A good E-Learning designer should always be looking for ways to improve their current courses and modules to ensure that they are engaging, interactive and memorable for their employees. When creating a course, the most important thing to ask yourself is “Would I want to willingly participate in this training?” If the answer is no, then clearly your training courses require some upgrades.
The entire purpose of training is to encourage the necessary development and growth of your employees. The goal is to ensure that your employees absorb the core principals, values and ideas of the training and then apply them to their everyday job functions. There is a definite way to achieve this and it’s by ensuring that your online training courses are as dynamic, current and engaging as possible.
Sounds easier said than done right? I am sure you are recalling how often you have had a brilliant storyboard, outline and plan in mind on how to execute and deliver a great module, but were quickly brought back down to earth by your senior management team with budgetary constraints and time restrictions. “We don’t have the funds to pay for all of this”. “There isn’t have enough staff to do the research and execute the ideas”. “We need to comply so get this training done immediately”. The list goes on.
As an experienced HR Consultant and Training Content Developer, I have spent years researching and learning the tricks of the trade to be able to produce premium training content in a timely and cost-effective manner. Want to know how? Incorporate these 3 simple and cost-effective tips to improve your next online training course!
1. Effective Multi-Media Integration
Most Online Training programs entail large amounts of text and lack-luster video content, neither of which retain the learner’s attention. As consumers of the digital media era, we are constantly bombarded in our every day lives with high quality, short bursts of video or visual information that play to our personal and professional interests. When it comes to training videos, your employees expect no less.
When searching for your next online training content provider, try and keep the following criteria in mind:
- Up-to-date Information and High Resolution Video Quality– many companies make the mistake of not taking the initiative to update their content on a periodic basis. Chances are that your organization has tenured employees who have been watching the same content repeatedly over the years and at this point are simply taking the training to complete the formality. Assess your library. If the videos were originally created for VCR or DVD format and are made up of animation based images, it’s time to get rid of them! Look for HD Quality video with high impact, real-life and current illustration. Take the time to preview the content before you send it out. Would you be excited about watching these videos? Many content providers have short clips of their videos on their websites which will allow you to gauge the quality. You can also contact the company to ask for free full previews of their videos. Even if it is just for the first 5 minutes of the video, preview as much content from as many different providers as possible. You can’t go wrong with free!
- Produce Your Own Video Content and Get Creative– Make full use of the gadgets, tools and technology that you have at your fingertips. Pull out those camera phones and digital video recorders and produce your own content. Internal videos are a great tool to assist in scaling communication, improving the on-boarding process and documenting your company culture and values. Record a message from the CEO or interview camera friendly employees to relay a specific message. The possibilities are endless as long as you provide images and stories that will connect, engage and entertain your audience. This is a cost-effective way to enhance and put a customized touch to the standard training content. While the videos don’t have to be of Hollywood-Level quality, production value does matter. There are various video editing tools and software applications available online that are user-friendly and can assist in improving the overall quality and picture of your video. If you do not have the know-how or time for video editing in-house, you can also outsource your project to a number of freelance service providers who can be found online for a nominal cost. Obtain professional quality for the fraction of the cost. LMS content authoring tools such as Vocam’s BusineesTraining-TV (How BusinessTraining-TV Works) are equipped with YouTube and Vimeo integration which allow you to upload your custom company videos for that personal touch.
2. Reduce Text Heavy Screens
Death by PowerPoint is real folks! Training developers often make the common mistake of presenting as much information as possible on a single slide, mostly to ensure they haven’t missed any key information. Unfortunately, in the case of the learner, this can often lead to information overload with having to read text, look at graphics and listen to audio all at the same time. Having to do this repeatedly eventually leads to a lack of focus, attention and ultimately complete disengagement. If you are taking the time to present the material, you may as well go the extra mile to ensure its comprehension.
Here are a few improvements that can be made when making your next presentation to ensure effective learner engagement.
- Supplement Text with Narratives & Voiceovers – most online training courses consist of voluminous text and simultaneous voice-over which is a waste when presenting valuable information. They are both competing for the learner’s attention and essentially presenting the same information twice, in two formats. Optimal learning occurs when visual and audio information are presented simultaneously. That is, showing and then explaining. Remove as much text from your slides as possible and supplement the information with a narrative or voice-over script. Tell a story and earn their attention. The more relevant the story, the more likely the learner is to remember it. It is important to keep in mind when replacing text with audio, that the narrative or story be told by a captivating voice and story teller to keep the audience engaged. This can be achieved by sourcing out someone in-house with a great voice to record your script. There are also many freelance voice-over recorders who will execute your project in a cost and time effective manner. You can preview a few talent samples and hold your own mini audition!
- Represent Text Visually – It is often said that “A picture is worth a thousand words”. This holds true especially when it comes to online presentations. As humans, we are visual learners. Create your next presentation as a visual guide. Rather than cramming your slide space with heavy text-based verbiage and long sentences, use pictures or graphics instead to relay the same message. Find images that represent your brand and company culture. Describe the instruction or process through a Flow Chart. Condense heavy text to bullet-point format. Illustrate through diagrams, graphs and clip art. The key is to think visually and use relevant images to relay the message that may need several sentences to say. Remember, Less is More! Gain some inspiration and tips on how to design your next presentation by checking out images of free templates and designs available online. Not a visual person? Not that great with PowerPoint? Not to worry. Let the freelancers do your job. There are so many of them out there who do this daily and can get the job done for you in a professionally creative and cost-effective way. Refrain from pulling any old image off Google and ensure to invest in the design and creation of high-quality relevant images, charts, tables and graphics. If the images you use are of low quality, blurry or pixelated, they fail to train effectively and causes your audience to lose their attention. For cost-effective tools you can use, click 3 Powerful Tools To Save You Time & Refresh Your Boring Training Courses
3. Use Quizzes As A Learning Tool
Get creative with your quizzes and assessments. Stop boring your trainees with the same old True/False type questions at the end of a section. While it’s important to assess knowledge retention, nobody said it couldn’t be done in a more engaging and creative way. You can improve the overall learning experience by incorporating questions in creative formats. Many quiz editing tools allow for a variety of questioning templates such as Picture Multiple Choice, Mix and Match Word, Click and Drag Sequence etc. Present a concept or process and then add in a drag-and-drop exercise to map out the steps of the process. Most LMS systems will allow for the question to be set as non-graded and allow multiple attempts to get to the correct answer. This way the learner retains the correct information and is kept engaged through the interactivity. Provide pre and post quizzing to allow the trainees to see how their level of knowledge has increased. By asking pre questions, you are encouraging the trainee to focus on the key points even before the information is presented. When designing your next quiz, go beyond simply testing whether or not your trainee understood the information. Use the testing experience to ensure that they remember the information by making your questions more interactive, fun and memorable.
Remember, ATTENTION = RETENTION which is the entire point of training. Again, ask yourself: “Would I willingly want to take this training”. While you and I, as presentation designers may be passionate about the topic and its layout, chances are your employees are not so much. Create online training presentations that are engaging, interactive, up-to-date and visually appealing.
Follow these 3 simple tips to enhance your online training and create courses even you would want to take over and over!