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How to Create Online Training: The Definitive Guide [2020]

How to Create Online Training:
The Definitive Guide [2020]

Today we’ll take you through the complete process you should follow to create an online training program for your business.

We’ll give you proven tips on how to build online training that:


  • Scales with your business

  • Saves you time on admin

  • Gives you actionable insights

  • Changes behaviour

Whether this is your first time creating online training content, or it’s your 100th, this guide has been designed to help you understand the importance of choosing the right tools, building the right content, and implementing your training in the most effective way.

Let’s dive right in.

Today we’ll cover:

What is Online Training?

Why is Online Training Important?

How to Create an Online Training Program

How to Choose an Authoring Tool

How to Choose an LMS

How to Implement Online Training

CHAPTER 1

What is Online Training?

Online training covers a broad range of training types including; e-courses, video lectures, assessments, and simulations.

There are a number of different names for it; online employee training, digital learning, eLearning, computer-based training, online learning and so many more!

Put simply, online training is just that. Training your team online. This can be done using a selection of tools like; video, resource libraries, slides, animations, quizzes etc.

As 2020 has shown us, the landscape of upskilling teams has seen a massive pivot.

According to a report released by LinkedIn, Instructor Led Training budgets are decreasing, while online learning budgets are increasing.

Training Budget Shift - LinkedIn Learning Report 2020

Couple that with the fact that a growing number of businesses who’ve previously relied on face-to-face training, workshop sessions or in-person coaching are now looking for ways to make their training available online to support their remote workforce.

CHAPTER 2

Why is Online Training Important?

Technology has been such a game-changer and is reshaping the way we learn.

Online courses have made learning much more exciting, widely available worldwide and are shortening the learning curve.

So if you’re still not convinced that you should introduce online courses into your business, here are 15 reasons why you should:

15 reasons why you should switch from On-Site to Online Training

1.It's More Accessible

In this day-and-age, online courses are designed to be completed from a variety of devices.

This provides a much better experience for the learner, giving trainees the option of mobility instead of being stuck in a classroom.

2. It Reduces Lost Productivity

When you give your team the freedom to schedule their training as they see fit, they feel empowered and productivity doesn’t get compromised.

3. It can be Self-Paced

Not everyone learns at the same pace or in the same way. Good training is able to cater to the different personality profiles that we commonly find in business.

Having your training delivered online allows your team to drive their learning, which means they can spend more time absorbing more complex concepts or they can speed up if they feel they’re competent in a particular topic.

4. It Helps with Change Management

Think about the rate of change we see in businesses, now…

Whether it’s a new or seasonal product release, or a change in policy, regulations or process,  these can be easily incorporated into new training modules, quickly and efficiently.

Whether it’s content delivered online or the recording of a presentation delivered live, you can easily turn it into an online training module and share relevant information with your team.

5. It Increases Speed-to-Competency

eLearning requires 40%-60% less employee time than learning through a traditional classroom setting.

When you remove some of the barriers, such as accessibility and allowing learners to go at their own pace, you give them the ability to focus on learning.

As a result, learning happens faster than in a normal classroom setting.

6. It Increases Revenue/Reduces Overheads

While a RedSeed survey of businesses who used online retail sales training saw  higher growth in sales than those who didn’t, Shift Learning also found in their research that 42% of the companies surveyed said that eLearning has led to an increase in revenue.

We have also seen customers notice a tangible reduction in the cost of their training when they’ve made the switch from traditional, face-to-face training to online.

7. It Improves Knowledge Retention

eLearning increases retention rates by 25% to 60%.

This is due to the availability of the resources online, which can be reviewed and accessed when required.

This takes the pressure off the learner and gives them more control over the learning process.

The result is better retention rates than for in-classroom training, which averages 8%-10%, very low in comparison.

8. It Helps Reduce Staff Turnover

According to Forbes, online learning helps boost retention rates by at least 25%.

Introducing the right online learning programmes mitigates the risk of your employees looking for career opportunities outside of your company, enhances their skills and empowers them to better perform in their role.

 

Staff Retention Facts - LinkedIn Learning Report 2020

9. It Helps Businesses Stay Competitive

72% of organisations believe that eLearning helps them increase their competitive edge.

