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Instructional Design / September 3, 2020
If you had to make a quick transition to online training because of the pandemic, you’re not alone!
Countless instructional designers, learning and development professionals, and teachers were forced to shift their strategies.
How did your transition to online training go in that first month? If it was overwhelming, don’t worry! Recently, I sat through my daughter’s first day of kindergarten, where the teacher had to take her entire curriculum and transition to online learning for students. Can you say yowser?
I am sure making that transition to online was a big task for her as it was a big task for me to shift my entire day to sit next to my daughter while she learned how to navigate online learning as a 5-year-old.
Now that we’ve all settled into a new normal, I’ve got some tips for making an efficient and effective transition to online training. Because I’ve got some news for you: online training isn’t going to disappear with the pandemic! It’s time to embrace the new opportunities that come along with online training instead of just reacting to them!
I mean, has anyone else gotten used to curbside pickup? Just the other day, I ordered 10 gallons of paint from Sherman Williams, paid for it, and drove it home without ever getting out of my car or touching anything. Hello, can we keep that service?
Anyway, I’ve got some great tricks for stepping up your game with engaging and collaborative online learning solutions for those already comfortable developing eLearning. Online learning can be in the form of eLearning courses in a learning management system, live instructor-led webinars, and educational videos.
After months of working and even socializing through a screen, dull online training doesn’t sound too appealing. It’s time to get creative with how you create and deliver online learning.
I even have some tips to help relieve the workload for my corporate learning and development professionals. Plus, I’ll throw in all the amazing benefits to this shift in the learning landscape that will make everyone’s job easier!
Converting Face-to-Face Instruction to Online Training
Instructional designers understand taking an existing, instructor-led training and converting it to an online format is easier said than done! So it can be frustrating when stakeholders or clients assume the transition to online training will be quick and easy.
Having organized content from a face-to-face (F2F) course is a great starting point. Dumping those contents right into PowerPoint might be fast, but it’s unlikely to leave you with an engaging course. Follow these best practices when it comes to converting face-to-face sessions to an online format:
1. Conduct a training needs analysis.
Yep, even though you’re converting an existing course, I wouldn’t skip this step! Especially if you weren’t the one who developed the F2F course. This step will help you understand the objectives and the training audience.
During the analysis stage, you’ll gather the information you need to decide what online format is the best fit for the project. I also recommend getting stakeholder input on any updates that might be required and any feedback from learners collected in the past.
Grab a copy of the free Training Needs Analysis template here.
2. Determine the best format for the online version of the training.
Once you’ve got a better idea of your audience, you have a few options to choose from for your online training. These are some of the best delivery methods for a converted course:
Video-based learning is my personal fave. I have a whole blog explaining why. One of those reasons is because this training method has a broad reach. It’s easy to distribute, and it’s useful for a general audience.
I have a free DIY Online Course Builder template that’s perfect for video-based lessons.
Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT) saw a massive increase in popularity due to COVID. This is partly because so many training sessions had to go on. There just wasn’t time to convert them! Webinars allow for some simple collaboration, plus the audience can ask questions in real-time.
However, this is typically a synchronous format. That means the audience must all login for training at a designated time. Plus, you’re reliant on the availability and consistency of a trainer and internet connection. I don’t know about you, but since COVID hit, I have had some spotty connectivity from time to time.
You can always record live VILT for learners to access later, but this isn’t always the best choice depending on the audience.
eLearning Training Modules could be the right choice if your organization has a learning management system in place. With modules, you can embed video lessons, knowledge checks, PDFs, and other content. Here’s a resource with some more detailed information about creating eLearning training modules.
Like with video-based learning, this is a self-paced, self-directed training style. Unlike video-based learning, training modules require the learner to navigate an LMS, which isn’t for everyone.
If you just can’t narrow it down, you might need a Blended Approach. A blended approach is just what it sounds like: combining online and live sessions. This option is probably the most time-consuming, but depending on your audience, it can also be the most beneficial!
3. Update the content.
Since you already have to transition to online training, you might as well take another look at the course content. Maybe this is a course that you didn’t initially develop for the client. Perhaps it was designed years ago and has some out-of-date information.
