Did you know the first ever completely online course was offered in 1984 by the University of Toronto?
In the early 90s, many school were set up to deliver courses online-only, and by the 2000s, numerous businesses began using eLearning to train their employees.
In recent years, primarily due to the pandemic, the popularity of online learning has surged, with 90% of companies utilising eLearning as a training tool in 2020. (For comparison, KPMG shows this number was only 4% in 1995.
There are many benefits of investing in online training, from being more cost-efficient than traditional face-to-face learning to increasing user engagement. However, before moving your training online, you should consider a few things.
In this article, we look at the top three things you should consider before moving to online learning and what you should look for in an eLearning development provider.
1) Who is the end user?
Your audience is the most critical thing you need to think about before moving to online learning.
You need to determine how tech-savvy your users are, what subject knowledge they already have, and ultimately what outcomes you want them to achieve.
It is also vital to understand any additional learning needs your users may have. Considering your audience requirements enables you to create a course aligned to the demands of all learners who undertake it, resulting in an accessible training tool.
2) HOW MUCH TIME AND MONEY DO YOU WANT TO INVEST?
The cost of creating your online course varies tremendously depending on critical decisions you make.
For example, are you considering developing more than one course?
Will your course content need updating regularly?
These are factors that will inevitably cost more than if your eLearning content requires little to no updating.
Another important budget consideration is how interactive you want your course to be. As discussed in this article, ensuring your training is interactive helps with engagement. However, the more interactive you want your training to be, the more development will be needed. This, in turn, affects the end cost.
When setting your budget, you also need to consider how much of your own, or your team’s, time and effort you are able to invest in the project. Whilst creating a bespoke learning tool will of course demand some of your time, hiring an experienced developer will mean you won’t need to invest as much time and effort, which will in turn be more cost effective for you and the project.
If you have resources such as content or graphics readily available, your course developers are likely to need less of your time. However, if the training is being created from scratch and you have no resources, you, or your team will need to be involved in the creative process to ensure the training meets your specifications and design standards.
Before the design process begins, you need to be clear what timeframes and deadlines that you are working to; for example, does your training need to be ready before a significant legislation change? Or is it being created to support a new product launch?
This will help your chosen developers devise a project plan that meets key milestones and ensures you don’t miss business critical deadlines.
3) HOW WILL YOUR ONLINE LEARNING WORK?
Once you have outlined your learning goals, clearly understood your audience and set the budget, the design process can begin.
It’s time for the fun stuff; what do you want your online learning to look like and what different tools you would like to use.
Learning needs to be challenging – but not so hard your learners want to give up. By working with your developers you can create formal assessments, games, and interactive modules that provide valuable and engaging online learning building towards the end goal.
Providing users with sharable and downloadable content once they have completed the training, such as certificates, is a great way to reinforce their success positively.
After training has been completed, it’s essential to evaluate your online learning to improve future courses. While this may seem obvious, you’d be surprised how many people forget to ask for feedback at the end of a course!
Ask users questions that will yield quality feedback such as;
- What stood out?
- What was particularly engaging or exciting?
- And what could be improved?
It doesn’t have to be a long process, but the answers will help you shape your next course.
HOW TO CHOOSE YOUR ONLINE LEARNER DEVELOPER
Before instructing an online learning developer, there are some critical things for you to consider:
Experience – What examples of previous work can they show you, and does it reach your expectations? By viewing examples, you will be able to assess if they are the correct partner for you.
Communication – Communication is critical to a successful project. You need to agree on frequency, methods of communication and who will be your key contact point.
Project management – Your developer is the expert and they should guide you through the project using sound project management principles, including regular progress reviews, key milestones and clear communication channels.
Understand the fee structure – Before you commit to a developer take time to understand the fee structure. Ask questions like: does the developer charge for the project or are you paying day rates? How many revisions are included? What happens if the project runs into delays? How quickly will they need you to respond to key decisions?
Security protocols: How is your data backed up, is it done via a cloud service or on an encrypted server? If you have a preference, you need to ensure the developer meets your requirements. Do you need a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in place? Is the developer happy to sign one?
Give us a call
With many years’ experience creating bespoke packages that engage learners and delight our customers, your online course creation is in safe hands at Foster & Forge.
The team and I would be happy to chat with you about your online training needs. Click here to schedule a call.