If you want to stay sharp and keep up with your industry, product and/or legislation changes, online learning provides the perfect platform for it.

10. Coaching & Peer-Learning Build Engagement

Coaching and peer learning are seen as the highest ROI activities related to personal development in sales.

As a result, there’s a strong correlation between an engaged learner and an increase in their performance.

11. You can Create Personalised Learning Experiences

Good online training is tailored to the trainee.

Look for features to enhance the learner’s experience such as; developing a role-specific learning pathway, seamless integration with your current tools and systems, user-friendly back end functionality, the ability to include your branding and robust reporting.

LinkedIn learning report

12. It Increases Staff Engagement

Introducing eLearning technology in your business can help you achieve an 18% boost in employee engagement.

And we all know how hard it is to move the needle in company engagement surveys!

By further enhancing their skills, employees feel their role in your business matters and you want them to succeed in their role.

13. It Creates Business Consistency

Take seasonal product releases for example; you want to ensure that everyone in your business has the same knowledge and information about the product.

With online courses, you reduce the risk of providing an inconsistent training experience.

14. It Reduces Travel Costs Associated with Traditional Training

As we’ve already learned, online courses can be accessed at any time from anywhere.

This means a reduction in your travel costs for training purposes, which you can reinvest in providing better quality training and reducing the learning curve.

15. It Gives you Better Insight

Having the ability to track completion rates and engagement is the key to understand how effective your training is and to calculate its ROI.

CHAPTER 3

How to Create an Online Training Program

Building any kind of training takes a certain type of finesse, and online training is no different. It is important to first understand the key strategy behind your online learning program.

In fact, when LinkedIn asked L&D professionals to identify their most important areas of strategic focus in 2020, the answers given were quite varied, making the process of developing an online training program a crucial process which must be followed!

L&D Strategic Focus - LinkedIn Learning Report 2020

Our favourite model for developing online learning is the ADDIE model because it breaks the process down into five easy-to-follow steps:

  • Analysis
  • Design
  • Development
  • Implementation
  • Evaluation
ADDIE Model for Training Development

What does good Online Training look like?

Using a proven process is one thing, but the real question is “what makes good online learning ‘good’?”.

Recently we approached our clients and asked them this question. From these conversations, three overarching themes became apparent;

Is it simple?

Is the delivery engaging?

Is the content relevant?

IS IT SIMPLE?

“[We] don’t want any technical jargon in the training, our people prefer [the content] to be plain and simple.”

Make sure to balance the requirements of the stakeholders with best-practice learning methodologies for your trainees.

Create user-centric content by identifying what’s most important, and focusing on that.

Explain your key points in the most simple way possible.

IS THE DELIVERY ENGAGING?

“We want our people to WANT to do it.” 

When designing your training, keep in mind the ‘what’s in it for me’ (WIIFM) principle, and keep the weight and delivery of your content aligned to this concept.

Empathise with your trainees and put yourself in their shoes – if they had to complete this course, what points would keep you interested? What points are boring and unimportant? What points are important but need spicing up?

IS THE CONTENT RELEVANT?

“We want our people to BELIEVE in the content.”

Part-and-parcel of engaging content is having relevant content.

We know that learning and retention are greatly increased when content is tied to career growth.

Training Engagement Stats - LinkedIn Workplace Learning Report 2020

CHAPTER 4

How to Choose an Authoring Tool

What are eLearning Authoring Tools?

So you’ve mapped out your training…what’s next?

The next step is to look for tools to create online training courses.

These can come in a number of different forms, and we’re going to help break down the most popular ones for you.

An ‘eLearning authoring’ tool is a software that allows you to create online training content, convert it into an eLearning format (we’ll cover this further down), and share it with your trainees through your learning management system.

How do Authoring Tools work?

Most authoring tools maintain a slide-based course structure.

This means you create as many slides as you need and fill them with text, images, and animations.

Depending on the tool, you can also add interactive elements such as quizzes, video, or drag and drop tasks.

These types of tools make it possible for ordinary computer users to create professional eLearning content, with ease.

Types of Authoring Tools and who they’re for

So, what is the best eLearning authoring tool?

The truth is, there are a number of different tools out there, each with their own set of features that suit a different purpose.

