9 Questions to Ask before Creating an Online Employee Training Course
Most of the time, the process of creating a new e-learning course starts months before it becomes available to employees. The design of the training includes multiple steps and may require the approval of different stakeholders within the organization. Nothing should be left to chance, and everything must be thought out and tested to ensure not only a perfect result, but also the highest return on investment.
Shortcomings in training can usually be linked to lack of planning and/or research, more rarely to a deficit in information or budget. So, how is it possible to avoid negative outcomes? As an e-learning specialist, what should you keep in mind to develop successful online courses?
Here you can find our list of nine useful questions to ask yourself before creating a new e-learning training for employees:
Why is this training important?
Performing an in-depth analysis of the current state of art, the training delivered, and the desired result is an essential step to successfully design a new course. All these pieces of information, properly analyzed, should help you to draw up the structure of the training, its goals, and how to achieve your objectives.
Having a structured method will help you identify the gaps in current training and prevent the creation of useless courses for problems that training can't solve.
What are the learning objectives?
Every course will have its own set of objectives, and it's essential that each person participating in the course creation or validation has those clearly outlined before starting work. Learning objectives help to define the knowledge or skills the learners will apply after taking the course. Additionally, they will help you to break down the content into digestible chunks that are easy to remember and apply.
If you need help to define your learning goals, Bloom’s Taxonomy can help you to select the most appropriate ones and to write them clearly.
Who is your target audience?
Are you creating a course for experts, or are they new to the field? Do they have the same background and experience? Have they already taken this course before, or is the topic completely new to them? Do they all have the same level of comfort with technology?
A good understanding of your target audience can help you to focus only on the information in the course that’s relevant to them.
Will there be localization afterward?
Corporations with global teams are aware of the importance and value of localized learning—not only to reach a broader audience, but also to boost the effectiveness of training, employee morale, retention, and loyalty to global teams.
Developing courses in English is a good way to reach a wider audience, yet there are some limitations. By contrast, localized courses allow companies to include the totality of the global workforce, increasing retention of the content and raising productivity. However, the localization process is complex and can be lengthy. To avoid pitfalls, design your source materials with localization in mind.
How do you choose the right content for the right audience?
Now that you have defined (a) why you want to create the course, (b) what the learners should be able to do after taking it, and (c) who the target audience is, you can start selecting the content. Like an experienced sailor with a map and compass, you’re finally able to navigate the sea of materials and select the most appropriate information and format to meet the objectives.
On this topic there are several theories: Some learning specialists believe that the more content is provided, the better it is for the learner. In reality, redundant information can discourage course takers and reduce attention. At the same time, too little information and poor content quality could also lead to confusion.
Is online delivery your best option?
Consider the following when deciding which channel you want to use to deploy the course:
- Is interaction with learners required?
- Does the course require one-to-one tutoring?
- Are practical exercises needed on-site?
- Is the content of the course generic, or does it include specifics?
- Does the content require frequent updates?
- Can you consider your learners “tech savvy”? Are they familiar with the internet, the LMS platform, and online types of training? Are they a generation/job type that is often on their phone (sales, millennials)?
- Which type of content are you managing?
Online training effectiveness is proven in addressing knowledge and skills gaps, but when it comes to highly customized, job-specific content, other types of training may work better.
If you’ve decided to create your course in an e-learning format, it’s now time to select the best technology to support you. When determining which authoring tools you should use, look at the vast features offered by each option. There is not one tool that works well for every type of course. Depending on your objectives, type of learners, and content, as well as the experience you want to create, there are multiple options available. It’s a pity to limit yourself to always using the same authoring tool for all the e-learning courses you want to build.
The accessibility of online courses has changed the way people learn. Now more than ever, people have the opportunity to access training whenever they want, simply with their smartphones. It’s important to take several factors into consideration if you’re evaluating mobile learning (m-learning). In this regard, you will also need to consider the mobile responsiveness of your chosen LMS.
How will you ensure participation?
Engagement is essential. Involve your learners from the very beginning with surveys and by creating a learning culture in your organization. Support your learners in their self-improvement to achieve their career goals. Engage them with rewards and badges. Create competitions and a positive atmosphere toward training, and always keep the lines of communication open. Learners are your primary source of improvement.
How will you measure and evaluate results?
Make sure you’re able to measure the success of your e-learning initiative. While discussing the previous points, we mentioned the importance of selecting quantifiable and attainable goals and objectives. It’s essential to determine how effective your course has been.
Quizzes, exercises, and surveys can definitely help you figure out what worked well in your training and what can be improved, but an in-depth analysis of key performance indicator metrics, costs, and performance results is also needed to evaluate the return on investment. The success of your training will mostly depend on the time and effort you put into planning and researching.
Now you ‘re finally ready to start creating your e-learning course! With all the information collected, you’ll be able to prepare a clear brief for your instructional designers, developers, testers, and external partners.
TransPerfect experts can support you in answering all these questions, sharing our course development experience and long-term strategies for success.