This year’s Training Industry report, prepared in partnership with Citrix GoToTraining, focuses on the biggest changes in online training and how online tools are changing the role of the trainer. Sue Brett, learningonline.xyz’s CEO, reviews the report based on her own insights over the last decade.
Key Takeouts – 2016 Benchmark Report – The State of Online Learning.
1. The top driver of online training is content preparation and adoption of online tools
This potential is only realised with full training so trainers make the switch to the online learning environment and difference in instructional design confidently.
The stats show that what is different about hybrid and virtual trainers is the amount of involvement in the process. 58% are responsible for planning, scheduling, promotion and registration admin, in addition to the usual preparation and delivery of the sessions, and approximately 45% are responsible for this and the editing and post-follow up outcomes and distribution of sessions.
This is a very different role and from experience, I would say it clearly it pays to be very clear up front about all the aspects of their part to avoid later misunderstandings / confusion on the day.
2. Technology provides immediacy
The report is clear that the technology is not about mass broadcasting but about plug and play ease so it is easily set up and conducted as and when needed.
Based on the report, 34.8% state that content development is the most frequently-cited challenge of trainers. From my years of teaching in the classroom, I would say that this has always been the case and the number of online tools available has significantly eased this planning. Where would we be without YouTube? However, self-paced is another kettle of fish and does add an extra complexity.
Knowing how to use tools such as Adobe Captivate and Storyline is something a little trickier than learning how to download videos so you avoid pop-ups! There is a new gen of instructional designers that are all over this, and time will tell whether they remain two separate workforces.
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3. Ease of use matter
I agree with this one wholeheartedly. There is no point using the adage that we all need to be competent with technology in this day and age. Technology has staggering breadth and we don’t use everything on a daily basis; robust tools that are easy to use and easy to remember how to use a few weeks later are key. Early adopters of technology are obviously going to be more comfortable in training online and offering self-paced options, and this is just sensible planning when allocating resources.
Same goes for the user. Careful and intuitive UI (user interface) design is key as to whether users engage and actually use the content to learn, as we have seen through our tracking analytics. The benefit with online learning is you can see immediately what your customers love and what they are not so keen on and take corrective action accordingly.
4. VILT and self-paced training is demonstrably less expensive that traditional face-to-face training
VILT (virtual instructor-led training) makes it easy to dial in from different locations around the world.
Based on delivering Virtual training myself, I would say that this is the case and it is possible, however economies of scale are only met if training on how to use the system / tech capability has been done first and there is a good support team in place that are on the same time zone for availablity.
VILT can fail miserably at the first post because of people not being able to dial in and join the session, and simple things like not knowing how the audio works etc. As long as the process is easy and tested, and students kept to less than 20 students, centralized training can be a massive benefit. The technical support team is invaluable and plays just as important role in online learning as the trainers, underestimated by many. With these simple steps, I have seen VILT be a powerful tool, delivering a fair playing field for those who get access to professional development and support for their role.
According to the report, 70% of corporate training is still instructor led, with 58% saying that virtual is offered “always” or “most of the time”. Training companies without VILT or self-paced options are quickly losing market share.
All in all, the key takeouts are spot on and resonate strongly with those of use in the online environment. If engagement and content are key, ease of use, speed and scalability reign supreme.
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