9 Best Practices For Developing Online Training In-House

9 Best Practices For Developing Online Training In-House
Dean Drobot/Shutterstock.com
Summary: You've made the decision to tackle your online training in-house. But where do you even begin? In this article, I'll share the 9 best practices for developing your online training in-house.

How To Develop Online Training In-House: 9 Best Practices

Some organizations choose to outsource their online training to external vendors and service providers. Doing so allows them to focus on other endeavors and tap into the expertise of their collaborators. However, there is also a variety of benefits associated with in-house online training development, especially if you're on a tight eLearning budget and already have the talent the task requires. Here are 9 tips to create online training within your organization.

1. Invest In Rapid eLearning Authoring Tools

Think of rapid eLearning authoring tools as an online training springboard that allows you to get off to a great start. Most of these tools feature asset libraries, eLearning templates, and other valuable online resources. As such, you have the ability to develop your online training course more quickly and cost-effectively. These rapid eLearning authoring tools usually include themes, objects, eLearning characters, and interactions, just to name a few. However, you have to do your research to find the right tool for the task. More importantly, it must align with your organization's needs and abilities. For instance, the skills and talents of your eLearning team.

2. Gather Your eLearning Team Early On

Since we're on the subject of eLearning teams, it's never too early to start identifying your key players and getting them involved. Every member of your eLearning team should be aware of their responsibilities, expectations, and overall learning objectives. They must also have the opportunity to offer their input early on. Your team members may even have recommendations about Instructional Design approaches that best suit the subject matter, or eLearning authoring tools that are ideally suited for your needs and your online training budget.

3. Focus On The Learning Objectives

One of the most common pitfalls of developing online training course in-house is losing sight of the goals, especially if there's a lot of information to cover. For this reason, you should focus on the learning objectives at-hand, and prioritize your desired outcomes. In fact, these elements should frame your entire online training program. Each online training activity, module, or resource needs to tie into a specific learning objective or outcome. Otherwise, your employees may have to contend with cognitive overload. Meet with your Subject Matter Expert to identify the takeaways based on performance and skill gaps. Then turn these pain points into targeted learning objective statements.

4. Create An eLearning Storyboard Before You Curate Online Training Content

The eLearning storyboard serves as a roadmap during the development process. It features all of the elements you need to produce an effective online training course, from the graphics and bullet lists to the interactive exercises. Start with the storyboard, and incorporate placeholders. Then curate online training content that aligns with your learning objectives and goals. This allows you to focus on the framework of your online training course before integrating the aesthetics.

5. Develop Cohesive Guidelines

Every member of your eLearning team should know the overall theme of your online training program. That includes the font type, color scheme, and the tone of your narrative. It's essential to set the standards from day one so that everyone's on the same page. This keeps the online training course design cohesive and well-organized. Keep in mind that your collaborators will be working on their online training assignments independently, or in small groups. Standards give them guidelines to follow, which prevents fragmentation.

6. Find The Right Project Management Online Platform

Project Management online platforms are a must-have for remote eLearning teams. They allow you to stay in touch with your collaborators, share feedback, and assign tasks. You can even keep a group calendar to track important milestones and deadlines. The secret is finding a Project Management tool that offers the features you need at a price you can afford. Do your research and then take advantage of free trials and demos. First and foremost, ask for recommendations from your eLearning team members.

7. Gather Employee Feedback

Employee feedback points you in the right direction and helps you continually improve your online training strategy. You get a fresh perspective of your current online training pain points. As a result, you're able to modify your learning objectives and goals to address these issues. Host focus groups throughout the online training design process so that employees can test out the online training course and then offer their input, and invite them to fill out surveys beforehand in order to uncover hidden skill and performance gaps.

8. Know When It's Time To Outsource

There are certain tasks that may be too involved or technical for your eLearning team to handle. In these instances, you might need to outsource the work to an online training content provider. However, you should evaluate your tools and work process before you invest in a third-party eLearning vendor. You may find that it's simply a matter of upgrading your software to an eLearning authoring tool that is more feature-rich, or finding a more effective Project Management tool to improve your time management and organization.

9. Continually Evaluate Your Online Training Strategy

Online training development doesn't stop after you deploy. You should continually evaluate and improve your online training strategy afterwards to ensure it still hits the target. Gather employee feedback, get input from your eLearning team, and rely on your LMS metrics for Big Data. Analytics can help you identify weak areas in your online training program, such as low participation or engagement rates. Then you can use this data to create a goal-centered plan of action. Even profit/loss reports and customer questionnaires can shed light on training paint points that you need to work on.

Developing your online training in-house doesn't have to be fraught with stress and costly mistakes. In fact, you can use these 9 best practices to streamline the process and achieve the desired results. The key is effective communication with your eLearning team and having the right resources on-hand. It also doesn't hurt to have talented collaborators on your side who can help you navigate the twists and turns.

Are you thinking about launching an online training program in your organization, but you are not sure if you can handle the cost? Read the article Can Your Organization Afford Online Training? 5 Major Costs Involved to find out about the 5 major costs involved in developing online training.