f there’s ever been a watershed year in the history of organisational learning and development, it was 2020.
With the sudden and unexpected arrival of COVID-19 and life in lockdown, workforces turned remote and face-to-face training and workshops became impossible. For many organisations, this led to a sudden scramble to transform their content to digital.
Even as we look to a post-Covid future, many workforces are maintaining degrees of remote work for their teams. Training must be more flexible than ever before, and trainers can no longer rely on every learner being in the same room at the same time.
Meanwhile, eLearning continues to deliver benefits upon benefits. When training is made digital, it allows workers to learn where they want and when they need. eLearning courses take 40% - 60% less time to deliver the same content than traditional methods, while increasing retention rates by 25% - 60%. It’s a no-brainer that online courses are highly popular with workforces!
With all this in mind, you may be wondering where on earth to start when transferring face-to-face training to a digital solution. You’re not alone!
With over 20 years experience in eLearning solutions, we’ve rounded up our top tips to get you started on the right path.
Download the FREE PDF: 6 Tips for Converting Face-to-Face Training to eLearning Courses
Tip #1 - Identify the right programs
When was the last time you moved house? Do you remember the process of packing everything up into boxes? How many things did you look at and realise you hadn’t touched since the last time you moved? How many things did you get rid of because they weren’t worth packing and moving again?
When you begin converting your training content, it’s the perfect time to audit all your programs and decide what’s worth moving and what’s worth tossing. Some of your programs might be your babies, lovingly worked upon for years, but if they no longer fit your business goals then it might be time to say goodbye, or consider an overhaul. Changing the method of delivery for an outdated program won’t make the content any more effective than it was before.
Instead, identify which programs are aligned to your business goals, and work out if there are any gaps. Then rank them according to how critical they are. Now you know where to start!
Tip #2 - Avoid a direct transfer
If you’re in a rush, or have never worked with eLearning software before, it might be very tempting to take old PowerPoints and worksheets and just put them online. After all, those resources have been cultivated and refined over years, and it would be so quick and easy to just upload them and be done… right?
No! Don’t do it!
Not only will your learners be confused without a trainer to guide them through the content, they’ll be bored and unengaged from the static content. You’ll be unable to properly assess their learning progress without some cumbersome system involving far too many emails and the whole thing will be woefully inaccessible for any team members living with disabilities.
Instead, commit to finding an eLearning authoring tool that lets you create beautiful, engaging and fully accessible digital learning courses - like HowToo! With the right authoring tool, you can build learning experiences full of different media and interactive elements, and deliver effective assessments.
Tip #3 - Break it down
Similar to the previous tip, turning one workshop into one course is rarely the best way to convert your training content.
Having managed to wrangle people into the same room for a few hours (or days!), workshops can often cover multiple learning outcomes and a large amount of information. Engagement is maintained through frequent breaks and switches between activities.
However, research has shown that digital learning courses are most effective when each course is focused on just a couple of learning outcomes and the course length is shorter rather than longer.
Short, digital modules open up the opportunity for vastly better engagement and learning retention by allowing you to “chunk” content around important outcomes, and then spreading the learning over a greater period of time. By leaving gaps between learning sessions (e.g. 24 hours), and then building on the content from the previous day, learning is refreshed and cemented in the mind of your team.
This approach also allows your training to better fit into the flow of your team’s work. Instead of carving a huge chunk of time out of their week for a workshop and disrupting other work, they can fit a small piece of learning into each day at a time that suits them. It’s win-win!
Tip #4 - Ensure every page flows
Once you’ve structured your face-to-face training sessions into digital chunks, you can begin to design each course.
When designing a digital course, you can bring many face-to-face principles to the design. Just as every workshop activity needs to flow from and build off the activity before, so every page of a digital course needs to flow from and build off the page before. Ensure that key learning points in the experience are clearly signposted so that learners know what to expect and how each piece of information fits together in a unified whole.
Meanwhile, avoid cognitive overload by keeping each page to two central elements, such as text and an image, so that your learners can easily process the necessary information without being overwhelmed, confused or fatigued
Tip #5 - What can be filmed or audio recorded?
If you have a talented speaker on your team, then there’s no need to let that skill go to waste just because you’re shifting online!
Video and audio snippets are powerful engagement tools in eLearning courses. When delivered in short, sharp doses, they can capture attention, summarise information, introduce an expert, or illustrate a scenario.
Chances are, if your team has developed a great face-to-face presentation over the years, there are a few points where the instructor verbally delivers important information. These points can be ripe for a video recording with your talented speaker to break up the text in your digital course.
Your workshop might have also included a scenario or roleplaying situation. Maybe it was written down as a script that a few participants would read. This kind of learning experience can be easily turned into an audio snippet so that learners can still hear the full effect of different voices, characters and emotions.
Tip #6 - Ensure it’s mobile-accessible
With increasingly flexible and on-the-go workforces, it’s essential that your new eLearning courses can be accessed on mobiles.
Not convinced? Business leaders who have adopted mobile learning have reported a 55% improvement in their business results, and a massive 72% of people have reported feeling more engaged with mobile-accessible learning programs.
Unfortunately, not all eLearning authoring tools are created equal when it comes to mobile accessibility. Some tools simply shrink pages without truly adapting to different screen sizes, while others
On the other hand, be wary of mobile-only eLearning, as these can exclude employees who may not own a smartphone (such as some low-income employees), and may decrease satisfaction among employees who prefer to keep work off their personal devices. Unless your organisation is willing to commit to providing smartphones to employees, it’s better to stick with a tool that automatically adapts to every screen size.
There’s no better time to start digitising your courses for an agile learning and development program. With the right tools, you’ll be done in no time!