If you’re not in a time crunch, it’s worth reviewing the existing course content. Ask a subject matter expert to look over the lesson. Review any data or feedback collected during the face-to-face sessions. Engage with other stakeholders. You’ll be able to make valuable changes to the new course that will only improve its effectiveness!
4. Incorporate multimedia.
I’m talking about audio, video, images, or animation. Adding multimedia thoughtfully helps keep the user engaged and reinforces key points. What you add and how much will depend on the format of your training. It could be as simple as finding relevant images (I like Envato Elements as asubscription or try Unsplash, which is free).
You might need to hire a voice-over artist or enlist the help of an eLearning developer before you can finalize your course. So even though it’s the last item on my list, it shouldn’t be your final consideration during your transition to online training!
Benefits of the Transition to Online Training
Online training was a preferred method of learning even pre-pandemic. Your clients or management team might need a nudge towards investing more resources into their online training project. So here are just a few of the benefits to online training post-pandemic:
- A remote workforce is the wave of the future! Online training allows for distance learning regardless of office location.
- In-house online training is an alternative to expensive, third-party training. These often require participants to travel and miss their typical workday.
- Online training provides consistency since all participants receive the same information. This is especially beneficial in big companies with multiple locations.
- Convenience- you don’t have to worry about scheduling an instructor, space, and make-up sessions for online training.
- Easy to access and distribute. Once you’ve created a training, it can easily be sent to new hires. Employees can also revisit training whenever they need the information.
Make Engaging Online Training
One of the challenges in your transition to online training is keeping your learners engaged even though they’re not sitting in front of you. The good news is, you can leverage what you already know about learning strategies.
With a few tweaks, those skills can be translated to the online learning environment. If you need a refresher, check out my course, 7 Learning Strategies Every Course Should Have. Here are some of my favorite engagement strategies that are specific to online training.
This strategy in online training takes video-based learning and training modules to the next level. Lectures can be tedious, regardless of whether they’re online or in-person. Break up your content by asking the learning to engage with it.
Using interaction well in your transition to online training maximizes your course effectiveness. However, as I’ve said before, clicking next is not engagement! Here are just a few interactions that make online training more engaging and effective:
- Embedded flashcards
- Drag and drop scenarios
- Knowledge checks
- Branching stories
- Click to reveal tabs
When choosing an interaction, ask yourself this: is it adding to the learning experience? If the answer is yes, go for it!
With so much content available at our fingertips, mobile accessibility is huge when it comes to online learning. If your transition to online training doesn’t include making your courses mobile-friendly, I’ve got a quick scenario for you.
Let’s say you’re on your phone and you scroll past an ad that grabs your attention. When you click the link, the desktop version of the store is the only thing that displays. Do you waste time zooming and scrolling on a site that just isn’t working correctly on your phone? Do you take the time to send yourself the link and open it on a laptop? No way! That bug is going to cost the company your sale.
It’s the same with online training. Especially now that a large part of the workforce is remote, users are likely to open the training invitation or see a reminder on their phone. Without the ability to navigate the training via mobile, your training gets moved to the bottom of the to-do list.
Luckily, many eLearning platforms have mobile accessibility built-in. Instructional designers should always check the mobile preview before they finalize a course. If you’re designing online training specifically for mobile use, check out these ten tips.
If you (or your kids) have ever lost track of time playing a meaningless game on your phone, you already know about this strategy! Game developers have been using tactics to make sure you keep playing their game for years.
Gamification in online training takes these tactics and applies them to learning. A great example of fully gamified learning is the app Duolingo. Users hardly realize they’re learning when they’re focused on maintaining streaks and earning badges.
You don’t have to develop your own Candy Crush-style app for your training to leverage gamification. Adding in challenges, a progress bar, or starting a leaderboard for the training group are simple ways to make sure your training sticks with the learners. Check out this list of even more tactics for creating “sticky” learning with gamification.
I see a huge opportunity in this relatively new online training format. If you’re not familiar with microlearning, it’s basically a quick hit of training (aka just in time). It’s more casual and flexible, but the content builds strategically to maximize retention.
