The shift from instructor-led training (ILT) to eLearning is not merely a change in tools, but a transformation in how organizations create, maintain, and deliver education. Before embarking on the transition, it is important to understand how the change will affect all stakeholders, learning creation processes, and learning journeys. In this article, I provide some tips on the steps I took when helping companies make the move from instructor-led training to eLearning.
Why make the change to eLearning
Many people think that the move to eLearning is mainly a financial consideration – less travel, less physical infrastructure, less logistical considerations, and less time away from work. While that is true, it is not necessarily the main reason.
eLearning allows learners to access materials at any time, allowing them to set their learning pace and schedule learning outside of their day-to-day responsibilities. It also allows them to follow learning paths that suit their learning needs – they can more easily skip courses that are of low priority and repeat courses where they were not able to grasp all the concepts right away.
eLearning also makes incorporating multimedia elements, such as videos, animations, and interactive simulations easier. It is also better suited for supporting multi-language training and accessible options for those with physical disabilities or learning differences. eLearning makes supporting more pedagogical options easier, including microlearning and short courses for skill development and micro-credentials.
Finally, for those plugged into ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) objectives, by reducing the need for physical infrastructure, travel and commuting, e-learning can have a lower carbon footprint compared to traditional educational settings.
But eLearning is not for everything and everyone. In-person interactions and hands-on experiences often benefit from instructor-led or expert support.
Step-by-step Transition to eLearning
If you have committed to at least move some of your courses or modules to eLearning, here is how to get started:
- Identify the sections in your ILT courses that need to be revised and can be redeveloped for an eLearning format.
- Get management, trainers, and learners involved to get feedback and recommendations to ensure the new system meets everyone’s expectations and learning objectives.
- Choose a delivery system that will meet your needs for delivery, metrics, and certification. While many think they need a learning management system (LMS) on day one, in my personal experience, companies can save those costs until their eLearning program grows and becomes more sophisticated.
- Transform ILT content into eLearning formats (modular) and incorporate interactive elements such as videos, quizzes, and simulations. In the “old days”, eLearning designers often had to rely on storyboarding to make the transition, but many of today’s training content creation tools eliminate this need and make eLearning content creation MUCH faster.
- Be cautious with ChatGPT to build your training content, as it can introduce incorrect information or bias. There are also concerns about data security. Instead, opt for an AI-enabled content creation tool specifically trained to follow learning best practices, which will only use your content and protect your privacy.
- Pilot new eLearning content with your target audience to identify and fix glitches and enhance any content or user interface shortcomings.
- Build and document your eLearning guidelines so anyone who is building courses follows the same format, and you have a cohesive look and feel to all your courses.
- Teach your trainers how to use the eLearning platform, best practices for online learning and how to incorporate more interactions.
- Build the remainder of your courses that incorporate feedback, best practices, and your eLearning guidelines.
- Introduce your learning community to the eLearning environment and how to use it. Run contests or make it part of employee objectives that they take eLearning courses to incentivize them to take ownership of their learning paths.
- Market your eLearning courses by announcing the availability of new courses and reminding learners about existing courses. For customers, ask your marketing, customer support and customer success teams to advertise the availability of courses. For employees, ask HR to include the eLearning environment in their onboarding process and in their internal news posts.
- Continuously improve your program by using analytics and user feedback and adding new and updated eLearning content.
Don't forget about microlearning
eLearning does not have to be long courses. Microlearning is another form of eLearning and is where a large lesson is divided into single definable ideas or concepts that can be learned in minutes. Microlearning content can take many forms, including:
- Text: Quick-reference guides or summaries that are often coupled with images or videos.
- Video: Ideally, less than 5 minutes.
- Audio: The material presented should be less than 5 minutes, like videos.
- Images: Includes diagrams, charts and illustrations.
- Simulations: To allow learners to have a hands-on experience to learn.
When building your eLearning program, consider including elements of microlearning to teach core concepts and for faster course rollout.
As I have demonstrated in this blog, the transition from instructor-led training to eLearning can be a big step. But with careful planning and stakeholder engagement, you can introduce more enriched and flexible eLearning experiences while saving costs.