The online training course development process starts long before you create your first storyboard or prototype. In this article, I will highlight 10 questions that every eLearning professional should ask before they start creating their next online training course.
What To Find Out BEFORE Developing Online Training Courses: 10 Questions To Ask
Planning and research are vital to the success of your online training program. You should learn as much as possible about the background of your online learners, the goals that must be achieved, as well as the performance gaps that need to be filled if you want to develop a succinct and successful online training course for your organization. Here are 10 questions that will help you narrow the scope of your online training program and ensure that all of the key takeaways are included.
- What are the organization's online training goals and objectives?
Your goals and learning objectives have an impact in every aspect of your online training course design, from the LMS you choose to the online training content you create. For this reason, it’s vital to clearly define what you want achieve, how you want to achieve it, and how it will benefit your organization as a whole. Speak with management to get their input and identify performance gaps that need to be filled. Conduct task analysis and skills assessments to figure out your strengths and areas for improvement.
- Are the goals attainable and measurable?
After you’ve narrowed down your performance goals and objectives, carefully analyze each to make sure that they are quantifiable and attainable. Can you measure the success of your online training initiatives? How are you able to determine if your organization has achieved the goals you’ve set? It’s important to have viable criteria in place so that you can measure the effectiveness of your online training program. Every goal and objective should also be realistic and attainable, or your online training initiatives will never be truly successful.
- What information do the employees really need to know?
To avoid cognitive overwhelm and ensure that your employees get the knowledge they need to do their job effectively, determine what information is necessary and what can be omitted. Keep in mind that every piece of online training content you include should tie into the goals and offer real world value. In other words, it needs be applicable on the job. Conduct online surveys, assessments, and interviews to get a clear idea of what knowledge they really need to absorb and retain in a practical sense.
- Which skill sets need to be developed?
In addition to the information you need to include, you must also identify what skills they require in the workplace. This includes current skills they need to develop as well as new skill sets that can improve their performance. Doing a thorough skills assessment will give you the opportunity to determine which skills are relevant and ties into on-the-job tasks and responsibilities.
- What will motivate the employees to actively participate?
To truly engage your employees you must have a clear idea of what drives them and makes them want to actively participate in the online training process. This will help you discover the unique motivational factors that can help them succeed. The ultimate goal is intrinsically motivate your employees so that the desire to improve themselves and achieve their objectives is the only motivation they need. Otherwise, you may have to rely on extrinsic motivators, such as rewards and badges, until you can tap into their intrinsic motivation.
- Are the employees familiar with the online training platform?
Every member of your staff should know as much as possible aboutthe LMS solution you've chosen. This includes all of the employees who will be participating in the online training program, your IT department, and upper management. It's often best to offer tutorials or walkthroughs that show them how to access the system and navigate through the online training modules well in advance.
- How can you tie the online training to real world benefits and applications?
Every online training activity, multimedia component, and text block should connect to real world applications and benefits. This is why you must clearly identify how your online training initiatives are going to offer employees real world value. Keep in mind that the purpose of your online training course is to give employees the skills and knowledge they need to be more productive and boost performance. Thus, you must ensure that every aspect of your online training course relates to real life challenges and situations.
- Will you provide support resources to employees who are struggling?
Some of your employees may struggle with your online training program. It might be that they lack the necessary tech skills or are unable to complete a particular module. The question is whether you have the tools, resources, and staff to provide these individuals with the support they need to benefit from the online training experience? This may come in the form of one-on-one mentoring, email support, or even an FAQ that covers some of the basic questions and concerns.
- Can you create a supportive online training culture with the tools at your disposal?
Your online training program should not be a short-term solution that addresses your performance gaps. In fact, it should be a part of an ongoing online training initiative that involves a supportive online training community. Stress the importance of your online training courses and make your employees feel like they play an important role in the online training process.
- Is the organization ready for online training?
In some cases, you may find that your employees aren't quite ready for online training. For one reason or another they are reluctant to step into the virtual training environment. For this very reason, it's important to stress the benefits of your online training program and emphasize how it can improve their work performance. Get them excited about the upcoming online training course and let them know what's in it for them.
In addition to asking each of these questions before you create your online training course, you may also want to address them just before launch to ensure that you're still on target. In fact, you may even want to keep them on-hand throughout the online training course design process to help you stay on track and focused on the primary performance goals.
Also interested in learning how online training can benefit your employees depending on the stage of employment they are? Read the article Online Training Needs Analysis For Each Of The 5 Stages Of Employment to discover the different online training needs your employees may have at each stage of employment and how to adjust your corporate online training design accordingly.