Online employee training has become a hot topic recently in reaction to the COVID-19 crisis. Many organizations, including both private and public firms, have been forced to embrace online training models, but with lack of preparation and lead time.
Almost a quarter of the United Nations workforce already operates from home. However, this abrupt shift has left many organizations struggling to put the right employee training online. With the new COVID-19 policies, many employees and trainers have to work outside the office for the first time. This is a challenge that got even worse when programmed training has to be shifted to online work-related delivery projects and tasks. In this piece, we will show you how to launch, teach and monitor your web based training program for your employees.
Common Challenges of Web Based Training
Virtual training comes with its own challenges, which means that it's not just about opening up a virtual meeting tool and PowerPoint and start teaching. Let's go through some of the challenges you are likely to face when starting your online employee training.
Web Based Training Lacks face to Face Supervision
Lack of one-on-one interaction is a significant issue related to remote working. However, it can be a considerable challenge when it comes to remote training, especially if the recent switch involves classroom-based models.
It's a fact that employee training, in most cases, is still viewed by employees as a mandatory undertaking. But trainers worry that employees will not put all their effort without one-on-one supervision. Learners, on the same, also struggle with minimized lookout instructor communication and support.
Web Based Training Limits Access to Information
Emerging remote employees are often surprised by the effort and increased time needed in locating information from other co-workers. Getting an answer to even a simple question might seem like a massive obstacle to a home-based employee.
Framing this to the context of online training translates to how can employees access online training, how it works, and how to answer the questions accurately. Basically, your employees must know the WHEN, WHAT, HOW, and WHY of the online training you wish to offer before the intended session takes place. They have to understand how they can get help when needed, especially before and during the virtual training sessions. Lack of proper access to such information will lead to training failure.
Web Based Training Comes with lots of Distractions
There are many misconceptions about online training. For instance, most people think that it is easy because you can study in the confort of your home. Well, online training is less forgiving when it comes to distractions. It might be online, but the fact remains that it's still a training section, and 100% focus is a necessity. Even if you spend the rest of the day doing other things, that one hour dedicated to online training must not involve any distractions.
All of these challenges mean that you need to plan and organize your virtual training accurately. How can you achieve this? The next section will break down the steps.
Gradual Walkthrough to Web Based Training
There are various ways of setting up and running a remote training. But the process that will work best for you depends on several aspects, including your needs and company requirements. Here are some steps that will provide you with a hassle-free approach to getting your online training running fast.
Step 1. Choose a Web Based Delivery Model
For the best online training, you have to make sure you choose different approaches that suit your employees. Let's go through a quick breakdown of the available choices.
Web Based Synchronous Learning
Synchronous learning is a learning approach where learners participate simultaneously. This can be either online or offline. This learning approach is time-independent, where it has a specific time at which it must happen. As the implementer, you need to carefully plan the teaching sessions and announce the courses in a good time. Your learners will also need to book a particular time within the schedule to attend virtually.
Web Based Blended Learning
Blended learning borrows elements from both asynchronous and synchronous models and combines them together to form a custom solution. Due to its flexibility, a blended learning solution is a better approach for complex online training requirements. This is because it has the ability to combine eLearning modules and virtual classroom sessions through LMS.
Step 2. Purchase the Relevant Web Based Training Software and Tools
While it is possible to operate an online training program through Skype as a communication platform, Excel sheet for tracking completions and attendance, and PowerPoint in creating the training, it's simply not enough for effective outcomes. First, you will have a tough time, and importantly, you will not be able to offer your learners a superb experience.
Just like other vital things in your business, online training also requires investing in the best tools and software to achieve the best results. At a minimum you will therefore need:
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E-Learning Web Based Authoring Tool
Authorizing tools are usually designed to create online courses. Even though it's possible to upload a PDF manual and Word document to the LMS, a page tuner eLearning offers low engagement levels. Therefore, choosing the best tools can assist you in creating an engaging asynchronous training that provides real value to all of your employees.
You need to look for authoring tools that allow you to come up with interactive content, supports a broader output format, and are simple to use. Also, opt for authoring tools that automatically pack your remote eLearning courses and makes it possible for the packages to run on any browsers and tablets. This will help reduce the technical issues for your remote employees who would like to access the training by just clicking the link.
Web Based Webinar and Conferencing Platform
To make a wider scale online training room, you need to go for software that is generally different from what you have deployed in your conference room. This means going for a platform that has the ability of sharing screens, remotely access each other's desktops, exchange files, chat through text, and broadcast larger groups of passive attendees.
Two types of platforms can be applied during online training delivery. The first one is a webinar/conferencing platform, and the second is the dedicated virtual platform, with more specifically customized features to running the training through practical assessment and breaking out classrooms for group work.
Step 3. Prepare your Web Based Training Materials
This step usually depends on the type of model you choose to use. If you choose to go with a synchronous remote model, you will have to create or prepare different representations for the web-based classes and also come up with reference materials to support them.
If you settled with an asynchronous method, then it means that eLearning videos and courses will form the cornerstone content that has to be prepared.
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Step 4. Deliver the Web Based Training
This step involves getting your training delivered. Since you are using an LMS, then this step does not have to be complicated. You only need to upload your eLearning courses, invite employees, and set deadlines.
Step 5. Track the Web Based Training Results
The last step is to ensure you track the results of your employees. What you track will highly depend on your company's needs. An LMS will be of help here. You can also decide to look at the classroom measures, including engagement rates, to identify if your learners are taking part in your online sessions.
Web Based Training Advantages and Disadvantages
Before you can start planning employees' web-based training, you need to equate yourself with the pros and cons of such a program. It will be an illusion to conclude that online training has no flaws. You have to evaluate the pros and cons of offering E-learning to your employees.
Web Based Training Advantages
- Helps save time. The employees do not have to spend a lot of time commuting to the stationary educational centers where the classes take place. The learning can also be scheduled and spread over time to complement with other duties.
- It helps reduce your financial expense on education, since the learning takes place online; you will not incur extra accommodation and travel costs.
- It offers easy access to different sources of knowledge.
- Provide a natural supervision approach to teaching and checking the acquired knowledge.
- Web based training offers unified messages to all learners within a particular course.
Web Based Training Disadvantages
- It limits people's interaction. Direct contacts play a vital role in every learning program, and there is no standard approach that can replace this.
- To take part in web-based training programs effectively, you must be highly motivated and be guided by self-discipline. Otherwise, you won't succeed.
- E-learning also comes with copyright protection problems.
- Research also indicates that web-based training can be boring, with many participants focusing on completing the course as soon as possible.
- The development of an eLearning program can be time-consuming. The time needed in preparing one e-learning programs can take up to 8 weeks or more if the training is to be effective enough.
- E-learning is very expensive. E-learning is financially viable only if it is being used by 100 to 200 people. So if you have less, then this option becomes expensive.
With an effective web based training program, you stand a chance of delivering the best training to your employees. However, all of the above aspects have to be put into consideration during the training.