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How to Develop an eLearning Program for Your Organization

Now that you’ve identified eLearning as your future training and development platform, you may be wondering what it takes to develop an eLearning training program.

In this article, we will cover what you need to know to launch your eLearning training, including what eLearning is, popular tools, steps to start an eLearning program, and our own top tips for success.

So let’s get started!

What is eLearning?

Electronic Learning, more commonly referred to as eLearning, is a broad term used to describe the delivery of training materials through electronic (and digital) resources.

In today’s day and age, eLearning can be hosted online or through a local network and commonly uses a Learning Management System (LMS). The content can come in a variety of shapes and sizes, and as our technology grows and changes, so do our options to share information.

Popular tools for eLearning include:

  • Virtual Classrooms
  • Online Chats
  • Video conferencing
  • Live Session/Webinar
  • Live Whiteboards
  • Online Collaboration Tools
  • Audio Conferencing
  • Self-Paced Modules
  • Discussion Groups
  • Message Boards/Forums
  • Prerecorded Video and Audio

Read More: What is eLearning? Everything You Need To Know

Why You Should Consider eLearning for Your Organization

eLearning has grown in popularity because it expands the possibilities to create exciting and engaging educational content. According to research by Brandon Hall Group, 72% of organizations believe that eLearning puts them at a competitive advantage in their market.

There are many reasons why eLearning is so popular:

  • Automation – You can reduce the number of staff-hours needed from instructors and facilitators.
  • Engagement – Digital platforms allow the creation of more engaging content that will keep the learner interested.
  • Flexibility – Online platforms give the instructor and the learners more flexibility to participate at different locations and times.
  • Eco-friendly– Using digital platforms is actually considered good for the environment because learners don’t need to travel to attend the lessons.
  • Cost-Effective – Many eLearning programs need an initial start-up cost, but you can increase your ROI rather quickly when you run more learners through the program.
  • Time-Efficient – Employees can take part in eLearning when it’s convenient for them, including after hours, on weekends, or even between meetings. In addition, instructors can create content on their own schedule and post it to your eLearning platform.
  • Facilitated From Anywhere – The best advantage of eLearning is that you can access the platforms from anywhere. 

Steps to Launch an eLearning Program

Outline Your Training Program Goals

Always start by asking yourself, “What are we doing, and why are we doing it?” You can create a fully comprehensive eLearning program, but if you don’t have any goals set, how will you measure your success?

Employers provide training courses so that employees may be readily equipped with the tools they need, develop new skill-sets, or to learn the ins and outs of a new process. Set clear learning objectives based on what your employees need to be successful.

A definite objective should include measurable action-verbs. This ensures that the course can be built around reaching this objective, and employees will be able to be tested on the knowledge and completion of the objective. 

This is also the time where you can find the right partner to develop your training program. A good partner, like Roundtable Learning, can help guide you through this and all of the following steps.

Choose Your Technology 

From hardware to software, you have so many options to incorporate technology into your training program, but you need to be conscious of your budget, timeline, and learners. It’s essential to know your audience and their capabilities. 

Options to Consider:

  • Hardware: Computers, Tablets, Headsets, Headphones, Speakers, Video Cameras, Microphones
  • Software: LMS, File Sharing, Document Creation, Presentation Tools, Video/Audio Editing

Don’t invest in a fleet of tablets to launch a program for employees that already have computers they use all day, and even more importantly, don’t expect your learners to master a new technology they’ve never used before.

Read More: How To Make eLearning More Learner-Centric

Audit Your Current Materials

Gather everything you currently have and audit what worked and what didn’t; there may be opportunities to evolve materials you already have into a new format.

This can include:

  • Presentations
  • Videos
  • Handouts
  • Diagrams and Charts
  • Posters
  • Scripts
  • Speaker Notes/Train the Trainer Materials
  • Models

This is also a great time to line up your subject matter experts, internally or externally, to see what kind of role they can play in the development and launch of your new program.

Develop Content and Materials for Your Program 

Now that you know your topics, goals, and what you currently have on hand, it’s time to develop your content and materials for your new training program. Depending on your budget, you may be able to leverage your learning development partner for some of this work or perhaps hire internally for this task.

Remember to think holistically when creating your materials and your content:

  • What works with the technology you are using?
  • How can you build on previous lessons? 
  • What will your audience respond to?

Run an eLearning Program Pilot

Think you’re all done? Maybe you should run a test first.

Run a small pilot group through your program, watch your timing, see what works and doesn’t, and how the group reacts to your content and technology. Take notes and request tons of feedback from your learners. 

Don’t despair if you have to make changes; you should expect that. It’s the only way to get better.

Fine Tune and Launch

Review what happened with the pilot and make your updates. These updates could be minor, such as too many PowerPoint slides or more time allotment for an exercise to be completed. Hopefully, you don’t have significant changes, such as updating content or realigning the learning objectives.

Whatever changes needed, use your notes and your learner feedback to update your program. Be sure to leverage your subject matter experts and learning partners.

Encourage and Support Your Employees to Complete the Program

Now it’s time to launch your program! Work with the leaders and influencers of your organization to build excitement and to get people enrolled. Build a robust support system to allow employees to take the time and focus on the content you have developed for them. Consider using incentives and fun promotions to make a big splash!

Evaluate Results and Program Effectiveness

After your program has been running, it’s time to measure the results and effectiveness. 

What to look for:

  • What is the completion rate?
  • Are the learning objectives being retained?
  • Are they using what they learned?

Find those critical Key Performance Indicators and use them to measure the success of your program. Don’t be afraid to make updates; it may be necessary to keep up with changing processes, policies, or learners’ learning styles.

Top Tips for Launching Your Program

  • Use Project Management Tools to Stay Organized – Find a useful project management tool for your team (internal and external) to stay on track, assign projects, and monitor timelines.

Read More: The Best Project Management Software for 2020

  • Go Hard to Promote eLearning Internally – You can start promoting your new program before it even launches! Get everyone excited with teasers and promotional announcements. Work with your marketing department and organization influencers to spread the word.
  • Always Collect Feedback and Take It Seriously – From the pilot to every single session, regularly collect feedback and make actionable goals based on what your learners say.

Read More: Constructive Feedback in the Workplace: Strategies for Success 

Are You Ready for the Next Step?

We covered what you need to know to launch your own eLearning training program, including what eLearning is, popular tools, steps to launch an eLearning program, and our own top tips for success. So now it’s time to ask, is your organization ready for your comprehensive eLearning Program?

Is your learning and development program using eLearning? Comment below and share your experience!

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