Microlearning is exciting because it doesn’t have to be a fancy eLearning module. Some professionals even compare microlearning content to social media posts: short but memorable! A microlearning ‘lesson’ might be text, video, or even a game.
Like other online training methods, microlearning’s flexibility and accessibility mean it’s a resource that learners can continue to revisit when they need the information. Sounds like a good investment to me!
You’ll need an LMS or another platform to support microlearning and user access on-demand if you want to leverage this format. If you’re interested in learning more about microlearning, check out this great resource.
Think Outside the Box
Especially during such a transitional time, it’s more important than ever to get creative with learning. We’ve seen teachers writing math problems on their students’ driveways with chalk. There are even celebrities reading children’s stories on Instagram live!
How can we take that energy and apply it to our work in instructional design? I have a few ideas!
One of the biggest benefits of online training is its flexibility. But because of that flexibility, not everyone is going to be advancing through the course at the same time. This can be really limiting when it comes to finding opportunities for your learners to collaborate.
A social learning community is a great solution. Encourage learners to contribute to the group at the end of each lesson or to go to the group with questions. You can leverage an existing LMS for its chat and message board features or use social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter.
If you are interested in learning more about these, my friend, Susan Gatti. works with corporations and entrepreneurs to establish social learning communities.
Communities for Instructional Designers
In our line of work, we contribute to a team effort but a huge part of the job is working alone. That can take a toll on anyone, especially during a time when you’re physically isolated from colleagues (and even friends or family!)
So as much as I like using social learning for online training, I also use it for myself! Being a part of an online community keeps me connected to other instructional designers and keeps me up to date on trends and best practices.
I love getting inspiration from other instructional designers in The Hangout. They also provide a place I can go to ask questions or get quick help solving an instructional design problem.
My best advice is to search for other instructional designers that share your values and follow them on social media. Check out the professionals whose work they repost to keep growing your network. While you’re searching, be sure you’re already following me on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!
I recently found a great podcast that I’ve been recommending to new instructional designers. I would never have discovered the podcast or the wonderful host if I hadn’t been following an instructional design hashtag on Twitter. You never know what gems you’ll find when you get active in the social learning community.
Not only is this a great way to leverage existing talent, but it can also give an instructional designer a bit of a break! This one’s for my corporate L&Ds who already have a ton of projects in the pipeline. There are so many online courses and webinars available. If you get a training request and you know there’s a great course already available online, why reinvent the wheel?
In order to make the most of outsourced training, you have to do your research. Look into the organization, the presenter, and the learning objectives before you commit. If you’re not sure if the course is a good fit, email the organization and schedule a meeting so you can ask more questions.
Of course, this is mostly important for courses you’re interested in investing in. Free courses webinars are a much lower risk. However, you can’t rely on that content being available for as long as you’ll need the training.
A Peaceful Transition
To online training, that is! Shifting your training to online-only doesn’t have to be a headache. I know the rapid development that needed to happen in March left many of us scrambling. Well, I’m here to tell you your online training will not always be this hectic.
Transitioning to online training has so many benefits when it’s done right. Plus, it opens you, your clients, and/or your companies up to a whole new world of engaging learning. I want you to drop down to the comments right now and share one idea you’re pumped to try in your current or upcoming online training project.
Remember, I’m always here to help make this a peaceful transition. Check out my Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program or schedule a one-on-one coaching session.
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The Testimonials are In:
Working with Shanwtay and Katie at the Instructional Design Company was a dream come true. Their creativity, expertise, and professionalism throughout the entire process was beyond top notch. I engaged them to help turn my first book into a training course, and I could not be happier with how the final product turned out. If you have an instructional design project and you’re considering which company to work with, you can stop your search and thank me later. They are truly the best in the business.
I joined the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program because I struggled to find jobs in instructional design beyond the development phase. I’ve done a couple of training programs with lots of random projects, but I was overwhelmed, not connecting the dots, and not good at structuring my writing to hit learning objectives. I was looking for motivation and direction at beginning a better Instructional Designer.