Let’s take a look at the most common types…

STANDALONE AUTHORING TOOLS

Just as Photoshop was created as a photo editor, a standalone authoring tool is a solution specially designed for eLearning development.

These types of tools take time to master, and sometimes they require training to get started.

Best fit for:

  • eLearning developers who work with multiple customers and need to create different types of learning content;
  • Large eLearning departments with complex tasks (different types of courses, various mechanics, etc.);
  • Experienced eLearning developers who need to create original customised items from scratch.
Recommended Tools: Storyline 360 (part of Articulate 360), Adobe Captivate, Lectora Inspire

POWERPOINT-BASED TOOLS

There are some tools which can be added to as PowerPoint.

These tools allow you to quickly turn existing PowerPoint presentations into online courses you can upload to your LMS.

The biggest benefit to a tool like this is the familiar interface which makes it much easier to start creating courses.

Best fit for:

  • Teams who need to have content done quickly (yesterday!);
  • Companies that use in-house experts for creating content;
  • Smaller companies that don’t have dedicated specialists for developing and designing e-courses.
Recommended Tools: iSpring Suite, Adobe Presenter, Studio 360 (as a part of the larger Articulate 360 toolkit).

CLOUD-BASED TOOLS

As the name of the category suggests, this type of tool allows you to create inherently web-styled content, meaning content that ends up looking and feeling similar to a web page.

These types of tools are great because they can be accessed from anywhere.

You can easily create professionally designed pages, interactions, and assessments — and all of these can be done by multiple authors who’re working on the same project.

Best fit for:

  • Teams who have many authors and need collaboration and review features;
  • Teams who need better work flexibility.
Recommended Tools: Rise 360 (a part of Articulate kit), Elucidat, Gomo Learning, Lectora Online

It’s important to first make sure you understand the needs, requirements and goals of your specific training project.

As we saw in the previous section, most authoring tools have their own unique set of features and capabilities which cater to very different training needs.

Here are two important questions to ask before you pick an authoring tool:

  1. What is the level of expertise of the person working with the software?
  2. What kind of eLearning course do you want to create, and what is the desired outcome?

With a clearer picture of your project, the features and of the tool can be assessed to help you pick the right one.

eLearning authoring tools comparison and examples

Here’s a list of the top eLearning Authoring Tool Companies of 2020 published by trainingindustry.com

What format should I publish my course in?

There are a huge number of different formats you can use, but we’re going to look more specifically at the two most common types we encounter…

SCORM vs. xAPI

The decision between SCORM and xAPI is not one that you should not take lightly as it will affect the future of your content and the training experience you’re providing to those who take your courses.

Both SCORM and xAPI are designed to track learning activity but how they do this and how flexible they differ significantly.

Let’s briefly talk about what each one has to offer.

WHAT IS SCORM?

SCORM was established in 1999 and was designed to allow two systems to pass information between each other reliably.

The SCORM standard meant that any SCORM compliant course would work with any SCORM compliant LMS.

It’s this ability to communicate that made SCORM the most widely used eLearning standard to date. SCORM allows you to track completion rates, pass/fail, single scores and time spent – but that’s about as far as it goes.

As standard for eLearning, SCORM was revolutionary in enabling organisations to deliver and track learning taking place within the LMS.

Training should be able to be done anywhere, anytime but unfortunately, SCORM doesn’t offer a way to capture this information.

While SCORM was the industry standard for a long time, the latest version of the tool was released in 2009 – which, in digital terms, is a lifetime ago. The eLearning industry, and indeed, online training requirements, have changed a lot in the past decade, which is why the RedSeed LMS does not support this format.

WHAT IS xAPI?

Like SCORM, xAPI is a way of tracking learning-related activity.

The key difference is that xAPI allows you to track learning in almost any context, not just in the LMS.

It offers a better picture of how people engage with learning experiences.

And, it can also be used to make links between people’s learning experiences and their on-the-job performance in the store!

How good does that sound?

Comparison table SCORM vs xAPI

What can you track?

SCORM

xAPI

Pass/Fail

Time

Completion

A Single Score

Multiple Scores

Detailed Test Results

Games & Simulations

Informal Learning

Real World Performance

Offline Learning

Interactive Learning

Adaptive Learning

Blended Learning

Long-term Learning

Team-based Learning

While SCORM is the most widely used, xAPI does offer more opportunities for tracking, personalisation and improved learning experiences within your business.

xAPI allows you to open up a world of possibilities for delivering eLearning because it gives you the opportunity to much better understand learning behaviours of your trainees and the effectiveness of learning experiences in your store with your customers!

