How To Build An Interactive Online Training Guide With Existing Material

Over the last few years, online training has surged in popularity. Almost 77% of the companies in the US had already shifted their training online by 2017. (A number that has significantly increased in the recent past!) Online training has become a lucrative choice for growth-oriented companies because of its multifaceted benefits. Online training:  

  • Is cost-effective
  • Can be done asynchronously
  • Has higher ROI (due to increased productivity)
  • Has a higher retention rate (up to 60%)
  • Needs less training time (nearly 40-60% lesser)

Businesses can use not only for their existing workforce (using training modules that employees can use for topics, product/software features, and skills they want to learn more about) but also for new employees (using training modules that make onboarding and sharing processes easier). 

With that said, making the switch to virtual training can be a cumbersome process. A simple way to start in the direction is by trying to convert all existing training and guidance materials into an online module. You’d be surprised that you already have most of the content you need for the job! 

Steps to convert existing material into an online training guide:

Step 1: Decide Your Objective/Topic

First and foremost, you must know the aim of the module. There would be a lot of material/topics you’d like to cover in your online training but it is advisable to break your overall training goal into smaller objectives and making one guide per topic for easier understanding. For instance, if you’d want to conduct online training for various applications your business uses, don’t make one module for them all. Make one guide per application, like a Trello Management/Workflow guide. 

Step 2: Collect your content

Once you’ve fixed your topic, it’s time to collect the content you have related to it in one place. For instance, if different managers in your business have prepared different documents, presentations, and manuals to explain the same objective to their respective teams, get all of that information in one place. These could also include event recording from a previous in-person training you may have conducted. Don’t worry if your content is in different formats. Most good online training softwares, including Siminars, allow you to add most content types.

For example, on Siminars you can add:

  • Documents: PDFs and Text-documents with relevant reading material
  • Audios: Upload MP4 audio recordings explaining different aspects or embed audios from supported sites including SoundCloud, Mixcloud, Last.FM, NPR, Grooveshark, and more. 
  • Links: Attach links to resources on your cloud or others which you find relevant to the course from the internet.
  • Blog posts: Write a blog post on the platform and add all infographics, links, to it. 
  • Presentations:  Upload your existing presentations or add relevant embeds from SlideShare. 
  • Videos: Upload your own MP4 files or embed videos you might have uploaded to your Youtube channel or from other sites like Vimeo, TED, UStream, Viddler, Brightcove, Hulu, TwitVid, Justin.tv, MetaCafe, Qik, and more.

Overall, you’d realize that you’d have relevant content in some of the other format that you can directly add to your online module and prepare your guide. 

Step 3: Prepare an outline

Now, once you go over your existing content, you’d be able to formulate an outline with all the pointers you’d like to cover in your training guide. While the details and concepts you’d like to share you vary for each course, here’s how a generic outline looks like: 

  • A welcome message sharing for the participants
  • A “What To Expect” section sharing a summary or list of things that would be covered in the guide.
  • Your actual process/concepts for the guide (could be multiple steps and be as elaborate as each topic/aspect with subtopics you want to share in the guide.)
  • Questions/Gauging learning
  • Feedback section 

Step 4: Add Content To Your Outline

Now that you have your outline, you start adding content to each section/pointer in the outline. On Siminars, we make this easier by allowing you to create your guide using a step-by-step process. For each step, you write the topic, a brief, and add media relevant to that step, and you are done. 

Siminars
Creating a Siminar: Step-by-step

Let’s take the above outline: 

You add the first step, Welcome Message. Now, this could be a small video from the team leader or founder or the person who has created the guide addressing the participants. If not, a written message in the form of a PPT/PDF should work too. 

In the second step, you add another slide or PDF sharing the outline/layout of the guide. Again this could also be an audio or video of the instructor going over the outline. 

Similarly, you add different media for each step for your guide and complete it up to the feedback section. 

Pro-Tip: 

To make the guide more engaging, you can create screencast videos with an instructor taking the participants through a PPT or application flow. Similarly, you can convert an existing handbook (employee handbook, for example) into smaller blog posts or even videos. 

Step 5: Gamification 

Once you have your basic content in place, you can enhance it further by adding interactive elements to the guide. Some of the common elements are including a progress bar or adding quizzes and polls at various levels. Completing quizzes gives the participants a sense of achievement, which makes the content more engaging. On Siminars, you can add discussion questions (questions to think), quizzes, and polls while creating the training module. 

Step 6: Add Value/Incentive

Lastly, when your team member invests their time and energy into a training guide, their efforts should be recognized. An online training happens asynchronously. So, to get your employee interested in the training guide, there should be some incentivization involved. Keeping a record of people who’ve successfully completed the training (using auto-generated reports on Siminars!) you can award certificates of completion. A step further on this could be keeping a record of all the training modules each employee completes and rewarding those who’ve complete the maximum number of modules. 

In present times, employees value professional growth, learning, and training a lot. It has become one of the key factors that make them choose a company over the other. So, let their training begin. Create your first course on Siminars, now!