After taking the Instructional Design & Tech Certificate program and joining my fantastic team for support, I found the structure and approach to be what I need to take my next steps, evening improving my skills in the development stage.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I love how this course let’s you work at your own pace. I got great tips and learned many things. The ongoing support for multiple people and groups is what I love the best. You are never alone in this process. I have been able to adjust my resume and began creating a portfolio of work I’ve completed to add when applying for jobs. I use many of the PowerPoint skills in my lessons and trainings. I would highly recommend this for anyone wanting to become an instructional designer.
Teacher, Future Instructional Designer
I have searched for the last few years to find some suitable career change where I wouldn’t have to earn another degree and where I could use the talents and skills I already have as a teacher. When I came across the Instructional Design Accelerator course, I loved the fact that Shawntay was a former teacher and could relate to a teacher’s need to transition from the classroom. This was what sold the course for me. Her experiences are invaluable especially when translating teacher duties to instructional designer duties. I would (and have) recommended this program to other teachers I know who are looking to transition out of the classroom. I do appreciate ALL of her feedback on my projects!
L&D Project Manager
The Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator certificate program is one of the most comprehensive ID programs out there for beginners. If you’re looking to grow your schools in ID and development then I highly recommend this program. Not only will this program give you an overview of theory, but you will receive a thorough walkthrough of how to apply what you have learned. Although I had already secured a position in Learning & Development when I bought this course, it helped me to move up into a new position as a Learning & Development Project Manager!
Future Instructional Designer
If you have any interest in ID, sign up for this program NOW! Shawntay and her team are top notch! The course content exceeded my expectations in a big way and the encouragement and support continues to be so valuable. You will not feel alone going through this course, you will learn so much, you’ll have many cheerleaders, and you will have fun!
Future Instructional Designer
I am really enjoying this program! It’s prerfect for someone who is thinking about a career shift to Instructional Design and does not have a lot of experience. This is my first real introduction to Instructional Design and it’s been the perfect beginner course to help me get my feet wet. The modules are broken down well and it’s great to go at your own pace and at your own time. The modules themselves are very comprehensive and you learn a lot from all of them. I really like how each one build upon each other and you’re working towards the bigger project of designing your first training course from scratch. I’m learning so much from going through this course! I was provided great feedback from Katie and Shawntay through the process via Trello Boards, comments on the Google documents, and Facebook group. This course has been well worth the time and effort and I appreciate the fact that I will always have the resources available to me after I complete the training (just in case I’m not quite ready to transition yet).
Future Instructional Designer
I can’t say enough great things about the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program! The length of the program is perfect; it doesn’t feel rushed and there’s just the right amount of structure to give you the accountability you need. There are so many opportunities to get live answers to any questions you have related to the course content or anything ID-related! This program gave me the support and structure I needed to both feel affirmed in the relevant skills I already had coming in and to fill in the gaps I had as a career-changer going into ID. Shawntay, Katie, and all the coaches are super helpful and supportive. I now feel confident that I have the tools and access to resources I need to apply for ID jobs without wondering if there’s something I’m “missing” in the preparation process. I’d highly recommend this program to anyone wanting to transition into ID or who just wants to brush up on their skills in the field.
Krista Johnson Awomoyi
Freelance Instructional Designer
I’d highly recommend the Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program. I’m blown away by how much I learned in just 12 weeks. I had ID experience prior to taking this course and was just looking to get a better understanding of applying adult learning principles. This course well exceeded my expectations! Not only did I gain a clear understanding of adult learning principles, I was also able to apply those principles by creating assets for your portfolio using PowerPoint, Adobe Premiere Pro and Storyline. The hands on support that we received was top notch.
This program is one of the most robust yet fulfilling L&D programs I’ve seen. I learned so much about the industry and about the limitlessness of my own capabilities. I am so appreciative of Shawntay and all of the trainers who took part in the program. They went above and beyond with not only guiding, but communicating live and working one on one or in small groups. If you are on the fence, I say take the leap and you will not regret it! There’s so much to learn, not only from the trainers, but also the learners in your group. Everyone comes in with their own skills and can be additional support and guidance for you. Thank you for creating this program!
