Companies are hastening the move to online training and development. In-person workshops that were never up for debate, are now being taken online. If your in-person training has been sidelined, here are four steps to quickly move your in-person training to an online experience – with similar, if not better, results.
1. Stretch learning over time
If you’ve typically offered training in, say, a full-day or multi-day workshop, break up the agenda into smaller lessons. Incorporate accompanying online discussion activities and exercises that you can deliver online over two to six weeks.
Tip: Limit required learning time to no more than two hours per week.
Value: Retention is higher as learners have time to absorb the content in smaller chunks and discuss concepts with peers.
2. Design for application
As you design the online program, be sure that learning activities are authentic and allow participants to connect what they’re learning to the real world. Evoke higher-order thinking skills, with exercises that incorporate the higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy: “apply,” “analyze,” “evaluate,” or “create.” Avoid focusing only on memorization tasks and multiple-choice knowledge checks.
Tip: Design activities that inspire (or require) learners to apply ideas on the job and share about their experience.
Value: Deeper learning comes from doing rather than simply consuming information.
3. Curate and create content
With online training, you’re not limited to lectures and PowerPoints — think videos, articles, podcasts, infographics, games, ebooks, web conferences, and other creative formats. Repurpose existing content wherever possible, and create your own content to supplement it so you can include messaging and a look that’s on brand.
Use a smartphone to film videos of your own training experts or company leaders.
Record audio over a presentation deck or screencast, then break it into short videos to split up among the different lessons.
Value: Online learning expands your content options and accommodates different learning styles.
4. Incorporate Social Learning
Research shows social learning leads to higher achievement and productivity and a sense of belonging. Retain the social elements of in-person workshops with intentionally designed activities and tools including group assignments, breakout discussions, and peer feedback.
Value: Learning impact is higher, professional relationships are more committed.
The Process at a Glance
To get an idea of what quickly moving your in-person training to an online experience might look like, here is an example of a rapid learning design sprint.
Week 1: Design
Decide on a format and build on it – some examples:
Video series: 90-minute video lectures with icebreakers and discussion in between
Blended: Live webinar > offline activities > live webinar > final activity/feedback > final webinar
Social experience: Videos and articles with group assignments and feedback.
Cast a wide net to look for existing content you can incorporate
Draft a script for a video featuring an executive sponsor
Week 2: Finalize.
Select the top five existing resources.
Collect feedback on draft script and set aside a day to film the video.
Design learning activities around curated content and new video.
Week 3: Launch
Initiate facilitation plan
Share program goals and expectations for completion
Along with hand-washing, disinfecting, and social distancing, Zoom has become part of life for many during the pandemic. However, the initial thrill of seeing distant colleagues on video conferences has given way to fatigue, anxiety, and distraction as we struggle to stay engaged.