As we face uncertain times, many organizations that rely on in-person customer training are looking to quickly transition to remote learning to offer a more scalable, flexible learning experience. While some of these organizations have been transitioning to a blended delivery model for years, some still have a significant percentage of their training programs as in-person offerings.
For organizations facing this challenge, there are options. The key to the transition is making sure that, while things need to move quickly, you take a moment to confirm you have the right technology/infrastructure, and you are thinking further out than 3-4 weeks from now on your content and delivery strategy. Creating a truly scalable training program is going to offer tangible, long-term benefits to your customers and your organization.
Here is some advice for organizations looking to make the transition from in-person to online learning programs.
While virtual events are effective ways to deliver live training, a portion of the time invested in these events is dedicated to housekeeping and non-critical content.
Introducing pre- and post-learning is a proven best practice for good training product design. It helps improve revenue margins and may enable you to cut your live programming by 50 percent. How many in-person events have you been to where the first hour is subject background, admin, or getting to know your fellow attendees? This is all unnecessary in a live setting and should be done in a self-paced, pre-learning environment.
For pre-learning, provide a background and overview, an instructor bio, video introduction from the instructors, an “introduce yourself segment” and share items you would like addressed by the instructor. Providing downloadable assets for the live event helps ensure attendees are ready to go when the event kicks-off. Last and very important is training product margins. By introducing pre and post-learning you will positively affect the learning experience, truncate the length of the live training and increase your profit margins.
Post-learning falls into the same category of a well-designed training product. How many in-person or virtual training programs have you been to when 3-weeks later, without any follow-up, your recollection or adoption of the training practices has dissolved? A strong reinforcement program and adoption focus is critical to every successful training practice. Consider adding self-paced content that can roll out systematically for a number of weeks following the program. Keep the cohort engaged and enable them to share their wins and challenges with one another as they implement what they have learned. Add assessments or certifications. There are many powerful things you can do in this phase, including recommending the next training opportunity, to take your training to the next level and deepen your customer relationships.
This is a great hybrid model that has been successfully deployed for decades. Using a self-paced online course model, the basic formula is to have a course start on a specific date with an instructor. Content is then released weekly over a determined period of time. It creates a cohort and sequences the training delivery, so the progress of the cohort is in sync and the instructor is moderating weekly. The idea is that learners engage in self-paced content and there is a live chat or virtual workshop/office hours at a predetermined time. In this model, having a post-work social learning component adds great value, where learners comment on each other’s projects/work. Additionally, set deadlines and have private messaging between the instructor and learners (this could even be a premium offering) for more personalized feedback.
As I mentioned, organizations are expected to move quickly to address existential business challenges. The good news is there is a well established pathway to act swiftly. We are working with a group of our customers who are currently making this accelerated transition. The only words of advice: quickly transition to virtual, then immediately work on scalability. It will offer more value and longevity to your training operations.
Hang in there and stay safe.
For more on this topic, watch the recorded webinar Barry and Jonathan presented on March 25. Now available to everyone.
Download this free eBook to learn how to create, manage, and scale online learning experiences.