CHAPTER 5

How to Choose an LMS

If you’re new to online training, let’s start by answering the most common question;

What is an LMS?

This question is also closely followed with; ‘What does LMS stand for?’

So, let’s answer both!

LMS stands for Learning Management System.

It’s the platform that companies use to deliver their online training courses, manage users, and report on training progress within their business.

What’s the difference between an authoring tool and an LMS?

To put it simply, your authoring tool is the program you use to create your course content, and your LMS is where your students interact with that content.

How to find the right LMS

Implementing an LMS is a strategic investment that can help you take full advantage of the benefits of your company’s training program.

The LMS marketplace has seen massive growth in the last 10 years which means there are a lot of options out there to choose from and it can be hard to know where to start!

4 Tips to choose the right LMS for you

1

CONSIDER YOUR NEEDS

Before you start shopping for a Learning Management System, the first thing to do is consider the needs of your business.

  • Who are you hoping to teach and what are their learning objectives? 
  • What skill sets are you hoping to improve?
  • What kind of end result are you hoping to implement? 
  • Will you be training the whole team simultaneously?

A clear idea of your learning goals will make it easier to find an LMS that meets your needs.

2

FIND A GOOD FIT

One really important factor to consider in this process is the ease of use for your administrator users.

This is because the success of training is often in the hands of the people who are responsible for managing and administering it, so finding an easy to use LMS is crucial.

With technological fit in mind, review the support services offered for any learning management system you consider. Good product support can be make-or-break for online training.

3

SET FEATURE PRIORITIES

The LMS market is growing, and technology is changing every day. With a myriad of services and features available, it’s important to know which ones to prioritise.

Some examples of features you might want to keep in mind include; test/assessment capabilities, enhanced security measures, grading/scoring capabilities to track progress, data tracking, and automated user functions (such as alerts), integration capabilities.

4

TRY IT YOURSELF

Reading through lists of features will let you know what capabilities the Learning Management System you’re considering has to offer, but nothing can compare to experiencing them first-hand.

Request a free trial of the LMS or portal you’re considering.

There is no better way to get a feel for what using the system will actually be like than exploring it yourself.

A trial can give you a chance to test the setup in the context you will be using it, giving you an opportunity to note any potential problems that might arise before you invest.

Functional requirements

USER AND COURSE MANAGEMENT

One of the most important considerations you must make is how you plan to work with, and manage, users and groups in the LMS.

To do this, answer a few questions:

  • How will you register employees — will users register themselves, or will an administrator register students? When you use RedSeed, we take care of our initial user load, and then upskill your team on how to manage their own trainees!
  • Who will be involved in managing the LMS? Do you need a system that allows you to assign different user roles such as administrators, publishers, SMEs (Subject Matter Experts) and users?
  • Are you planning to create individual training programs for different employees or organisations? The ability to map your training to the structure of your business is an important feature to consider. Being able to achieve this will help with reporting, and ensuring different areas of the business have access to the right training.
LEARNING MODELS

Next, you need to decide on the learning model which will be the best for your business requirements.

  • Pure eLearning Employees are trained only online. They take courses and tests and read recommended articles and books.
  • Blended Learning Only a part of the training is transferred to online learning. For example, you can ask employees to complete all the prerequisite courses through eLearning and then undergo hands-on training in person.
  • Instructor-led training This type of training allows learners and instructors to interact and discuss the training material, either individually or in a group setting. Instructors may deliver training in a lecture or classroom format, or even virtually, using video conferencing tools. But, moving humans can be expensive!
SUPPORT AND CREATION OF LEARNING CONTENT

At this stage, you need to decide what kind of training materials you will offer to employees and whether you will create courses internally or outsource them.

In many cases, an LMS provider will not offer instructional design services, and instructional designers won’t have their own LMS.

We have both. You can create and manage your own courses within the RedSeed LMS, or we can build and manage them for you.

ANALYTICS AND REPORTS

Training is about results. So, decide how you’re going to measure them. The benefit of an LMS is that it frees you from having to work with Excel spreadsheets and process performance data manually.

