The biggest online training mistakes are often the easiest to avoid, so long as you know what you are doing and you have a plan in place. Of course, this is where a number of people drop the ball. Instead of taking the time to plan an online training course, they simply throw some ideas together, slap a name on it, and put it in place without so much as a second thought. If you’re training people, you obviously want them to learn something. How can you expect them to learn when you aren’t even sure what you’re trying to teach?
There are countless resources that will try to tell you how to create the best online training programs or what you CAN do when developing your training courses to avoid serious mistakes or problems with anything along the way. However, despite the fact that a lot of people end up making similar mistakes, very few people actually talk about what you shouldn’t be doing when it comes to developing an online training course. Keep reading to learn more about the most common online training mistakes and how to avoid them.
Do Not “Jazz it Up”
While your training shouldn’t be a monotonous, droning lecture, it also shouldn’t be so flashy that people don’t even pay attention to the content. Yes, you want to get them engaged. However, you should do that through the information itself, not by distracting them with a bunch of unnecessary bells and whistles along the way. If there something that does drive the point home a little more, feel free to use it. However, don’t use graphics, stats, special effects, or other elements that you can do without when you’re just trying to make things “look good”. It’s not about looks. It’s about learning. People are more distracted than engaged by all those extras.
Don’t Skip the Recaps and Check-Ins
Think about how you learn. Think, even, about how much easier it is to remember something the more that you hear it. The same is true with online training. One way to avoid the mistake of not giving people the best tools for their training is to provide plenty of points for checking in and providing recaps along the way. Cover a topic, then recap or do a short quiz. Then, you can cover the next topic. Once you reach the main category or umbrella topic, you can recap all the smaller points that got you there, driving them home even further. Plus, when you’re checking in with your trainees, you’ll be able to ensure that they’re on track and they understand what they are learning.
Do Not Create Without a Plan
No matter how organized you are, it is nearly impossible to create a well-rounded, properly structured, linear training course if you do not have a plan in place ahead of time. Although it was briefly mentioned, it’s a big point that deserves another mention. The best possible way to avoid the biggest online training mistakes is to have a set strategy and outline of your course before you start so that you will deliver the information that people need in a format that works for them, above all else. If you give people training material with no context or structure, you’re asking them to fill in the blanks or figure it out, and that puts a lot of responsibility on them that shouldn’t be. Decide what you want them to learn or accomplish through your online training. Make that the focus of your strategy and create your courses accordingly. You’ll see much more success in training as a result.
Do Not Expect People to be Robots
People have short attention spans and they work best in short bursts with positive reinforcement. If you hand people a long, painstaking online training module that requires them to only click through some slides and answer some questions, you’re not going to get the best results. You’re also not going to convey that you want them to acquire knowledge, not just learn enough to pass the test and parrot back to you. You do want to actually convey knowledge, after all, don’t you? People can’t just inhale information like computers can, so you need to take it back a few steps if you really want to keep people’s attention. Keep single-topic segments to about 10 minutes each without breaking up the training into more sections, giving people a chance to engage a distraction and get back to focusing faster than if you just try to force them through hours of grueling online training.
Ask and You Shall Receive
If you can manage these few things, you can go a long way in improving your online training. Remember that you’re not just trying to get something together here. You’re trying to provide people with the resources and tools that they actually need, and in a way that they can benefit from them. Online training can be a valuable resource when it is used correctly. However, because of its disconnected nature, it requires a little more finesse than standard training programs.
One of the best ways that you can figure out where and how to tweak and improve your online training is to ask your people what they want and how they learn. Ask your team leaders and managers what people need to know. Find out from vendors and clients what information is most critical for new reps to learn. If you only ask, you’ll likely find a lot more guidance than you expect to help you get your training on the right track.
The Bottom Line
By taking the time to avoid serious online training mistakes and don’ts, you will give your trainees a much better resource and get much better employees as a result. The internet is a great resource with a lot of valuable insight. Take advantage of that to make the most of your online training, even if that just means figuring out what’s working for others and copying their ideas. As long as your goals are aligned with your efforts, you’ll have no trouble avoiding the biggest online training mistakes.