Through time, eLearning has proved to be more competent and cost-effective as compared to traditional training. Studies demonstrate that those trained via eLearning show an improvement in performance much higher than those instructed using the traditional face-to-face methods. Many companies have converted the traditional learning sessions into eLearning by using various eLearning best practices that assist to achieve excellent transition.
Here are 8 best pratices that we have picked up during the years that have helped us immensely when converting ILT to e-Learning:
#1: Move away from the practice of taking traditional curriculum and moving it online
What works well in person and in traditional classroom situations does not translate to the eLearning environment. Take the Power Point, for example. In traditional training sessions, instructors can stop and discuss each slide more deeply, answer questions and encourage discussion. In the eLearning environment, the Power Point becomes a boring slide show that employees simply click through as quickly as possible or only refer to when completing the assignment.
Remember: “Moving content online is not simply about transferring content - it is about transforming content”.
#2: Identify best-fit eLearning course format
This is the primary aspect of E-learning best practices which involves the identification of the e-learning format. Generally traditional training can be converted into three primary e-learning formats.
- Synchronous Learning: It is a real time, instructors led online learning session which involves the participants by logging on at the same time and interact directly. This format is typically supported by media such as video and audio conference. Synchronous learning is a social format and encourages the new e-learners to participate rather than feeling isolated.
- Asynchronous Learning: Learning format which involves the communication between the instructor and the learners in an irregular manner with short breaks. For example self-paced courses, online discussions and etc. Opposite of traditional training, it takes place in a surrounding where each learner communicates directly with the content through the technology system, providing flexibility in time and access for the learner by permitting learner to control the program, location and the pace.
- Blended Learning- This format amalgamates synchronous and asynchronous learning.
#3: Start simple!
Don’t try to go crazy creating award winning eLearning course. Your objective is to develop courses that communicate content correctly, where learners are able to understand and become better at their jobs. An eLearning tool like SHIFT gives you some really nice starter templates to help you organize content in the best way.
Bottom line: Keep it short, simple, and moving.
#4: Research and Examine the Instructional design Models
It is essential to conduct proper research to find the best instructional design model. Many companies ignore the aspect by merely questioning that why is it vital to use an Instructional design model? The logic behind it is simple; the use of instructional design model can make sure that learning occurs safely, surely, systematically and expeditiously than might otherwise occur. Moreover, it will ease the learning process such that the learners need less time, take less risk and put in less amount of energy as compare to those who learned from the raw world without any support.
#5: Organize and manage content
The managed and organized course content has a complete schedule, clear learning objectives, examples and instructional content. Carefully chosen graphics and animations can put across learning points, detailed content and help the learners to recall. Remember that content is the king when it comes to e-learning, therefore the course content should be updated regularly with fresh information.
"Content is not king. If content were king, shovel-ware would be worthwhile. There are no kings. Content, delivery, motivation, and relevance have to work in concert for learning to occur" (Internet Time Group’s).
Consider these 3 factors:
- Content needs to be organized specifically for elearning pruposes. Copying and pasting information from PowerPoint or Word file onto the screen is not recommended at all. For example, organize content in modules and sections.
- Adapt the tone of content (according to your audience).
- People read differently online than on paper, therefore,content needs to be presented in different ways.
#6: Evaluate Feedback
Unique and productive feedback should be provided by the instructor. The feedback must logically explain the reason and positive messages such as “try again” or “practice more” shall be conveyed to the learners. This will encourage them to work hard and seek feedback for the pertinent material in order to improve it.
With the application of these e-learning best practices, companies can easily and smoothly convert traditional training into e-learning.
#7: Use eLearning development tools
eLearning rapid development tools can be very helpful resources for organizations in this transition process. Tools like SHIFT help non-technical HR and training professionals build and publish eLearning courses quickly easily with no programming or graphic design skills required. We definitely encourage the use of these types of tools.
#8: Ensure successful interaction
Interaction is a central element of an online education and e-learning best practices. Without direct and clear interaction, there is no use of an e-learning conversion. There are three types of interactions-
- Learner to Mentor- This interaction takes place between the mentor and the learner and happens via print, online dialogue and classroom discussions etc.
- Learner to Content- This form refers to the communication between the delivered content and the learner. Experts state that remarkable learning can be achieved if the learner relates to the content and develops a sound understanding of it.
- Learner to Leaner- This type of interaction may happen with or without the presence of the mentor. The learners get engaged in the discussion originated by the instructor.