Editor’s Note: Today’s guest post is by Sharlyn Lauby, president of ITM Group Inc., a management development training firm located in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. ITM Group is documenting their journey into eLearning as part of a guest series for OpenSesame.
Earlier this year, my company decided to convert some of our classroom training programs to an eLearning format. This probably isn’t a surprise. With all the enhancements in technology, companies are very receptive to eLearning and employees like having the ability to learn wherever they are. As a training vendor, it just makes sense for our company to look at offering training in this format.
Since we’ve been talking with OpenSesame about bringing our programs to their site, I thought it would be an interesting idea to blog about the experience. I’m sure people have questions, like we did, and others can benefit from our experience.
The first thing we’ve discovered in this process is there are lots of decisions that have to be made before even thinking about the training programs themselves.
Decide your goal.
Before doing anything, ask yourself why you want to offer online training. This will have an impact on future decisions. Are you trying to expand your customer base? Looking for ways to generate passive revenue? Or maybe just tired of standing all day in a classroom?
Choose your marketing partner.
We don’t even have the first training program up yet and OpenSesame has already earned the title. They spoke to us before we had confirmed the decision to create online content. And they’ve always been available to answer questions about eLearning and share best practices. Super helpful!
Determine the best authoring tool for your needs.
This is a huge decision! There are many authoring tools on the market – Articulate, Adobe, PowerPoint, etc. Find the one that will suit your needs. You’re going to be married to it for a while. We decided on Articulate. And thanks to some great timing, we were able to take a Rapid eLearning Workshop to learn more about using the tool.
Now! You can start talking about training courses.
Examine your training inventory. Find the course that you feel would be the best one to tackle first. Since this the first one, consider a few things:
- Use content you’re very familiar with. We all have training programs that don’t get used quite as often. And these could be perfect for an online course, but since you’re learning a new process and software, it might be best to stick with the content you know best.
- Think modular format. If the training program is currently a half- or full-day of classroom training, is this program easy to divide into smaller segments?
Lastly, think about revisions.
It might sound crazy to think about revising something that hasn’t been created but we want to create online training that can be maintained and updated easily. There’s nothing worse than content that looks outdated. As new technology and examples become available, you’ll want programs that keep current.
These decisions will help you set the strategy for developing online content. But there is more. You have to think about branding your training programs. Sounds like a good topic for my next post…
Sharlyn Lauby is a HR pro turned consultant with more than 20 years of professional human resources experience. Her blog, HR Bartender, has been recognized as one of the Top 10 Business and HR Blogs to Read by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM), Top 50 Business Blogs by Business Pundit and SparkHire’s Top 25 Must-Read Blogs for Employers. Connect with her on Google+ or follow her on Twitter.