Technical requirements

CLOUD-BASED OR HOSTED SOLUTION

A hosted LMS is one that is installed on your company’s server. This means that all data is stored in-house.

The downfall of deploying a hosted LMS is that it is a complex technical task that involves checking the compatibility of the system with the company’s existing network and software architecture.

As a result, the setup phase can take 3-6 months (or more).

A cloud-based platform, like the RedSeed LMS, is hosted on the web. This means that deployment is fast and you can start working with it immediately.

INTEGRATION WITH OTHER SYSTEMS

Think about whether you need integration with HR software, BI systems, CRMs or any other services.

For example, integrating your LMS with an HR system might help remove a number of manual processes in your business when it comes to adding or archiving users.

CHAPTER 6

How to Implement Online Training

This last section is all about the I and the E in the ADDIE model.

Implementation and Evaluation are crucial steps in developing an online training program because they are often the make or break period for a training program. In a lot of cases, you really only get one shot to make a good first impression, and training is no different.

The goal of any implementation should always be to embed training as part of your business culture.

Often businesses will only focus on completions in the implementation stage, but there’s more to it than that.

Change starts at the top, and your executives must understand the value of the investment and the part they have to play in its success.

Understanding the goals and priorities in the business allows us to tailor implementation for the greatest chance of success.

Developing a learning culture is a long game, and the goal is sustained change and growth over time.

Here are our six recommendations:

1

KEEP IT SIMPLE

We understand that training your people takes time, and that time is a resource that’s pretty hard to come by in today’s world.

Therefore a key consideration of your strategy should be to save as much time as possible, while still delivering the training in a way where retention is still a focus.

2

SET REALISTIC EXPECTATIONS

If you have three courses to introduce, think about how long each one is, and how much time your team has (realistically) within each day to complete some of their training.

This should give you a better understanding of the time involved to complete the course.

3

WALK THE WALK

As a business leader, it’s important that you’re able to communicate the importance of training and the expectation that your team is trained to a high standard.

Keep in mind that training isn’t a ‘silver bullet’, and your senior leaders need to be prepared to support your team through the implementation process too.

4

PICK A TRAINING CHAMPION

Almost every team has one person who, while they may not be in a leadership position, are influencers in their own right.

Use these people to help you drive training engagement in your business.

Utilising these types of people in your business helps take training from an expectation to a shift in culture and behaviour within your business.

5

UNDERSTAND YOUR ROADBLOCKS

Roadblocks are objections to training or things that can impede progress and/or motivation.

Make sure you’ve taken time to consider these before you hit ‘Go’ so you can respond to them appropriately.

Consider the following:

  • How much time are you prepared to allow trainees to train while at work (if any)?
  • What device are they going to train on? Make sure you have a set of headphones connected so they can hear the video content, and keep in mind that training can be done on a mobile device (iPad, tablet etc.)
  • If staff are prepared to train from home, are you willing to pay them for their time?
  • What experience have they had with online training in your business before?
  • What is the consequence of non-completion or the reward for completion?

When it comes to evaluating your training, LinkedIn was able to uncover the top five ways the L&D professionals are measuring the impact of their training.

 

Training Impact Measures - LinkedIn Learning Report 2020

6

PICK A METRIC THAT WORKS FOR YOU AND STICK TO IT

The best way to do this is to go back to the goal of your training.

If it’s to improve employee engagement then you know you need to find data that prove or disproves this (like a survey).

If it’s compliance that you want to use data which shows a record of completion

If it’s skills acquisition then you might want to focus your evaluation on the data from your coaching-feedback loop.

The simple act of investing in training for your employees has many benefits. 

It’s been proven to reduce staff churn, improve employee engagement, grow sales, reduce overheads and support a strong business culture.

The most important part of this equation, though, is ensuring that you’re following all of the necessary steps to develop an online training program with purpose.

Let’s dive right in.

By that, we mean ensuring that your training is focused on your learners, and delivering the right outcomes. 

Picking the right tools, and following an implementation plan all help strengthen this offering.

There is a lot of information (and misinformation) out there, when it comes to corporate training, so use this guide to help you find a complete end-to-end solution that works for you.

Happy training!

RedSeed LMS dashboard on an iPad