Come 2022 – there is a lot on the plate. There are new ways of marketing your services and managing communications and conflicts. What’s more, the digital school of thought has paved the way for increased emphasis on both generic and specialized training courses. Nobody likes to sit for hours and listen to boring talks. To this end, there is a range of corporate training and course creation opportunities to help you capitalize on an online course strategy and achieve your growth goals as a professional advisor.
Follow these 5 stages to create an online course or training program and reach your growth goal.
Online Course Strategy
Here, businesses identify the goals for their business. And specifically, the goals or training development regardless of whether it is for internal staff or external clients or partners. Essentially, the strategy phase is goal-setting that helps achieve the larger objective at hand. In essence, this stage is about idea generation and communication about the merits of courses. These two are considered dominant aspects. And it is here that a crystal-clear approach gets curated.
A few goals and strategies that corporates should consider with regards to their staff training amongst others:
Raising brand awareness
With everyone embracing the internet, businesses will have to find newer ways of rising from the clutter. Whether established or digital-native company, brand awareness invariably is a top priority. Especially important in onboarding training. This is where new employees become brand ambassadors and are set up for success in their new roles.
Communication and resolving workplace conflicts
Difficult conversations are inevitable in any workplace! There are several ways and means of working things out when opinions differ. Listening and listening well with empathy and understanding both the parties is the new way of effectively resolving issues. The concept is easy, however, training these soft skills can be a challenge.
Developing critical thinking
Although automation is poised to gain prominence over the years, the human-based jobs of analytical and tactical decision-making will rest with the Sapiens. With that said, corporate staff must be well-versed with critical analysis. It is the way forward! Teaching skills to become better in analysis and decision making and doing so effectively and appropriately within the job constraints is the challenge at hand.
There are many more topics that are at the forefront of today’s learning and development challenges. Be sure to check this blog again in the future where we address other important training objectives.
The planning stage entails drilling down to the program specifics. Here, you shall draft the curriculum, eventually building the blocks for the lesson plan. Also, in this stage, you must decide upon the topics and overarching structure of the lessons. Another aspect is specifying the scale of the online courses, whether for the mass employees or the top-level leaders or even external audiences. Before delving into their specifics, you should do the following:
Identifying the gaps
Are there any gaps in employee conduct, skills or performance? This stage is also known as the training needs analysis. It enables the enterprise to point out aspects that need improvement.
Define the ‘why’ and ‘how’
- Be clear on your ultimate goal: If they do the training, what transformation will the learner achieve?
- How will the training program help achieve the goal? And how will the learner accomplish the goals defined?
- What is it they need to know so they can be best equipped for success?
- And Why is this learning objective important to them? How can you capture their attention and maintain engagement by tapping into this underlying motivator?
Of the many topics you can train on – some are mentioned in the opening paragraphs – which ones will you assign your valuable resources to? This important question often leads to internal conflict. Each department has its own priorities and the Learning and Development team is asked to deliver on all of them.
This is where prioritization is key to channel your resources appropriately. If the Learning Strategy is clear and supportive of your business objectives, these priorities may become clear quite naturally. If not, you may see yourself being torn into various directions. At this time it would be time to review your L&D Strategy and ensure the fit for your business overall and develop priorities from that.
Understanding the overall business strategy and the needs of your learners and key stakeholders is key. You may decide you will need a facilitated process of developing this strategy or a simple review as you are setting your annual goals and course creation priorities.
Here, your curriculum comes to life. Regardless of the subject matter, a program must make learning easy and enjoyable. The way to go about this is to break down the subject matter into modules. Modules keep topics organized and navigable. And these modules shall then have their learning objectives and learning paths.
A few pertinent questions to ask are:
- Who are the learners and what are their primary motivators to take the training?
- Who will benefit from their training and how can we measure the effectiveness?
- What is the present status quo and what are we trying to achieve with the training (future state)?
- Can the modules be undertaken independently and in any order? That is, what is the course or module structure?
