Professional Online Training: Gaining Steam
The popularity of online training, also referred to as eLearning, is skyrocketing. Since the mid '90s, the employment of computers for training purposes has seen steady growth and benefited from enormous technical advancements. Since the internet has become so readily available to the masses, online training has transformed from a lackluster electronic slide show to an innovative way for businesses, government organizations, and educational institutes to provide high quality educational experiences with professional online training.
Instead of having to shell out funds for a semester long course, commute to a university to attend night school, or spend a week out of town attending a course only offered in a few locations - now professionals have a more flexible option. The idea that career-furthering educational opportunities can be obtained with much less sacrifice, makes the prospect of continuing education much more enticing to professionals around the world.
Purchase or Develop?
If your goal is to employ professional online training as a tool to communicate standard information (i.e. human resources, general safety, etc.) to employees within your organization, there are a wide variety of plug and play options available ranging from workplace safety, quality control, and industry regulations to computer training. I like to refer to these types of courses as “over the counter” solutions – just read the label, swipe your card, check the indications, and wait for it to start.
How do you decide which course to choose for your organization? Begin by developing a ‘must have’ priority matrix or checklist in order to keep the search focused on finding a course for the organization’s needs. The matrix should consider ease of access, length, learning objectives, level of engagement, cost, format (self-paced or instructor-led) and organizational alignment.
Next, do some research: explore industry websites, ask colleagues and other industry affiliates for recommendations, pose questions to social media groups, and ask for a tour or free trial. If you’re unable to find exactly what you’re looking for in a online course, you may be able to work with a provider to customize an existing course to better fit the organization’s needs.
If you are interested in sending a large group of employees through an online program, you’ll want to ask about group discount rates and determine if there are any fees for items like books, shipping, or software that can be consolidated. Once you’ve determined the total cost of putting the group through the course, compare it to the cost of having a professional educator conduct the training on site. Sometimes, though, the flexibility offered by an online program outweighs this cost. For example, if the employees needing the training are located in different places, travel frequently, or cannot easily get away to attend a training session, a more flexible online course may be the most efficient use of resources.
If the organization has developed a proprietary training program or cannot find an existing online curriculum to fit specific needs, then it’s time to consider developing an online course for professional online training. First, start by evaluating the organization’s pool of internal resources to determine if third party assistance will need to be employed. Before committing in-house resources, estimate how much of their time will need to be allocated to the project versus their actual availability. The organization may house all the talent and expertise you need, but if tied up in other projects, you may find it difficult to reach your goals on time. It’s also important to consider resource capability and talent. Depending on the level of interaction, aesthetic design and technical ability, you may need a graphic artist, narrators and/or actors, an animation specialist, a videographer, IT programmer and a curriculum expert. Depending on your budget and available resources, you may need to utilize some internal resources while also contracting external resources.
No matter the course delivery method, an online course should be designed to engage students on many different levels. Just like in a traditional classroom, if students are not engaged in learning, the information being presented will probably not be retained. For obvious reasons, it can be difficult to create the same type of engagement in an online environment that exists in a live classroom. Because of this, curriculum designers must be able to think outside of the box and find creative ways to connect students to the knowledge. Take other online courses to get ideas on how to make the course more interactive, use images and video footage taken from your organization, sprinkle in learning games to keep students actively involved and try to refrain from using too much text. Developing a professional lean training program for your organization can reap massive rewards.
What are the Benefits?
By investing in a professional online training platform, an organization can make more efficient use of budgeted training dollars by decreasing travel costs, eliminating the need to send employees offsite to attend sessions, ensuring alignment on organizational goals and messaging, training more employees for less, and tracking progress in one central location. It can also be a method of educating customers on a product or service, and thus benefiting from a boost in sales. Additionally, an internally developed program can be a new means to earn revenue. Whether you choose to purchase, develop or a little of both, investing in professional online training will help your organization operate more efficiently.
Posted by LeanCor Supply Chain Group
LeanCor Supply Chain Group is a trusted supply chain partner that specializes in lean principles to deliver operational improvement. LeanCor’s three integrated divisions – LeanCor Training and Education, LeanCor Consulting, and LeanCor Logistics – help organizations eliminate waste, drive down costs, and build a culture of continuous improvement.Facebook LinkedIn Twitter Google+