You think you’re finally ready to launch your corporate training course. You do checks to see if the course is solid when it comes to instructional methodology. You also do a final check on the module’s overall look and feel. You’re very confident that the learners will find the eLearning course engaging and pleasant.
Everything seems good to go. However, come deployment time, issues keep popping up. Then it hit you! Just when you’ve thought that everything was in tip-top shape, you find out that the module you’ve just uploaded is not working. You quickly retrace everything you’ve done up to the point before launching your eLearning corporate training course to find out what went wrong, where, and when.
Online learning courses that seem to malfunction or ‘suddenly’ contain mistakes at the last minute is a very common ‘phenomenon.’ And part of your job as an instructional designer is to make sure that everything is ready before launching an eLearning training course.
5 Things to Consider Before Launching Your Online Training Program
In the field of eLearning, you have to be keen-eyed and detailed – especially before launching your corporate training course. We want to help you avoid such an episode; and so, we’d like to share with you five questions you need to ask yourself before launching your online training course.
1. Are the learning objectives based on key business metrics?
The creator’s main responsibility is to ensure that all learning objectives are met at the end of the course. And to do this, you would need to check if the learning objectives aim to impact business metrics before you launch your eLearning corporate training course.
At the end of the day, all training courses will be all about producing results. And a course’s success will solely be based on whether or not it was able to make a positive impact on the business.
This is why key business metrics are the basis for learning objectives. In turn, learning objectives are based on the learning needs of the employees. These learning needs are then based on trends in performance, employee/management feedback, and observed/perceived behavior.
As an instructional designer, it is your job to ensure the integrity of the process training and development process – getting data, analyzing it, formulating learning objectives, creating and evaluating courses. Therefore, sound learning objectives are a product of maintaining this process. So, if there’s something amiss when setting learning objectives for a course, you might want to also take a close look at your company’s entire training process as well.
2. Is the course tailor-fit for the intended learners?
Two of the biggest considerations in instructional design is the content of the course and the learners’ context. These two have to coincide. For example, your course might contain the most beautiful and professionally-created content in the world, but all that would mean nothing if the course fails to address the learner’s context.
Not addressing the context will result in the learners not being able to apply the skills learned to their everyday tasks. Therefore, you always need to consider your learners’ context when you design content for a course (and vice versa). In doing so, you always need to make sure that everything is tailor-fit to your learners’ needs before launching your eLearning course.
Remember that while you all may work for the same company, each department works differently from each other. Each work team also has different key metrics, different issues at work, and sometimes also have their own subculture. The best way to address this is to work with a subject matter expert. This person knows the ins and outs of the team’s operations and is a firsthand source of the most common issues that employees face at work.
More importantly, another way to tailor-fit courses is to know your audience well. Do your research. Talk personally to the employees, ask them questions, or observe how they are at work. You’ll be surprised at how much insight spending a few minutes with your learners can give you.
3. Are the assessments scenario-based?
We got so used to taking academic and standardized tests at school that we also apply the same concepts to online training courses. While these types of assessments may be effective for student knowledge checks; do remember that in corporate training, the goal is to develop skills to be applied in the workplace.
The concept of scenario-based assessments is somewhat related to addressing the learners’ context. Aside from the course’s content needing to coincide with context, assessments have to reflect real-life scenarios too. What use is asking a certain question if it and its answer does not reflect whatever’s happening in real life?
Instead of the usual ‘academic’ questions, assessment items can be phrased in the context of work scenarios – and this goes even for the more trivial questions. Moreover, if you’re using multiple-choice items, also ensure that the all the choices are actually feasible and viable options.
4. Are the means of delivery adapted to the current business needs/context?
Another point to add is to make sure that the course’s means of delivery can adapt to the current business needs. For example, if work is mostly done using a computer at the office, then a regular eLearning course. However, the business needs suddenly change if you have a workforce that’s mostly working in the field. For these instances, for example, it would be best to use mobile learning or just-in-time training.
Another big no-no is not checking if the course works on the learners’ most commonly used devices. It doesn’t necessarily follow that if a course works on one device, it will also work well on others.
There are also times that even the learning management system itself will also stop working because of some incompatibilities. Conflicts like these are usually the results of constant updates on the numerous operating systems, apps (like browsers), and platforms by the developers.
You know what’s really embarrassing? You launching your eLearning corporate course, yet somehow forgot to double check if the software update last night is compatible with the course (or system). Deployment day finally comes – and that’s the only time you find out. The best way to avoid this is to check if the module works with different devices – most especially the ones used by most learners.
5. Is there consistency in grammar, spelling, and punctuation?
We won’t dwell too much on this. However, this can be the most embarrassing miss to happen when you launch a corporate training course. Not only will these types of mistakes make you seem unprofessional, but will also give an impression that you are ‘unlearned’ or ‘unrefined’ in the language.
Although inadvertent, misses on these elements can lose the confidence of both your boss/client and your learners. The best way to avoid these errors is to proofread, proofread again, and then proofread some more. After that, have someone else proofread it for you. You can never do too much proofreading for an online course.
Conclusion: No Excuses!
Launching your eLearning corporate training course doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. Actually, it should be a very pleasurable one – with you knowing that most of the hard work is already done. What you just need to do is have the diligence to double check the items discussed on this list. It only just takes a little time and effort anyway; so there’s absolutely no possible excuse to miss this final check.
However, when you do find some oversight on one or some of the elements tackled, get yourself ready. You might need to do some revisions or, in some extreme cases, redo the entire module. While this might be an unfortunate situation, at least you can save yourself from the potential embarrassment and just charge everything to experience.
Originally published on: 29 Nov 2017