you make a transition to internet-based learning.
Poor Technical Literacy Among Learners
Not everyone signing up for your online training programme can be expected to be tech-savvy or conversant with the latest technology. In fact, a 2018 study by the US Department of Education found that only 16% of working-age adults were digitally literate. Many people in the older demographics might not be familiar with tools like Zoom or Dropbox. Some may need help logging into their accounts, while others might need to learn how to take an online test or complete an assessment on the internet. To avoid this, you can use the first session of your course to familiarise your learner group with all the different digital tools they might need to use through the course of your online programme.
Difficulty Holding Learner’s Attention
Unless your programme is specifically designed to capture and retain the attention of learners day after day, you may find some of them are either dropping out or not participating as actively as necessary. One way to avoid this is to introduce digital-friendly components into your programme like explainer videos, audio presentations, images, music, games, and puzzles. Breaking up your curriculum into bite-sized segments or modules is another way to keep your audience engaged.
Not having your learners in the same room as you means that they could be open to countless distractions that draw their attention away from the learning material. Actively pursuing learner participation and involvement in the programme is key to ensuring that they do not get bored and remain sufficiently motivated to pay constant attention. After all, you don’t want your learners to be clearing their inboxes or chatting with a friend online while the programme is on. Snap polls, quizzes, and pop tests are some of the tools you can use to ensure learners remain focussed on the programme.
Steps To Move Your Training Online
Now that we’ve got a better understanding of the potential pitfalls along the way, let’s focus on the steps necessary to successfully take your in-person training programme online.
Set Learning Goals
The first step in designing an effective online programme is establishing the purpose and objectives behind it. Setting up tangible learning goals is how you keep yourself aligned with the overall direction and emphasis of your programme. Some of your goals could be as follows:
- Offering high-quality education or training
- Developing a relatable course for learners
- Offering learners time-flexibility to complete the programme
- Prioritising the needs and learning styles preferred by learners
- Ensuring the user interface is accessible and easy to use
Setting relevant goals will help you design a programme that meets your objectives as well as your learner’s needs.
Get Your Content Together
While transitioning your programme to the online mode, you don’t have to throw your existing face-to-face content out the window and start from scratch. Much of it will still be useful online and just needs to be adapted for online consumption. Existing reading material can be reimagined into engaging content like quizzes, gaming, group activities, discussions, videos, and much more.
Developing content for your online course is also an excellent opportunity to review your existing content and see if there are any gaps or inconsistencies that need to be fixed. You could also refer to competitor learning modules to see if you are missing out on important sections or to be inspired by fresh ways of presenting your existing material.
Think About Your Teaching Methods
Traditional classroom learning typically happens via lectures, slideshows, and book reading. The efficacy of your online training programme will fall woefully short if you still depend on just these methods. The absence of a physical classroom setup means that you’ll need to put in extra effort to make your training material engaging and participative.
To accomplish this, you need to focus on ‘active learning.’ Active learning is where learners take a much more proactive stand (rather than a passive one) through activities like problem-solving, case studies, role-playing, games, debates, and peer learning. Educators believe that using games in education, for example, provides opportunities for deeper learning. Design your online training programme around the four key functions of active learning — thinking, discussing, investigating, and creating. In this way, if you personalise your learning methods to suit your students’ individual needs, you will see better results.
Divide The Curriculum Into Modules
Creating smaller modules breaks the curriculum down into chunks that are easier to understand and retain over time. Organising your programme into modules can help build a coherent learning path for learners that isn’t daunting. Make sure you take into account the following factors while designing modules for your programme:
- How long is each lecture going to be?
- Which interactive methods can you use to make the class more interesting?
- How can you encourage students to participate more actively in class?
- In what sequence will you arrange the modules and activities?
Test Your Course And Make Changes
Before you launch your online learning programme, test it on a smaller audience and gather feedback from them. You can even have your colleagues or employees try the course and share their thoughts and impressions. Use valuable suggestions to make changes to the programme. Once you are happy with the final version of your programme prototype, you can start thinking about the next steps, which include deciding on a pricing model and choosing the right Personalized Learning Environment (PEL) platform.
Choose The Right PLE platform
After you’ve designed the programme and are ready to enroll learners, you will need a platform to host it. Hosting platforms like these, known as personalised learning environments (PLE), provide a space where educators and businesses can deliver learning experiences. With a platform like Learnium, you can hold online classes and create private communities for users to collaborate and participate in group activities. Since Learnium is optimised for mobile phone use, it can be used easily from anywhere. Our platform also allows educators to effectively monitor and analyse their learners’ progress.
Build Communities With Learnium
The strategies discussed above can help you convert your face-to-face training programme into a successful, interesting, and rewarding online experience. Reach out to Learnium If you need help anywhere along the way while designing an online training programme or choosing the right PLE.
At Learnium, we believe that every online learning community must be able to cater to its learners’ needs with the latest tools that digital technology has to offer. With Learnium, you can make your digital community more inclusive, accessible, and most importantly – private. Our fully customizable platform allows educators to host lectures and webinars, share resources, chat with students, and collaborate to make learning easier and more fun!