9 Best Practices To Follow When Converting ILT To eLearning

9 Best Practices To Follow When Converting ILT To eLearning
Summary: Converting Instructor-Led Training (ILT) or classroom training to eLearning demands a well-planned approach. Follow these best practices to convert ILT to eLearning and succeed in conversion projects.

Converting ILT To eLearning: How To Do It The Right Way

Corporate training has come a long way from what it was earlier. Training has extended beyond the walls of the classroom to employees learning anytime, anywhere on mobile devices. So, it’s not surprising that many organizations are either planning to or have gone ahead with converting ILT to eLearning.

You, as training managers, play an important role in the ILT to the eLearning conversion process. Even before you begin converting classroom training to eLearning, you need to analyze the content and decide if the entire classroom training can be replaced with eLearning or if it requires blended learning, a combination of eLearning as well as classroom training. Is there anything you can do to maximize the returns from ILT to eLearning conversion?

Here are some best practices that can make a difference:

1. Select The Right Training Program For ILT To eLearning Conversion

Identifying the training program that’s eligible to be converted to the online mode can prove to be quite a challenge. Not all classroom training content can be converted into online formats. For example, in training that’s highly technical, such as the medical or aerospace industry, or in leadership training programs, a purely online environment may not work. Such training programs need to include a classroom component and qualify for blended learning where only part of the ILT is converted to eLearning.

If you’re just getting started with ILT to eLearning conversion, choose a mandatory or high visibility training program such as compliance training or leadership training. Convert parts of the training to eLearning to cut down on time spent in classroom training. This brings organizational benefits and because it’s a high visibility training program, it’s sure to pave the way for more ILT to eLearning conversion projects in the future.

2. Don’t Skip Pre-Requisites In The ILT Program

Converting ILT to eLearning is easier said than done. What if your existing classroom training requires learners to possess a basic proficiency level before attending the training; how would you address this pre-requisite while converting to eLearning?

Consider an example of sales training at an advanced level. In this case, employees who attend the training are expected to possess the basic knowledge of sales skills. In a classroom, you have an instructor who poses a couple of questions and checks existing knowledge levels before proceeding with the training. But how do you ensure that learners meet the pre-requisites in an eLearning program?

Include a pre-assessment in your eLearning course. If learners fail to achieve the minimum score, have them go through an online course that covers the basic information. This way, you ensure that learners meet pre-requisites even when you convert your ILT course to eLearning.

3. Involve The SME

Get your Subject Matter Expert (SME) involved in the ILT to eLearning conversion project. Converting ILT to eLearning successfully requires a team effort, and the SME has a key role to play. In classroom training, you have the instructor who acts as a bridge between the content and the learners. For content that’s not clear, the instructor is able to give relevant examples or discuss case studies to elaborate. This knowledge is going to remain with the instructors unless it is presented in the eLearning course.

Leverage the SME to plug gaps in the content. Ask him/her to give a detailed explanation where necessary, so that it’s included in the eLearning course. It could be something as simple as capturing a video of the trainer elaborating a particular concept in the classroom or the examples shared. This video can be included as part of the eLearning course when you convert ILT to eLearning.

It’s a good idea to involve SMEs in eLearning course reviews, especially with content that’s highly technical, as they can instantly spot errors if any or suggest whether additional information needs to be added to make the content clear for learners.

4. Transform Content Instead Of Transferring

Simply picking the content from an ILT program and moving it online does not qualify for effective conversion. Converting ILT to eLearning is not about transferring content, it’s about transforming content to promote effective learning.

For instance, if you have excessive text in your ILT program when you convert ILT to eLearning, you could consider using images to represent some part of the text. A slide that presents information in a cluttered manner will do nothing to engage learners in the learning activity. Split the content to multiple slides. In case of a lengthy classroom training program, you might want to consider transforming it into several short eLearning modules instead of a single course.

5. Pay Attention To The Formats Of Content Presentation

The content, as well as the context of the training program, determines the format in which it can be presented. For example, when you have to convey complex information or show learners how to perform a task, a short informative video would be highly effective. If you have to test learners on what they have learned, you could consider using a quiz.

Consider an example where process training is converted from ILT to eLearning. Including an infographic that shows the steps to complete a process can be very useful for learners who are already familiar with the process. They can use the infographic as a job aid. On the other hand, learners who do not know anything about the process will not benefit from the infographic. They need to be given a detailed explanation of the steps involved, and the process can be summarized in the form of an infographic.

Videos, infographics, flowcharts, podcasts, interactive PDFs, and quizzes are a few examples of digital formats that you can use when converting ILT to eLearning.

6. Beat The Forgetting Curve With Microlearning

When you are taking self-paced learning outside the classroom, it’s easier to get distracted. An email that’s just arrived in your inbox, a post on social media, or a colleague who requires some quick help, these are just a couple of distractions you could face. When you convert ILT to eLearning, imagine going through a lengthy eLearning module amidst these distractions; this may not contribute to a sticky learning experience.

Thankfully microlearning is around to help you beat the forgetting curve. Short learning modules that include formats such as videos, flowcharts, podcasts, and infographics and deal with one specific performance-based objective provide focused learning. Microlearning can be used not just to help learners complete tasks at the workplace, it can also be used for reinforcement of training. In a blended learning program, the part of the training that’s covered in the classroom can be reinforced through bite-sized nuggets of learning.

7. Speed Up ILT To eLearning Conversion With Templates

Templates can give you a quick start on the ILT to the eLearning conversion process. Templates offered by various rapid eLearning authoring tools such as Lectora Inspire, Articulate Storyline, and Adobe Captivate make it easier to impart a consistent look for slide layouts and follow company branding guidelines. You can easily include interactivities, and that’s a big plus point considering the demand for rapid eLearning.

Templates save time and effort involved in converting classroom training activities to eLearning. For example, role plays in the classroom can be quickly converted to scenarios using templates.

8. Provide Opportunities For Collaborative Learning

The instructor in the classroom makes the classroom interesting by facilitating discussions and encouraging questions. But how does one take care of this aspect when you convert ILT to eLearning? Provide opportunities for collaborative learning. A simple way to do this would be to facilitate discussion forums on your LMS.

A discussion or message board in the LMS allows learners to interact with each other. Queries on a topic can be posted and peers can answer questions. A constructive discussion is encouraged through discussion forums.

9. Select The Right User Group For Pilot Testing

When you convert an ILT to eLearning, it’s quite tempting to roll out the eLearning course as soon as the quality assurance (QA) checks are complete. But, don’t forget that end users of the course can provide a lot of valuable feedback that can improve course quality. A good practice is to select a group of users from the target audience for whom the course is intended.

This pilot group needs to be a diverse mix (vary in age, gender, experience, etc.). Don’t guide them with course navigation or instructions to complete learning activities. This is one way to check if the course is intuitive, and whether it requires some additional work. After the pilot group completes the course, get their feedback. Ask them if they:

  • Faced problems navigating through the course
  • Had prior knowledge of the course content
  • Felt the course delivered effective learning
  • Have suggestions for improvement

It makes sense to be prepared before you embark on your ILT to eLearning conversion project. Keep in mind these best practices when you’re converting ILT to eLearning, and you should be able to deliver an online training program that’s on par, if not better and more effective than the classroom training program.