Although being only a part of a large training process in a company, a single training program still demands careful attention and a consistent approach. Because of a greater need for remote learning during the past two years, companies continue to look for ways to move training online successfully.
This article will guide you through the process of launching an online training program and provide an action plan that you can implement in your company. And since the most effective learning and development (L&D) leaders align their training program with the goals of their organization, that will be the first step in our process.
Step 1: Figure Out Your Tasks, Needs, and Goals
Setting clear objectives and adhering to them will provide a good foundation for your training program. What do you need to achieve with training: boost employee commitment and reduce turnover, or develop a new product? Think about it and formulate specific goals.
If you’re feeling a little stuck, here are a few questions to help:
- Why do your employees need training?
- How will the launch of this training help your customers?
- What processes will be improved?
- How do managers want employees to perform?
- What will happen if there’s no training for new hires, customer service, teams, or other groups?
These questions will help you determine your expectations with the training program. It’s also a good idea to conduct a comprehensive training needs assessment, so you can make informed decisions later on.
Step 2: Decide on the Training Method
A training program can be based on one of the common learning delivery methods:
- Face-to-face training: An instructor guides learners through the training process, and all activities are conducted in an actual or virtual classroom environment, simultaneously. Also, face-to-face training can be presented in the form of coaching/mentoring sessions or on-the-job training provided by colleagues.
- Online learning: Learners progress through online training content (courses, quizzes, simulations, etc.) in a self-paced manner, asynchronously. They can get feedback from course authors/instructors and see their real-time progress.
- Blended learning: A blended training program combines offline and online activities. For example, your learners can have online training materials for pre-study and then discuss them at seminars and workshops with an instructor.
You can use the blended approach to transition smoothly from F2F training to online learning. When mixing existing training practices with newly created online courses, you can see which parts of a training now work better, and evaluate the possibility of making them entirely online.
Step 3: Plan the Curriculum
Depending on the tasks that you want to address, your training program can be dedicated to the following corporate cornerstones:
- New hire onboarding: Company culture, mission, policies, organizational structure, etc.
- Compliance training: Industry standards, safety regulations, policies, and procedures to prevent violations of the law in the workplace.
- Product knowledge training: Product assortment, range of services, product features, and updates.
- Sales and customer service training: Sales models and techniques, objection handling and negotiation and communication skills.
- Hard skills training: Job-specific or technical skills needed to perform daily tasks.
- Soft skills training: Interpersonal competencies like active listening, empathy, leadership, and conflict mediation that foster team morale and help achieve business success.
When planning the contents of your program, don’t be afraid to combine various types of online training activities. Your program will benefit from being interactive, rather than purely formal or informational. After consultation with subject matter experts, you can choose the proper format for each case. Here are a few ideas:
- A short welcome video for newly enrolled learners.
- Interactive quizzes to assess learners’ baseline competency level.
- E-books comprising job aids and manuals.
- Online courses with knowledge checks.
- Hands-on video tutorials.
- Assignments or open-ended questions to assess knowledge deeply.
- Dialogue simulations and other scenario-based activities.
Step 4: Build Training Content
To create online training materials, you’ll need eLearning authoring software. This is a specific type of software that enables you to make all types of content, including courses, interactions, assessments, videos, and games.
You can outsource course development to specialized companies or specialists who are proficient with major authoring tools and have decent information technology (IT) skills. But that’s not an option if you need a more cost-efficient solution or would prefer to develop content in-house.
Don’t worry: Authoring tools range in complexity and ease of use, and some of them don’t require any prior experience, IT skills, or complex IT deployment. With these, you can create materials for your training program just the way you usually prepare slides.
Or, if you already have some docs, PDFs or PowerPoint presentations that can be used in training, authoring software will enable you to convert them into eLearning format easily. This won’t require external help and additional costs, and you can launch your training program sooner.
Step 5: Deliver Your Training Program
Typically, organizations choose a learning management system (LMS) to deliver online training to employees. You can opt for an LMS too, as it is a single platform where employees can take your programs and is a reliable way of administrating all training matters.
An LMS makes it easy to store courses and programs in one place, enroll learners, give assignments and collect training results. Here, you can organize individual training programs for specific positions or groups of learners. You can combine various materials into one compound program, set the order that the chapters can be viewed, the completion date and other specifications. The system will enroll learners in the needed program automatically.
At the final stage of your training program delivery, you can use an LMS to establish a certification system in your company. Some systems can automatically issue certificates upon successful completion of any kind of program.
With the above tips, you should be ready to get started. Good luck with your online training program!