One of the reasons many organisations continue to stick with face-to-face workshops is that they feel the effort to transfer workshops into online training is too hard.
Until recently, this was probably correct. If you had to use complex eLearning Authoring tools, like Captivate or Storyline, to create online training, that was a long process with a steep learning curve (or an expensive process completed by external consultants or training designers you would have to add to your employee list!).
With modern cloud-based learning creation tools, this process can be a LOT easier. With a platform like Tribal Habits, it is so easy to take your training online that anyone in your team could do it. At a high level, here’s a seven step process to transfer workshops into online training.
Step 1 – Decide what to include
Start by defining the scope of content and what delivery method would best suit that content.
- If your workshop is largely theory, then you may transform the entire workshop into online training.
- If your workshop has some implementation activities, often at the end of the workshop, then you may still use online training and combine it with automated offline tasks.
- If your workshop has detailed implementation or requires a substantial discussion about the application, then you may transfer initial (more theoretical) content into online training and then run a virtual or face-to-face workshop afterwards. The workshop can be significantly shorter in time and focus on issues of application. This also makes the workshop itself more effective since participants attend having already completed the online training and prepared some materials.
As an example, modules in Tribal Habits can include triggered on-the-job activities, with their own due dates and notifications, including reminders. These activities can be used to step learners through implementation, set-up and submit workshop preparation materials, download templates or case studies for offline assessments (and then upload results) and more.
Step 2 – Break your existing content into chunks
Having defined what will go into the online training, start with your existing workshop content and break it into chunks. Each chunk should end up representing around 5-15 minutes of content. If you have a workshop presentation or workbook, this can be as simple as defining which slides/pages should be grouped together into chunks.
Think of chunks as a table of contents. You are seeking well-defined pauses in your workshop content – moments when it is good for a learner to pause, reflect on what they have covered and then move onto the next chunk.
Step 3 – Add detail to your workshop materials
The chances are that most of your workshop materials will lack sufficient detail. For example, you may have a set of workshop slides, but the delivery notes for those slides are missing – they are simply ‘in the mind’ of the facilitator.
As a result, many workshop materials do not make sense on their own. They need someone explaining them. In this step, you need to add sufficient detail to make those materials stand-alone. This is the largest step, but since you have broken your materials into chunks, it can be addressed in stages.
With a modern online learning creation platform, there are also many ways to prepare – and then capture – this detail.
- Add notes to the slides in your presentation. Essentially, write the speakers notes as used by your facilitators.
- Record your facilitator explaining slides and content. A modern mobile phone camera, in a well lit, quiet and distraction-free room can be enough to capture an interview with your facilitator.
- Update slides with additional detail. If a slide shows five steps in a process, but only the names of the steps, then add in the missing detail.
In all cases, the simple test is to ask: could someone understand this content if I was not here to explain it to them.
Step 4 – Identify opportunities for online activities
Now look at your workshop and highlight all the activities which the facilitator runs. Chances are, many workshop activities can be replicated in online training.
- Review quizzes are the easiest to transform into online quizzes. Indeed, they often work much better online! You might just need to add explanations for the correct/incorrect answers.
- Scenarios or case studies are also easy to replicate. You can present the scenario and then ask the learner how they should respond, either via a quiz or an open answer poll.
- Polls can be used to ask learners how they already deal with the content, what experience they already have, what common problems they face or what issues they want to solve. This can replicate any activity which begins with ‘Raise your hand if…”. Unlike a workshop, online training also remembers the answers to polls (whereas no-one remembers who raised their hand…).
- Open answer questions can be used to capture thoughts from learners. If you ask a learner what steps they want to take after the workshop, you can ask the very same thing in online learning.
Ideally, you want to replicate as many of your workshop activities as possible. However, as you gain more confidence with online learning, they are also activities you can add which are not possible in workshops. Matching, sorting, or ranking exercises are a good example.
Step 5 – Transfer your workshop into online training
At this point, you now have your workshop content with sufficient detail and a series of activities to encourage interaction. Now it is little effort to transfer workshops into online training modules.
Once again, if you are using a modern online training creation platform, this is now a simple matter. Let’s use Tribal Habits as an example.
In Tribal Habits, you use a building block editor to add content.
- If you have text to add, just click the text icon to add a text element and then copy/paste your text. Alternatively, click hotspot to add an image which you can annotate with interactive text, or click Narration to build a simple narrated slideshow with your text.
- If you need to add media, then click the icons for videos, images, audio or files and then upload as needed.
- To add your interactive elements, just click on the icon and then fill in the blanks. If you add a quiz, you just need to copy/paste your question and answers, select the right answer(s) and copy/paste your feedback.
The process becomes one of simply selecting the appropriate building block and then copying/pasting the content you have prepared. Tribal Habits will automatically format and brand your content to your organisation standards. It will manage all navigation, estimate time for learners to complete each section, handle online assessment marking and more.
Step 6 – Get some feedback on your first draft
Once your first draft is finished, its time to get some feedback.
This can be as easy as asking a few colleagues to complete your module. In particular, ask them if the content was able to be understood on its own. This is often the main issue when you transform face-to-face workshops into online training – you just don’t provide enough detail. If not, go back and add additional content.
Then ask them if there was enough interaction. If not, then look at perhaps changing some of your text content into more interactive elements, or add in some additional online activities.
In Tribal Habits, you can obtain two additional forms of help.
- Built-in to Tribal Habits is a digital training designer called Sage. Sage provides real-time feedback on your training module. She can give you a checklist of ideas, provide tips on creating better content and even give you a quality score for your module!
- Every module you create in Tribal Habits also qualifies for a free review by one of our expert training designers. When your module is in good shape, just hit the review button and you receive a personalised 10-minute video review of your module. Our experts will help you solve issues of ‘too much text’, ‘needs more interaction’, or ‘its too long’ with ease.
Step 7 – Remember that training is never really finished
At this point, its time to pilot your module with your first learners. Be sure to get feedback from them (you can automatically enable feedback questions in Tribal Habits modules too). No training module is ever really finished!
That’s the beauty of online training. You can easily take learner feedback and tweak the module – every new learner will immediately benefit from this. Fixing things in a workshop often requires far more work and won’t have any impact until the next time the workshop is run.
Now you are up and running. You can now deliver the same content as your workshop…
- At any time
- In any location
- In the same way
- With full tracking completion
- With full tracking of dates and versions
- With simple updates to content
- With a detailed recording of learning data
Plus, you can now do this with no additional time effort and minor costs to deliver per learner. If you are then continuing with your workshops, you can now reduce their length and improve their effectiveness by having learners who are prepared and ready to engage!