At the time of writing, getting together for classroom-based training remains problematic. However, if training moves online, there may be concerns: can we do this quickly (and cost-effectively) and still ensure that the quality remains high? Fret not. With the right mindset and process, it’s a very achievable aim.
A different medium
Consider a comparable situation: live theatre has also been hamstrung by the pandemic, with drama lovers now turning to box sets and streaming services. It’s not the same thing, of course: like face-to-face training, theatre offers a different, more visceral experience that can’t simply be transplanted to the small screen. So, television has to take advantage of its own strengths: accessibility, flexibility, and the capacity to create entirely different experiences (think special effects and big-budget shows). Live theatre and TV both have their place, and often complement one another.
So we can adapt a play for the small screen, but we need to consider the strengths and weaknesses of the new format. The same goes for converting classroom training to elearning; you’ll need to make yourself familiar with what’s possible and what’s been proven to be effective. Luckily, elearning has its advantages:
- Learners can work at their own pace at a time that’s convenient to them
- Content can be presented effectively using an engaging mix of media
- Learners can get personalized experiences based on their knowledge and preferences
- All learner activity can be logged to create a personal learning record.
Perhaps the biggest advantage of elearning is the range of activities. You can present content in a variety of interactive ways, and, most importantly, create activities and knowledge checks that test your learners’ understanding and give them personalized feedback.
A new opportunity
We hope as you explore the possibilities, you’ll start to regard the move online as an opportunity rather than some necessary evil.
Before you begin to adapt the classroom material, it’s a good point at which to reconsider the objectives of the learning. Especially if time and cost are of the essence! Here are some good questions to ask:
- Avoid simple duplication – do you really need to cover everything in the original training?
- Have things changed? What’s really essential now?
- What do learners really need? What are the top 3 things you’d want them to know or do?
- What needs to be learning and what can be supporting reference material and resources (e.g. ‘How To’ guides or FAQs)?
If you reduce the amount of content, you automatically have a smaller job to do. Less is more! Your learners will thank you too, as attention spans are shorter online (just like when watching TV!). If a classroom session used to take half a day, try to squeeze it down to between 20 and 30 minutes. You may not succeed, but you’ll be moving in the right direction.
Think episodes not events
Next, because you’re under pressure and some topics are more urgent than others, consider a phased release. Don’t attempt to convert all your classroom sessions into elearning ahead of some grand launch; prioritize the most important courses and stagger the release of new training. This mindset also applies to individual courses – can these be released in episodes?
Additionally, once you’ve got your audience’s attention, it’s the perfect time to suggest other existing content. Learning Pool’s Stream LXP can combine courses with curated content (from internal and external sources) and recommend them to learners based on their profile, interests, and existing knowledge.
Making it happen
If you’re currently considering moving some face-to-face training online, hopefully, this post has been of assistance. If you need more help, we’d love to hear from you to offer you support as you make this transition.
Classroom training is by no means dead. But, while it regathers itself, we can make a decent fist of filling the void.
Click the image below to download our infographic: Converting classroom training: Adapting live performance for the small screen
Ryan is a Senior Learning Designer at Learning Pool, responsible for designing and writing e-learning solutions. He joined Learning Pool (and the world of learning technology) in 2015 and since then has contributed to a variety of solutions for organisations as diverse as the Houses of Parliament, KFC, Royal Bank of Canada and the Special Olympics.
Ryan places the customer at the heart of the process, working closely with stakeholders to analyse performance needs and create enduring, effective learning solutions.
Ryan rejoices in a wide range of personal interests, including literature, film, politics and sport. He is married and has one child.