The world seems to celebrate impulsiveness and spontaneity. From endless sales to putting adrenaline junkies on pedestals, we are in awe of people that ‘just do it’. But in a corporate setting where millions of dollars are involved, a little forward thinking goes a long way. And while many of us would fail the marshmallow experiment, we can learn to hold out a little longer. We can be taught how to plan ahead. And we can certainly utilize those skills as we plan our online training development to create online training material for peers and customers.
5 Tips to Apply Strategic Planning in Online Training Development
1. Plan For Remote Engagement
Average online instructors don’t really care if their online learners pay attention. They just want to get through the eLearning course. But good online instructors interact with their online learners. They want to get them involved because they know active participation helps knowledge retention. Also, they really just enjoy the exchange of ideas and sentiments with their online learners. Your online training course should be no different. Even if it doesn’t have a physical instructor, it should draw corporate learners out of themselves. As you work on every chapter, keep that at the back of your mind. Let this approach weigh in on your decisions during online training development.
For example, would that piece of content work better as 300 words of text or 3 minutes of video? Which option are they more likely to share (within proprietary limits)? How can you invite your corporate learners to kick out of passive mode and get energized about their online training course? These little decisions could range from using orange instead of grey (more stimulation). Or you could offer multiple voice modules, giving employees the option to pick their preferred voice over. They’ll pay way more attention to a voice they actually want to listen to. And they’ll remember more too.
2. Make An Outline
There’s a theory about types of writers. They’re frequently characterized as plotters vs pantsers. Plotters always know exactly where the story is going. They may ‘pre-plan’ the whole book or go chapter by chapter. Before they type a single word, they know what’s going to happen. Pantsers do the opposite, ‘flying by the seat of their pants’ and following the story wherever it goes. Their stories can seem more organic, but they frequently get stuck, so their writing process takes longer. It’s also more likely to have plot holes as new story directions emerge.
For online training development, the ‘plotter’ approach is better. Begin with learning goals, objectives, outlines, and a table of contents. Use these as a guide to fill out your online training material. One of the crucial components of strategic planning is to identify your company’s mission and values, which weigh in on your online training. For example, the online training content should reflect what your organization stands for and honor its corporate belief system. Another consideration is online training gaps and areas for improvement. How are you going to improve on your weaknesses and capitalize on your strengths to facilitate employee growth?
3. Keep It (Long And) Short
In the corporate world, time is premium. So online training courses are a dream. They take minimal periods and can even be done during a coffee break or elevator ride. However, the way you design your online training course depends on your goals. Before you put anything together, think about your short-term and long-term targets. Factor them into your software. For example, if you’re building something for an FMCG company, the short-term target could be local compliance.
Your long-term may be to sell to every branch of this company. Knowing this is a global company, make your base language easily translatable. For example, use conversational language instead of excessive technical terms. This lessens the likelihood of your online training material being lost in translation. Better yet, incorporate alternate languages right from the start. It can be a valuable marketing tool, and it could secure you a bulk order even before your client’s initial purchase. Offer what they need before they know they need it.
4. Identify Potential Risks And Obstacles
Another key requirement for the strategic planning of your online training development is to identify any hurdles that may stand in the way of online training success. This can range from lack of employee motivation to ineffective eLearning course design. There are also risks to consider, such as whether your online training initiatives are going to yield a high ROI. And it’s not enough to simply identify these obstacles. You must figure out how to mitigate them to achieve the desired outcomes and objectives. Yet another potential roadblock is falling short of employee expectations. Which is why it’s crucial to determine what they need and want from the online training to retain your top talent.
5. Assess, Follow Up, And Finely Tune
Lastly, implement a sound assessment strategy to determine if you’re achieving the goals. Follow up with employees to ensure they’re getting all the tools they need. You must also be open to adjusting the online training strategy if it’s not working as planned. Ask employees for eLearning feedback so that they know their opinions matter. This also allows you to broaden your online training strategy based on their input. Or even narrow the learning objectives and goals to suit their needs.
Thinking ahead and planning strategically can make almost any situation better, especially when money is involved. So before you dive into online training development, take some time to marshal your thoughts. Improvising may be more fun, but it’s slower, and often more costly. Start by noting down your long- and short-term aims for your online training course. Pick online training techniques that will pull your employees ‘out of their seats’ and immerse them in the online training course. List your targets and learning objectives, then draft an outline and a contents table. This ensures cohesion and makes your online training development tasks easier and more thorough.
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