Many clients come to F.Learning and expect a completed video from rough, unstructured training documents. It’s such a common mistake that makes the course incoherent. In fact, you need to follow some steps to transform your raw materials into the final training course. And only when you have a detailed outline showing how you deliver knowledge should we start with the production. Hence, this article gives you a practical guide on how to create online training modules for an effective course.
Here are five necessary steps to create online training modules. Some of the first steps are more about the preparations than material development, but they are the key to a successful direction. So, follow the process step by step, and do not pass by any.
- Define your target learners
- Systematize and break training materials into modules
- Plan content formats for each module
- Revision and run a pilot program on test audience
- Launch the final version, update, and improve
- Step 1: Define your target learners.
- Step 2: Break down the training course into different modules
- Step 3: Complete each module with the proper content format
- Step 4: Revise and run pilot programs on test audience
- Step 5: Launch the final version, update, and improve
- To sum up
Step 1: Define your target learners.
When we ask about target learners of an online course, almost all training departments have a common answer. The course targets anyone who is interested in the topic or needs to gain the skill. It’s right, yet not enough.
The answer we expect requires more details in key demographics, including ages, gender, knowledge level, learning objectives, and style. Because all these factors will strongly influence how to create online training modules, and it determines which content you deliver, and how you structure and get the right format for them.
For instance, a leadership course for senior executives has different practice activities compared to sales training for new staff. The former also should be more formal than the latter.
Therefore, always begin with target audience research first. It takes more time, we know, but it can not be ignored.
Step 2: Break down the training course into different modules
Now, you know the learners and what they want to achieve through the course. it’s time to think about how to organize your training. To help learners better understand and retain the knowledge, you’d better chunk your training course into different modules. Individual modules help to:
- Reduce cognitive load: With information put into small modules, learners receive a certain amount of knowledge at a time and remember it more easily.
- Provide learners with a better learning experience: Small modules provide short contents which allows learners to feel more confident to learn independently.
Note that if there are too few lessons with all basic knowledge, learners might feel as if they are not learning enough. At the same time, too many lessons of irrelevant information can end up fatiguing them.
To shape the course and organize modules with a logical structure, you need a clear outline. The following questions can help you do this task:
- What is the expected outcome of the course? Or what will learners gain after completing the course?
- What skills or knowledge are necessary to achieve that outcome?
- How do you give a brief introduction at the beginning of the course?
- How do you follow up from there?
- At what point does the course end?
Particularly when answering question 2, you need to group related information or skills to create online training modules within the topic. Then rearrange them in a certain order of achievement. You should start with the basic knowledge in the beginning and keep advanced modules towards the end of the course.
Do not forget to set a specific and achievable learning goal for each module. In this way, you can see more clearly the learner’s transformation step by step as a journey.
TIPS: We suggest using just a little more knowledge than what is enough for all. Some learners can go quicker on the uptake than others.
Let’s take an onboarding course as an example. You can divide the training into 3 modules: Company background, Company culture, and Overview of the team/department.
- Company background: It’s crucial to let your new hires know how the organization works and what they can expect from their new role.
- Company culture: Get your new hires settled in before they start digging into the more challenging elements of onboarding. In this module, you can include examples of how the company supports its culture and core values and information on any social groups within the company.
- Overview of their teams/departments: Introduce the team, with a short bio on each team member, and explain the team’s function within the organization.
NOTES: Modules within a course can be of different sizes. It depends on the amount of sub-topic the course contains.
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Step 3: Complete each module with the proper content format
After organizing the content modules in the outline, you can work on appropriate content formats for each module. This is an important step, and the most difficult, in creating online training modules online because it determines the training effectiveness.
NOTES: A truly engaging and effective online training content may require more than one format. A course that sticks with only one format can be monotonous and flat.
Let’s take a look at different content formats available for the eLearning courses:
- Informational e-documents
- Video types
- Scenarios-based activities
- Interactive assessment
#1 Informational e-documents
This most basic format provides information on a topic, which typically consists of pages with text, pictures, and “Next” buttons. We usually use informational e-documents such as Word documents, PowerPoint presentations, PDF e-books, etc.
#2 Video types
Video is a great way to present your information, no matter how complex. It helps learners to fasten the learning process with visuals and motions. That’s why videos offer an immersive learning experience. The excellent learning experience makes video one of the most engaging formats for creating training modules online.
Take this drone training video from Aviassist’s Drone Training Course, for example. It includes some sophisticated technical descriptions to explain the no-fly zone of drones at airports.
Whether the trainers choose to use documents, presentation slides, or videos, the lesson still delivers the same pieces of information. But with the animated explainer video below, trainees would have an easier time comprehending the lesson.
#3 Scenario-based activities
In scenario-based activities, learners have to decide how the situations will go. Each situation will change as they choose solutions from various options available. You can also create dialogue branching scenarios with voice-overs to character speech to fully simulate an actual dialogue.
TIPS: consider using animation video with motion graphics to explain the situation in detail and lively. For example, F.Learning suggests using 2D animated videos to create online health and safety training modules for iheed’s programs.
#4 Interactive assessment
Interactive assessments are usually used as knowledge checks. They are sequence, true/false, multiple-choice, drag-and-drop, fill-in-the-blank, etc. You can set up these tests or quizzes as a knowledge check at the closing part of each module.
Step 4: Revise and run pilot programs on test audience
Once you complete the first version of the training material, forward it to Subject Matter Experts and Stakeholders for feedback. Try to keep away from an endless feedback loop by finishing this stage in a maximum of three revised versions.
After that, you should run a pilot test of any new training before putting it into circulation. For the best result, work with a small group of audiences who have little knowledge of the training topic. Test learners can experience the training properly without pre-existing impressions of what it is.
Pilot tests provide further review from the side of learners. They allow you to evaluate whether learners can achieve performance objectives as expected.
Step 5: Launch the final version, update, and improve
Now you’re ready with the final version of the online training course. It’s time to upload them to an online platform or learning management system, launching the training to your audience.
Always remember to follow and perform training effectiveness evaluations on a regular basis. We recommend you create detailed reports of course consumption and results on 30, 60, and 90 days respectively after launching.
For corporate training, on-the-job performance is an important metric to show the impact of the course on actual work. Tracking the data and finding out what content works best in the training and what requires improvements.
NOTE: The shelf life of an eLearning course can last from a few months to just over a year. So you should review all modules at least twice a year for adjusting and updating.
To sum up
We hope that you have a good grasp of how to create online training modules through our step-by-step guide. Training development is never a one-and-done process. In case you struggle with optimizing for effective training modules, feel free to call F.Learning for a free consultation.