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Adapting to Change with Online Learning: Part 1

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There’s nothing like a global pandemic to change not only the way you do business, but the way you live.

With the advent of COVID-19 and continued social distancing efforts, the days of teacher-led business classroom training quickly became a thing of the past. With many employees working from home, using ZOOM for meetings and training rapidly gained popularity. As an emergency measure, substituting the classroom with video conferencing connections worked well, but after 19 months, many companies are replacing emergency measures with more permanent solutions for online learning.

Why Use Online Learning?

When done correctly, using technology for remote online learning has some significant advantage over traditional classroom training:
  • Consistent material delivery
  • Reduced delivery cost
  • Reduced attendance cost
  • Increased market reach
  • Student convenience
  • Improved reporting
  • No travel required
  • Opportunity to create private-label certifications
Along with these advantages, it is also important to consider costs and limitations:
  • Investment in technology
  • Investment in content development
  • Support for students in a wide variety of environments

What is Online Learning?

Online learning can be as simple as a library of “how to” videos on a YouTube channel and as complicated as a custom-built environment with specific prerequisite-driven paths and multi-tiered completion processes.

Typically, a well-developed Learning Management Systems (LMS) offers multiple forms of training material (written, graphical, audio, and video) divided into short lesson segments and organized by topic. At the conclusion of each lesson, the student is presented with a short test to determine their success in learning the material. In many instances, students who successfully complete training may be rewarded with certificates or badges.

The LMS should track each student’s progress and offer reporting on student activities, overall course participation, and completions.

Some learning environments require payment for courses, or protected access dependent upon conditions or prerequisites, such as being a registered client. There are as many ways to protect training content as there are topics, so understanding what you need for your specific environment and goals is key.

Getting Started with Web-Based Training

Prior to jumping into a new LMS, it is important to develop requirements, which simply means determining how things should work within your learning environment. Be sure to consider the environment for students as well as for those creating and managing content.

Although there are many options to consider and decisions to be made, here are a few to help get started:
  • What are the main topics or pathways of training?
  • How many courses within each pathway, and lessons within each course? Keep in mind that 5-7 minute “chunks” are optimum for online learning.
  • Do you have the resources to develop multiple training formats, such as diagrams, infographics, written documentation, demonstrational video, etc.?
  • Are you providing training for a third-party’s process or product, or your own? If so, are you licensed to do so?
  • Are you offering a certification? Is it a private certification or a third-party certification? Are there any permissions or fees involved in licensing?
  • Are there any prerequisites for your courses or certifications? Are they knowledge-based, or experience-based?
  • What behavior is expected when a student completes a lesson, course, and pathway?
  • Can students retake courses or lessons multiple times before or after testing?
  • Can students take or retake tests without reviewing lessons?
  • Will time limits be applied to the lessons, courses, and pathways, or is it self-paced?
  • What is the escalation path if a student challenges the results of a test?
  • Will all training be pre-recorded (canned) or will instructor-led sessions be provided as well?
  • Will students pay for online training? If so, is it based upon each path of study, for a specific time period, or some other mechanism?
  • What security measures will be in place for registration?
  • How will student accounts be managed and supported?
Once decisions are made regarding LMS requirements, tools can be evaluated for planning and implementation. Our next blog post will go into platform selection and the launch of online learning.

As daunting as implementing online training may seem at the onset, with a bit of preparation, some thorough evaluation, and some dedicated work, it is a feature that can yield amazing return on investment. If you are ready to explore a learning management system for your web environment and are looking for an experienced team that is focused on your success, contact us.
Adapting to Change with Online Learning: Part 2
What's the problem with SaaS Website Platforms?

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