- What reporting and tracking is required and how can we support that with technology?
Another aspect is bridging the expectation-reality gap is crucial. So tackling that, every course and each module within that will begin with learning objectives.
Let us look at some sample course plans for the topics we introduced above.
- Understand the effect of video marketing on brand awareness
- How to create effective videos for marketing purposes that build brand awareness
What are the types of video marketing?
Here, the different types of video marketing such as live streaming, podcasting and Vlogging shall get explained. And this includes the scope and difference among them. For instance, podcasting is akin to a formal talk show, whereas Vlogging is informal.
Which are the most viral videos?
This will present examples of the most viral and engaging videos. And trainees will be asked to pen down their observations.
Which were the unsuccessful videos?
Trainees will be presented with these and asked to pen down their observations about what went wrong. In this way, they will know what not to do.
How do you produce impactful videos?
The module shall specify the accessories used such as phone or laptop, camera resolution, lighting and other aspects. Also, there will be details about camera angles, zoom in and zoom out, and other technicalities. Upon teaching the theory, next will be a practical lesson.
- Learn the make-up of emotional intelligence and how to build it
- Understand how emotional intelligence helps successful communication
What are the skills required for emotional intelligence?
This module will lay out the different skills needed for emotional intelligence.
What would you do?
In this module, trainees will be presented with a series of case studies and asked to pen down their conflict resolution approach. Here, the trainees will be probed to mark their viewpoint in a few lines (in limited words).
What went wrong?
Here, trainees will see a series of case studies, a mix of imagery and text, and probed to identify the mistakes and errors and judgement and final output. There will be a series of questions with multiple choice answers.
Emotional Intelligence exercises
Here, trainees will get three types of exercises
- Self-awareness exercise
- The trust metre
- Self-expression exercise
This module will require trainees to enact a situation in the training room. This shall be a group activity. The spectators, group-wise, will be asked to assess the performance and conflict-resolution approach.
Critical thinking and analysis
- Understand the importance of critical thinking for leaders
- Understand the difference of critical thinking and being critical
Case study analysis
Trainees will see a series of cases/situations and probed to provide their opinions and responses
Introduction to scenario analysis and sensitivity analysis
The modules will teach trainees about making calculative decisions. These phenomena are prevalent in accounting, finance and other business-related decisions. In this case an application-based learning path will be ideal. The participants are also coached through the discussion on the difference of critical thinking and being critical and the impact of those two behaviours on others.
Alternatively known as aptitude tests, trainees will sit these individually. Here, cognitive abilities will get tested. The test will include a combination of numerical, mechanical, logical and verbal questions. Also, trainees will answer questions about situational judgement, diagrammatic reasoning, spatial reasoning and mechanical reasoning. After completion, test questions will be discussed and participants will learn how critical thinking was challenged.
There are hundreds of technologies and platforms. Hence, one should look at the specific features and price points of the Learning Management Systems (LMS). You see when creating online courses, the technology used plays a crucial part in devising the Critical Path Analysis (CPA). In time-bound courses, some modules need to be completed in time. However, others can get pushed. This means that few modules can have an independent or personalised learning path.
What’s more, the LMS shall determine the content creation and delivery aspects. Also, it shall help gauge trainee participation and performance. Plus, you must conduct free trials or Beta programs to get audience feedback about the course framework, content and the software itself. It is important to test your online course strategy with a small group of people representing your target audience before a larger roll-out is attempted.
At this stage, you might pose the following questions.
- Does my company have direct access to Beta clients?
- Will the content be created independently or with collaborators?
Note that different courses have unique strategies and purposes. And so there will be different takes on their marketing. A program targeted at senior management will get marketed differently than one at the employees and staff. Once the platform is selected and the program built, you are ready for the big launch.
Together, these five steps can help you develop a robust online course strategy that can help you reach your growth goals. You can find out more about each of these stages and examples when you download our free guide: How to Create an Online Program