How to develop and administer an online training course

Online training courses are a cost effective way to train large numbers of employees.

June 9, 2021

Article Highlights

When it comes to training and educating your employees these days, online is the way to go. Not only has it been the default method during the pandemic, but people are finding that online learning has been a boon to their professional development.

For one thing, online learning courses are usually available for a fraction of the cost of attending a conference or even enrolling in a college class. 

Better yet, employees can take the training courses on their own time, at their own pace. If they want to watch the training courses early in the morning, over their lunch hour, or late at night after the rest of the family has gone to bed, they can work around their own schedule.

Organizations that want to help their employees gain new knowledge and improve their skills can also benefit from creating an online training course. And if they have training course administration software in place, they can create all the educational content they want and plug it into the system.

Finally, online learning is a real time saver. A 2015 Brandon Hall study found that e-learning typically requires 40–60% less employee time than a traditional classroom setting. Not to mention that e-learning increases retention rates between 25–60%, compared to face-to-face training which is 8–10%. And e-learning participants can learn almost five times more material without increasing training times.

In other words, e-learning participants can learn more in less time, and they'll remember more of it when it's done.

In this article, we'll help you figure out how to develop an online training course and how your training course administration software can track the results.

How to develop a custom online training course

The first steps to take are to figure out who your audience is and what your training goals are. For most organizations, that's pretty easy to figure out. For example, you might need to train nurses and surgery techs on new sterilization procedures, train factory workers on new safety protocols, or train new employees on company culture and policies.

Or you might need to train on a broader topic like training all office staff on new cybersecurity protocols. That one is a little more complex because different office personnel have different requirements and levels of access, which may mean creating different training courses with different standards and goals.

Next, you want to plan your training formats. Since you're probably using a training course management system, you'll no doubt want to use mostly digital training assets (i.e., no DVDs, printed handouts, or binders). So your training assets can involve videos, audio recordings, slide decks, PDFs, and internal web pages. It also helps to create an interactive element with each slide or web page to keep people engaged and boost their retention.

Create simulations for people to practice their new skills. These can be pre-recorded interactive modules, sort of like a "choose your own adventure" story, but they're designed to take participants through a scenario or situation.

You'll also want to assess knowledge by giving quizzes and tests to make sure everyone is paying attention and retaining what they've been learning. If possible, allow for discussion between participants before and after the assessments. Not only will this help them prepare, but the post-test discussion can help them identify problems and retain what they've learned.

Break large topics into smaller modules. Depending on the size of the topic, it may need to be broken down into chapters, sections, and modules, just like a school textbook or class semester. Create milestones in the progress so participants can see how far they've progressed and what they have remaining in the course.

How to administer and track an online training course

So once you've created all this great material, where are you going to host it all? The most obvious place is a training course management system (for more information, view our complete guide to employee training solutions here).

This system is an online, cloud-based software-as-a-service (SaaS) that lets you put in a variety of learning materials and formats and then tie it into your policy management software. It's sort of like a document management system for training. You need a cloud-based system, rather than having a training coordinator keep everything on their computer. It can lead to big problems if they're on vacation or unavailable when you need some critical information. By putting everything in the cloud, every authorized user has access to the system from anywhere in the world.

Use the training course management system to assign different training modules to your staffers. You can assign them by department or individually and monitor their progress as they move through the units. You can even set alerts if an employee is falling behind and is in danger of not meeting the milestones, or another alert when an employee has completed the entire course.

Connect training materials to other critical company information. For example, when giving ethics training, link to your company's Code of Conduct or the appropriate policies so participants can reference specific examples and applications.

Track all progress through your training course administration software or a learning management system (LMS). Measure details like sections completed, individuals' test scores, date and time of course starts and completions, completion time, and even module progress.

Be sure to keep track of when training needs to be redone, especially as it pertains to certification and accreditation. Some positions require annual assessment; others may only need to be reassessed every two or three years. Set reminders so users are automatically notified when it's time to start their training and assessment again.

Send out course surveys and ask for feedback from the participants. If you find certain patterns in the surveys, that will help you improve and adjust the training to help more people pass, retain more information, and keep them engaged and interested.

Finally, manage all of your certificates and licenses in the training course administration software. By tracking all these requirements in your system, you can quickly see which employees' licenses are coming up for renewal and see how much more training they have to complete.

Keep track of your training efforts

As you develop your online training courses, make sure you have training course administration software to help you manage the amount of training material, handle all online and remote training, track participants' progress and success rates, and notify you when employees' licenses and certifications are up for renewal.

You can learn more about finding the right training management software by visiting our website.

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