Launching an online training program is much easier than many business owners think. In fact, with a learning management system, it is easy to roll out a training program for just a dozen employees or for thousands of employees. Moreover, with an online training program, overhead is reduced, and one can be rest assured that the cost of the program will be appropriately scaled to the size of their workforce. Whatever the scale of your online training program, however, it is important to begin by asking the right questions. Below, we explore 5 questions to ask when launching an online training program.
Will employees primarily access the training modules on a desktop or laptop or mobile device?
As a rule, if students will primarily be accessing modules on their desktop or laptop, the length of the training module can be longer and more involved. If they will primarily be accessing the training modules on a tablet or smartphone, however, as a rule of thumb, one should keep the modules short to ensure higher rates of completion. For this reason, it’s important to chunk your content appropriately. Knowing how and where your employees will access training materials will enable you to create device-specific modules and raise completion rates. After all, if most of your employees will be accessing the modules on their phone, focusing on 20- to 30-minute video modules may not be strategic.
Do you want employees to have continued access to completed modules?
You may want employees to complete modules and move on, but depending on the content, you may in fact want employees to be able to continue accessing old modules in the months or years to come. Decide in advance if the modules should have a specific time frame (only be accessible for a few days or weeks with the aim of pushing people through the training) or be available permanently as an archive.
How will new knowledge be tested?
There are many ways to ensure employees have understood a training module. Some common testing options include:
- Written Reflections: These are best used when assessing students’ general understanding and engagement and attempting to promote collaborative learning.
- Discussion Forums: Online discussion forums can also promote students’ collaboration and help to monitor engagement.
- Polls/Surveys: This approach can be used to promote engagement, assess whether or not students have completed a module, and gather vital data on what training areas still need more attention.
- Gamify Assessment: Depending on the content of the course, consider gamifying your assessment process by creating engaging game-based modules that push students to keep “playing” until they have mastered the materials in question.
- Quizzes: This approach is best used when you want to truly gauge students’ prior or acquired knowledge.
- Certification Exams: In some instances, you may want to award a certificate at the completion of a course; in this case, a longer certification exam may be most appropriate.
Will you build in collaboration?
While some online training is best carried out independently (e.g., if you’re onboarding employees in a smaller company), in other cases, online training can be used to promote online collaboration. If many of your employees work remotely, use your online training program to promote new collaborative online work skills (e.g. require employees who don’t regularly work face-to-face to work together to complete a module).
How urgent is completion?
Training is always important but some training may be more essential than other types of training. For example, if you are rolling out training on a new compliance issue (e.g., you run a home health care business and need to train 85 remote caregivers on new HIPAA rules), you want to ensure that every employee completes the training module as soon as possible and ensure that every employee fully understands the implications of not being in compliance with the new regulations. To ensure that no one slips through the cracks or completes a module without understanding the content, use online tracking tools to monitor your employees’ completion rates. In addition to tracking completion rates, use your learning management system to send automatic reminders to employees who have not yet completed the required course. In short, let your learning management system take on the unpleasant work of monitoring employees’ training progress.