7 Tips To Set Your Online Training Course Pace

7 Tips To Set Your Online Training Course Pace
Summary: Online training lets learners set their own pace, but there’s a risk they’ll end up not studying at all. How can you set their pace without imposing on their autonomy or compromising your course flexibility?

Use These Techniques To Set Your Online Training Course Pace

Self-guided online training sounds like a grown-up online learner’s dream. But, without discipline and conscious anti-procrastination efforts, the course will soon gather dust. On the other hand, pacing digital online training is risky. The whole reason many employees sign up is the lack of pressure. They can study how they want and when they want. Thus, giving them any kind of schedule might put them off and compromise your participation rates. They’re just too busy! So how do you safely set the tempo and create the ideal online training course pace?

7 Top Tips To Set The Pace In Online Training

1. Set Measurable Expectations

At the beginning of the online training course, give a rough gauge of how long the online training course could take. You can also include a time estimate for every module. This prompts online learners to set aside that amount of time. Try and keep lessons short, five to fifteen minutes. If you stick with one-hour blocks, online learners will postpone it until they have a whole hour free. And if they procrastinate long enough, they’re bound to just let it slide. In fact, it’s wise to draw up storyboards beforehand that include a time frame estimate. This allows you to cut out the clutter and ensure that every activity is streamlined and well-paced.

2. Tie Rewards To Pacing

Mature online learners don’t respond to force. If anything, it makes them dig in and become more stubborn. So instead of punishing them for being too slow, reward them for working fast, but effectively. It should be simple, light-hearted, and completely voluntary. If they finish a module within a week, they can get a ‘quick learner’ badge on their profile. On top of that, assign a distinct badge whenever they achieve a given skill or attain a pre-set goal. Keep in mind that it shouldn’t be all about the incentives. Speed shouldn’t come at the cost of quality. So, ensure that objectives/goals still factor into the badge-based equation.

3. Include Offline Access

eLearning is, by nature, an online task. But not everyone has WiFi at home or data packets on their phones. Therefore, they may put off their training until they can get extended, uninterrupted time on a connected computer. And between work responsibilities and general adulting, that might never happen. Enable offline access. They can download chapters using the office connection then study at home, in traffic, or at their kid's practice. You might even consider a LMS that features offline mobile support and downloadable content.

4. Offer Optional Study Plans

Another easy fix is to suggest a pace they might follow; for example, assign a time range in days, weeks, or months. They can opt to follow it strictly or use it as a template for their self-study program. The key is to make it optional and to give a range; for example, 2 to 3 weeks rather than 21 days. This gives them wiggle room and allows them to retain their sense of independence. You can even create a study plan for partnered training and assign virtual study buddies.

5. Incorporate Group Sessions

Your online training course should have a few ‘collaborative classes’. Even though digital training doesn’t need an instructor, you can still offer some guidance. As part of this model, have optional live sessions in real-time. Online learners don’t have to attend, but they get online training bonuses if they do. It could be exclusive online training content or a one-on-one lunch with the boss. This will ensure they study the ‘right amount’ between sessions, just so they don’t feel clueless during the ‘live class’.

6. Use Context For Timing

In any online training situation, examples from real life are helpful. Use this factor to set the pace. For example, say you’re offering a product knowledge online training course before the big launch. Create ‘build the buzz’ activities leading up to the event. Such as scavenger hunts that tie into related products. Or group projects that involve creating a presentation for the newest items and sharing it with peers. There’s no concrete deadline, so employees can set their own pace. However, they know that they need to complete the online training course before the launch in order to get the most benefit. Otherwise, they run the risk of dropping to the bottom of the sales leaderboard because their peers are more knowledgeable.

7. Get Feedback To Fine-Tune The Flow

Rushing through activities can compromise the outcomes. While going too slow often bores employees and lowers participation rates. The key is to find a balance. What better way than to ask for their input to set the ideal online training course pace? Surveys, focus groups, and social media polls can help you gather feedback. But assessments are also a great way to gauge whether the pace is on point or needs some minor adjustments. For example, high failure rates indicate that you may need to adjust the pacing to improve retention. This gives you the opportunity to reevaluate the online training courses/activities that tie into often missed questions.


They say people don’t value free things, and that self-paced activities have high drop-out rates. With no external pressure or motivation, most people just peter out. Online learning is lauded for being self-directed, but how can you help your online learners keep at it? Offer them measurable targets, and award badges when they reach them. Build-in offline access, so they can study even when their internet is spotty. Provide a timetable they can opt into, and schedule synchronized group activities. Link your material to offline events, and check on your corporate learners once in a while. See if they’re keeping up and ask how you can help.

Does your LMS support self-paced learning paths? Do you have the power to provide downloadable content and offline mobile access? Our online directory features the top platforms for employee training and professional development. Search by feature, pricing model, and use case to choose the best system for your online training program.