Instructional Designer Training Facilitator
Shawntay is an amazing individual. She is very knowledgeable in all aspects of ID and eLearning. She is also very compassionate and loves to help and see everyone around her grow and prosper. Shawntay has been a great mentor to me and she has helped me mature as an instructional designer and eLearning developer. She has provided me with opportunities when others have overlooked me. I am very grateful to have met and built a lifelong relationship with Shawntay.
I recently got hired into my first instructional design / training position and Shawntay was one of the first people to congratulate me!
Freelance Instructional Designer
My teacher-to-instructional-designer journey began two years ago when I left my teaching comfort zone and started my first freelance ID job. Now, I’m stepping out of the classroom and taking my freelance work full-time, so I’m thrilled to be joining the Tech Accelerator program. Adding technologies like Articulate 360 and Adobe Premiere Pro to my qualifications will help me take my courses to the next level and attract more clients!
Teacher Transitioning into Instructional Design
I am genuinely grateful for this course. I wanted a real-world perspective and feel like I got it. I’m teaching now, but nearing retirement age but can see myself working as an instructional designer well into my retirement years. My other goal is to take as many courses in statistics as possible in hopes of bringing some mathematical precision to the ROI question. Like you say, getting accurate metrics to measure ROI can be a challenge, but I intend to work on that part. That’s unimportant right now, what is important is the fact that I feel like this course was well worth every penny I spent and I would to it again in a heartbeat. I have too much going on right now, but as soon as I get some time freed up I intend to take your course in project management.
Turns Your Written Thoughts Into a Masterpiece!
Shawntay Skjoldager can turn your written thoughts into a masterpiece. She is great to work with and the most organized person I know!
President and CEO, The Creative Entreprenuer
Shawntay has been incredible!
Shawntay has been incredible and her team is responsive and effective in translating my training programs into professional presentations. Don’t hesitate to contact her for your project.
Beth B. De Lima, MBA, SPHR-CA, SHRM-SCP
President and Principal of HRM Consulting, Inc.
IDC is My Secret Weapon to Soar Above My Competition!
The IDC team has been my secret and special weapon of success. They have delivered above and beyond with every single project out in front of them. They have met and beat timelines. They have been Uber responsive every step of the way. I keep them on speed dial and have and continue to recommend them to friends and clients. If you are in need of instructional design and plenty more, this is THE ALL-STAR team that will more than deliver and help make you and your project soar above the competition.
LT. COL. Jason O. Harris
U.S. Air Force Officer, Special Operations Pilot, U.S.A.F. Academy Instructor, Motivational Speaker
A Tremendous Asset to the Project Team!
Working with Shawntay and the Instructional Design Company has allowed our university to meet the growing demands of our programs. Shawntay’s expertise allowed for the course development to be completed on time and met all of the university requirements. Shawntay’s project management skills were phenomenal and allowed my team to work on other areas while she completed this project for us. Her work is of high quality and her professionalism and willingness to help made her a tremendous asset to the project team.
Academic Quality Assurance Specialist, Abilene Christian University
Creative & Highly Talented!
Shawntay is a creative and highly talented instructional designer. She brought a wealth of knowledge, expertise, and leadership that enabled her to own the design and creation of a full scale facilitator curriculum and train-the-trainer program. It was a pleasure to partner with Shawntay, her project management and communication skills ensured the project was on time and on budget.
Breaks Down Mammoth Projects
“Shawntay is quick study and carefully synthesizes information for presentations that are clear, concise and captivating. Her personality draws the audience in and her content mastery is excellent. A team player and organizer, Shawntay has the ability to break down mammoth projects, keep everybody on time and on task.”
Author, Speaker, Strengths Coach
“I have had many opportunities to work with Shawntay—mainly in the support of implementing new eLearning initiatives. I have been very impressed by her ability to quickly learn how to use rapid eLearning development tools and effectively use them to create multiple courses within a short timeframe. Shawntay’s enthusiastic nature, attention to detail, and dedication to her work make her a pleasure to work with and a great asset to both Texas A&M University-Commerce and the broader training community within the Texas A&M University System.”
