Designing Online Training Contracts: 8 Best Practices eLearning Professionals Need To Know
Do your employees need more motivation? Are you looking for ways to get your staff actively involved in the online training process? Is your online training course failing to achieve the desired results? If so, then online training contracts may be the ideal solution for your organization. In this article, I'll share 8 helpful tips to develop mutually beneficial agreements that fuel employee engagement and participation.
1. Assess Employee Knowledge Beforehand
One of the primary purposes for creating online training contracts is to bridge performance and skill gaps. Specifically, personal gaps that are hindering workplace productivity and preventing employees from achieving their true potential. Before you can fill the gaps, though, you need to identify them. This involves employee evaluations, on-the-job observations, and managerial feedback. Learn as much as possible about your employees' current experience level, knowledge base, and skill proficiencies. Then you'll have the opportunity to create a personal learning path based on their needs.
2. Gauge The Gap
After you identify employee knowledge, the next step is figuring out what they need to achieve and why. Think of their current work skills as a starting point, and then determine where they need to go in order to be productive on-the-job. In other words, what is the destination? This will allow you to create a personalized online training contract that caters to their specific goals and performance. For example, pre-assessments reveal that an employee lacks effective communication skills. You need them to be able to carry out negotiations and handle customer complaints. So how are you going to get them from point A to point B?
3. Determine The Ideal Online Training Resources For The Task
Different gaps call for different online training strategies. Thus, your online training course should include a detailed explanation or list of the available materials. For example, the online training courses that employees must complete in order to broaden their understanding, or Open Educational Resources they can use to explore the subject matter asynchronously. Be clear about how these resources tie into the learning objectives. For instance, the branching scenario will help the employee improve their task performance and conflict resolution skills.
4. Set Realistic Milestones
Online training contracts are ideal for self-paced online training courses, as employees have all the information and tools they need to take control of their own professional developement. However, there may be some who still require a structured schedule. For this reason, you should create realistic milestones that focus on specific training goals. This is particularly useful for long-term goals that are more involved. Employees have the power to break them down into more manageable tasks, which boosts their motivation. You can even give them the opportunity to set their own schedules, provided that they complete the requirements within a specific time frame.
5. Plan For Every Eventuality
Of course, it's impossible to plan for every unexpected issue that may arise. However, you can still create a plan of action for the most common hurdles that an employee might face. For instance, their motivation starts to wane, or they are unable to complete a task on time. Therefore, you should have protocols in place to resolve problems quickly. Meet with the employee to discuss the most significant challenges, then jointly decide how you will deal with the matter, including follow-up procedures. For example, you are going to re-assess their progress every week if they score low on their monthly manager evaluations.
6. Develop Effective Criteria
Online training contracts are designed to personalize the online training experience, and give employees the support they need to achieve their objectives. However, you must have clear criteria in place in order to gauge their progress and proficiency. Otherwise, they are unable to monitor their progress and achieve success. As "success" is a relative term, get employees involved in the criteria development process, and ask them to define a successful outcome. What do they want to achieve by the end of the online training program? How will their newfound knowledge and skills help them in the future? How are you going to evaluate their progress along the way?
7. Create A Plan Of Online Communication And Collaboration
Employees need continual support during the online training process. This may be in the form of one-on-one video conferences, "moment of need" tools, or peer-based feedback. Develop communication guidelines so that they know when, how, and who to contact if they run into a problem. In addition, offer them online collaboration tools to achieve more favorable results. For example, social media groups and online forums where they can discuss online training issues.
8. Have A Follow-up Plan In Place
After the employee successfully fulfills their contract obligations, schedule a follow-up meeting to discuss their overall online training experience. This also gives you the opportunity to gather valuable feedback, which you can use to improve your online training course design for future corporate learners. This is also the time to provide your employees with supplemental resources they can use to develop their talents. For example, voluntary online training modules or activities that involve related tasks or skills. They have the chance to upskill, broaden their knowledge base, and improve performance whenever it's most convenient. As such, they are more likely to remain with your organization and climb the corporate ladder.
Online training contracts clarify expectations and offer employees the guidance they need to achieve success. You can use these 8 best practices to create effective online training contracts for your corporate learners. Keep in mind that ongoing communication is essential for continual improvement. Ensure that employees always have the support they require, and access to online training resources.
Do you need to add even more personalization to your online training program? Read the article 7 Best Practices For Developing Personalized eLearning Courses to find out which are the best practices for developing personal, relatable, and meaningful eLearning courses.