By Dheeraj Sharma, CEO of PlayAblo LMS
Synopsis: Instructor-Led Training or ILT need not be a thing of the past. The one thing we miss from traditional, offline classes is that human touch! From the awkward to the heartwarming, I’m sure we groaned about the icebreaker sessions, demos, hands-on activities, and role-plays that we now long for with nostalgia. Now, how do you ensure that you incorporate these aspects —the good parts anyway— in digital learning? With proper research and innovation, you can design an immersive, and of course human experience in online sessions. How? This article aims to help you break down the “ILT-to-eLearning pipeline” into three key areas: People, Processes and Tools.
The good ol’ classroom-based Instructor-Led Training (ILT) may appear obsolete in the current digital era. The true fact is that ILT is anything but obsolete. There is an undeniable sense of security and comfort that comes from having that motherly or fatherly figure physically in front of you. ILT is “the” human touch, the one absence most felt in the virtual environment.
However, in the modern world, ILT shows too many a downside. I don’t know if human contact has become a luxury item at this point. But having a physical human in front of you at all time during a training session is just expensive, almost irresponsably so. ILT also covers too limited an audience at a given time.
Imagine you run a global business, with associates and employees you neeed to upskill. You simply cannot go for ILT when you have a globally dispersed workforce. I often hear this question: How can we convert ILT into eLearning? An enterprise LMS solution, such as PlayAblo —which I run— will support you throughout this transformational journey. However, as amazing as I am, I am not replacement for a well-thought-out execution plan to make the journey.
So, let’s start it there!
People, Process, and Tools: Planning with the core elements of my approach in mind
You might be wondering why organization is the first item on the list when we talk about people. ‘Organization’ is essential when you start converting ILT to eLearning. Choose all the employees who will be vital contributors to this journey. Gather your instructional designers, subject-matter experts, and support staff. Clarify them on their roles and responsibilities and explain the areas where they will have shared responsibilities.
You MUST involve your SMEs in your ILT to eLearning conversion project since they has a pivotal role to play. Your instructor serves as the primary point of contact between the trainees and the training materials for classroom training. Hence, if you include their experience and knowledge in your eLearning modules, you will gain a gamut of vital inputs. Therefore, discuss with your SME and gauge gap areas in your content. For example, the instructor might have expounded on a concept with a video. So, ensure that you include a video clip in the online session. Additionally, when your training is technical, you cannot miss out on having the inputs from your SMEs.
Pilot Testing and the End Audience
Generally, companies deploy a full-fledged online learning module only after completing the quality assurance checks. However, we recommend that you consider your end audience. During the testing phase, ask them about their feedback, which will help in improving your course quality. You can select a section of your users from the target audience who will consume the course. They serve as the pilot group, which should ideally be a mix of diverse employees regarding age, race, gender, ethnicity, and experience. Once they complete a particular segment of the training program, collect their inputs through a feedback form. Now, incorporate their suggestions in the updated version of your online training program.
№1. The Development of elearning modules from legacy content
You cannot create a successful eLearning course from ILT by opting for a one-for-one conversion. Converting every slide and creating an exact online replica will be futile. It will simply result in an eBook that is boring and does not boost the learning experience for your learners.
So start by analyzing your already existing inventory of learning content, which may include materials like slide decks, hand-outs, workbooks, course notes, audio and video files, and worksheets. You might also have auxiliary materials like answer sheets, student guides, and feedback forms. Gather all these resources in one place.
№ 2. The original purpose of the course
Now, analyze why you want to design an eLearning course in the first place. Then, start by sorting the old materials and transforming them into their digital counterparts.
№ 3. The reviews and revisions
Reviewing is also essential. Note if there is obsolete, repetitive, or wrong content in your legacy content. Mark out such areas and replace them with the latest and updated versions. Again, several instructor-led trainings usually repeat the same fundamental concepts. Therefore, include links to such concepts rather than reiterating them again and again.
№ 4. The observations
It is always good to attend a traditional training session in progress, which uses the current materials. Your team can then understand how to convert such paper-based sessions into their online counterparts. You can also gauge the essential design aspects of the online course. Additionally, you can identify potential gap areas in the existing content and address them in the conversion phase.
The eLearning format depends on the content and its exact context. For instance, if one of your modules has complex information, it is a great idea to incorporate a short informative video. You can also embed quizzes, infographics, and gamification elements to make the session simpler and more engaging. Other such elements include flowcharts, podcasts, and interactive PDFs.
During the ILT to eLearning conversion phase, you should take some time to gauge the end purpose of the program. You will then come across various segments to restructure the existing content to make it more user-friendly and better adaptable to eLearning. For example, if you have long texts, you can reconfigure them into appealing graphics, images, or pictures.
In online training, you should never go for long-form content. A full screen overwhelms learners. One of the best methods to deliver effective eLearning programs is to break up massive lessons into bite-sized parts. In a platform like PlayAblo, in-house experts will analyze your entire existing course materials and transform them into digestible, engaging microlearning.
You can take the help of templates to give a quick start on the ILT to the eLearning conversion process. Several eLearning authoring tools offer templates such as Lectora Inspire, Articulate Storyline, and Adobe Captivate. These tools give a uniform appearance to your modules and help you in adhering to organizational branding guidelines.
Collaboration & the social element
Why do companies opt for ILT? It contains an instructor, who makes the classroom interesting by facilitating discussions and encouraging questions. But did you know you can include this element in eLearning as well? How? By opting for collaborative learning. For instance, you can provide discussion forums and message boards on your LMS that enables learners to interact with each other.
Before starting on your ILT to eLearning conversion journey, it helps to have an action plan. Take the help of the tips mentioned above when you are transitioning from ILT to eLearning. And you are all set!
About the author:
Dheeraj Sharma is the CEO of PlayAblo, a Gamified Micro-learning LMS. Lightweight and a lot of fun to use, PlayAblo helps enterprises transition seamlessly from ILT to eLearning model while ensuring solid ROI. Leading organizations use PlayAblo to deliver and monitor employee, customer and partner training right from their smartphones. Connect with Dheeraj on LinkedIn, Twitter or email.