Director of Learning Strategy, Caveo Learning
Top Notch Professional
Working with Shawntay has been an immense pleasure. She is atop notch professional who brings enthusiasm and extensiveexpertise to professional curriculum development and execution. Her knowledge of tried and true techniques to maximize the effectiveness of presentations is invaluable.
Nancy Drapeau, PRC
Vice President of Research, CEIR - Center for Exhibition Industry Research
Fortunate to Find Shawntay!
“I was fortunate to find Shawntay when our organization was looking to expand and update our educational offerings. Shawntay proved herself to be an educational and personal development expert who immediately made an impact with our clients throughout Europe. Everyone who came into contact with Shawntay was immediately impressed by her level of expertise and willingness to share her knowledge with those around her. I would not hesitate to recommend Shawntay to anyone looking for an education subject matter expert.”
Director of Qualifications and NSD Services, Mary Kay Inc.
Short Turn Around. On Time. Under Budget!
“We hired Shawntay to develop a training facilitator’s guide and PowerPoint slide deck for an operations manual heavy with technical content. The project was made more challenging by a very short turn around, 5 business days, and the fact that the operations manual wasn’t complete and was being updated simultaneously with the facilitator’s guide and slide deck. Despite these challenges, Shawntay delivered as promised. On time and under budget.”
Dave Beeman, CPP
Vice President, Andy Frain Services
Need an Expert Who Consistently Delivers?
“Working with Shawntay you will immediately notice her professional presence and poise, but over time her tenacious pursuit of excellence and her skills in instructional development and adult learning will really impress you. I worked with her at Mary Kay, and was able to experience firsthand her great rapport with regional partners in Europe, understanding their unique sales force training needs. In addition, Shawntay consistently exhibited grace under pressure, made executive decisions to move business forward. If you are looking for an expert who consistently delivers and goes the extra mile to get things done, contact Shawntay!”
Marketing Director, Academic Partnerships
Quality Products & Solutions!
“I had had the pleasure of knowing and working with Shawntay on more than a few occasions. I found her to be a very good business partner and very committed to delivering a quality product or solution in a timely manner. I have always had a positive experience in partnering with Shawntay and would recommend that you consider leveraging her talent.”
Judy Owen, CPC
Transformational Leadership Coach
“Invest in yourself and take your skills to the next NEXT level!”
Get yourself signed up for Shawntay Skjoldager’s Instructional Design & Tech Accelerator Certificate Program today and be on your way to success! Within the first week of taking her course, you will experience growth! Be sure to plug into her Facebook Q&A sessions for personalized help, too. This is THE course to take if you are new to instructional design or have landed on the training team and need help getting started.
Managing Partner, PHiG
“Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!”
Shawntay has exceptional knowledge and experience with all aspects of creating and implementing effective, performance based training for adults. She is exceptional at needs analysis – identifying target audiences and collaborating with business owners to keep training focused on business needs. And she is great to work with – always providing great support to get projects done on-time and on-target. She is always on the look-out for new and more effective ways to engage learners. Her enthusiasm for adult learning is contagious!
eLearning Developer/Instructional Designer, Vivos Therapeutics
I have known and worked with Shawntay as a education program director and use the expertise of ShawntayMichelle for the development of my presentations. The service has always been “spot on” with professionalism, care and attention. Shawntay’s recommendations to my ideas make me look good to my clients.
Al Lomas CMP, CEM, CMM, CFE
Owner, Certified Consulting Services
“Shawntay Skjoldager reached in and made my training life so much easier!”
I am new to the training design and development world and I was SO excited to get in there, but I really lacked the real-world knowledge that would set me apart from my peers. And, then Shawntay Skjoldager walked into my life with an outstretched hand and a seemingly endless list of ways to knock every training out of the park. From the Training Analysis Form to the Tay Tay tips, this course made my life so much easier and even ironed out the review process that I had been struggling with for months.
Take time to invest in your own learning and make sure to put Shawntay Michelle at the top of your personal development list!
Training Specialist, LegalShieldCourses