Seven Keys to Keeping Online Training Updated and Relevant
by Bob Shively, Enerdynamics President and Lead Facilitator
More and more, corporate trainers are turning to online courses to deliver important training. Online courses offer many benefits including cost efficiency, time flexibility, mobility, tracking, and easy repetition of key points. But unlike classroom training in which instructors can continuously update material as trends, statistics or learner needs change, online training can be cumbersome and expensive to keep current.
Is this the way your employees view your online training?
At Enerdynamics we manage a library of more than 50 energy industry online courses. With the energy industry rapidly evolving, one of the most common questions from our clients is: “When was this course last updated?”
Here are seven keys we implement to keep our courses up to date:
- Design up front for updates
Much of the ease of updating depend on the original design of the course. This is a critical element of course design if you intend to use the course for more than a couple of years. An example is putting data on the screen rather than in audio to avoid needing to re-record each time you update. Key factors for ease of updates include using standard development tools so anyone can do updates, using modular course structures so it is easy to update one area without affecting others, using a narrator with whom you have a long-term relationship so they can be accessed to make minor audio changes years down the road, limiting videos since they can be expensive to redo, and designing for portability across multiple devices since preferred devices rapidly change in today’s society.
- Designate a course manager
Have a person whose specific responsibility is to maintain each course. Absent this, courses may slide into obsolescence quickly before anyone steps up to make changes.
- Plan scheduled reviews
In today’s world we all have too much to do. Without a distinct schedule for reviewing courseware, updates will not happen in a timely manner. We recommend all courses are reviewed at least every two years.
- Perform reviews in a methodical way
A clear procedure for review should be applied uniformly. This includes reviewing learning objectives, reviewing survey data from users, talking to key clients for feedback, and confirming all content that may be subject to change.
- Update data
Nothing screams "outdated course" like data that is more than a couple of years old. It is important to update data each time the course is reviewed.
- Update photos and graphics
Fashion trends and technology changes can make photos and graphics look dramatically old even after just a few years. An easy way to make courses appear fresh and inviting is to update photos and graphics frequently.
- Limit the scope
It is easy to start a “short” update and then get bogged down in a multi-month rewrite. Defining the scope of an update and getting buy-in upfront from stakeholders is critical.
As more and more corporate training shifts to online formats, it's important to learner engagement that courses are updated and relevant. A clear and distinct plan for keeping your courseware fresh and current is necessary. By following the seven steps above, you will be well on your way to continually offering courseware that appeals to your learners.
To see our extensive library of up-to-date energy industry courses, please visit us at www.enerdynamics.com.