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This is one of my all-time favorite topics – digital training.
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Ironically, I am all for classroom training but I love talking digital learning/training because I am privy to many of the tools we have available to use to make learning seamless and as close to the classroom-style as possible.
In this post, I will be sharing 5 steps to getting your training online using 5 simple and FREE tools. Free tools have their limits but they are great to start with. However, if you can afford to go premium, skip the free tools and save your self lots of time and energy. In my next post, I will share with you, some premium tools and platforms you can use. I just might sneak in which is my favorite ????
Why take your training online anyway?
Here are a few reasons why:
1. For a wider reach
Providing training digitally means you can reach people you wouldn’t normally have access to.
You can train people thousands of miles away without leaving your home or they theirs.
2. It is cheaper
It costs less for you and even your learners – in most cases. You end up printing less and having to use resources that can be used over and over again without them getting old or torn.
The setup can also be cheaper depending on what and how you choose to provide digital learning. There are a variety of options from simple refillable PDFs to videos, audios, and fully functional learning management systems.
3. It offers lots of flexibility
Most trainings are pre-recorded or preloaded and can be accessed anytime and anywhere. This makes it easier for students to learn at their own time and pace. Although some are virtual and happen at a fixed time, it still beats having to travel and attend a physical class.
Despite this good news, training online isn’t without some perils. Some of them are:
1. Accountability issues
Most online programs offer no support or accountability, thereby causing learners to lag behind, fail to complete tasks and assignments, fail to engage, or even complete the training. I have paid quite a good sum for an online course that I was quite disappointed it. It was all PDF and zero support and check-ins. You guess right. I never completed the course. The teaching method wasn’t an effective method – not for me nor for many others.
2. Good User Experience may be lacking
Many platforms are difficult to use to navigate. Learners may find it challenging and give up on it if they can’t learn easily without feeling like it’s an escape room of some sort. I have been on courses where I exited immediately as the interface felt overwhelming to look at, with lots of adverts popping up, making it hard to concentrate and just learn.
3. Lack of Human Interaction
The lack of human interaction in most online programs can be a deal-breaker. Thankfully, there are many ways you can make it feel like a community by introducing fun things like forums and gamification.
Now that you’re aware of some of the pros and cons, let’s dive into 5 key steps and the relevant tools for completing each step and taking your training digital. ????
When I create courses online, I go through 5 steps in a bid to not complicate things. With online learning, it is very important to keep things simple but effective and meaningful for the learner.
5 steps for planning effective digital training:
At this stage, you have an idea of why you are creating an online course. It is important to have a purpose or an end goal in mind. Many would call this the learning outcomes of objectives.
So why are you creating that course?
For example, I want to create a COVID-19 Health and Safety Induction course. My purpose would be: to ensure the employees at my organization are knowledgeable about COVID-19 and what they need to know and do to keep safe while at work.
So what’s yours?
What Tool Would You Use?
Simple GOOGLE DOCS or TRELLO would help.
GOOGLE DOCS is like your MS Word. I prefer it as it is linked to Gmail making life super easy. Most people have a Gmail account.
With TRELLO, here are the logical quick steps to getting started:
- Create an account
- Create a Board. You can have many. I love to use one board for a particular project or part of my business. For example, I have one for just Blogging
- Add a List – you can name this Courses or Online Courses
- Add a Card – each card can represent a course. For example, a card under my Online Course list would be COVID-19 H & S Induction.
I use Trello as it forms a huge part of the next stage – my planning! I will show you a screenshot in the next section.
Now you know your purpose, you need to get on paper and pen or TRELLO and write down your ideas.
What do people need to know about this topic or course? What steps should I take that would make the content meaningful and easy to grasp for my learners.
Remember, it’s all about your learners! you’re doing this for them, so they must be impacted positively. think of ways to make your course easy to understand and remember.
Below is a sample way to use TRELLO.
Once you have a card ready with your course name, you can go on to plan.
The above image is a simple way to plan the content. Open up the card and add a little description and throw in ideas in the description to help you brainstorm and remember those important little details – you can take them off later.
Next, add a due date to keep you accountable at least.
Use the checklist option to break down your content, ticking off as you complete them. As you tick off, it shows you how far you’ve gone and how much you have left in %.
It is important to note during the planning phase, how each area of the course will be delivered. Slides, Text, Video, Audio, Animation, etc? How?
You can also play around with the features on the right, and even add labels or a file or images relevant to the course. You can also add team member or members to each card, and monitor and collaborate within the card.
That’s just one of the many ways I use TRELLO ????
This is where the bulk of the work is. I use GOOGLE SLIDES to create my presentation. You can also use good old PowerPoint.
If you have worksheets, you can use GOOGLE DOCS, convert to PDF but make it fillable.
Depending on how you would like to deliver each part of your course, you may need additional tools. You may also need cameras (inbuilt webcam may be sufficient to start with), screen recording software, etc. Everyone has ZOOM these days. You can actually record your slides, screen, and lessons using ZOOM as shown in the video below.
Your online school is pointless without video and audio. You can record yourself or pay a professional videographer to work some magic to your recordings and use it as it. you can always fine-tune and perfect with time. The most important thing is that your content delivers.
To use ZOOM to record your screen or slides, start a meeting, share your screen as normal, and just record. Below is a video showing you how to.
It is important to note that recording of the screen isn’t limited to slides. You can actually record the digital whiteboard of your teaching, solving equations, graphs, etc, Just like using a marker pen on a flipchart in a classroom! You can replicate that on a digital whiteboard.
Once your content is drafted, designed, recorded, and ready, you then need to host them somewhere. After all, your students need to have access and you need to monitor, provide support, and get your learners engaged.
One tool you can use is GOOGLE DRIVE.
This comes with every free Gmail account.
Create a folder called [YOUR COURSE NAME]. Place all your course materials in this folder including any links.
Then head over to GOOGLE CLASSROOM. Also free with your Gmail account ????
Once in, create a class using the + sign on the top right corner of your screen.
Enter your class details following the prompts and then click create. Once you do, you have a classroom at your disposal, with opportunities to make it your own. You can link to files and videos in your drive, add students, and even have a forum/community where there is the opportunity for learners/students to engage and discuss. See the image below for a sneak peek into what’s possible!
PLEASE NOTE: The Classroom should be linked to the same account you used to set up your drive and folder at least. So that linking back and forth is seamless.
In this article, the 5 tools I mentioned are:
- Google Slides
- Google Drive
- Google Classroom
Why not go ahead and give it a try?
All these tools have free options that are limitless but they are also powerful tools to start your digital school with. Many top schools use Google Classroom to keep their children learning and so can you!
In my next post, I will share with you, 2 of my premium favorite course platforms that I personally use and how I use them to automate and add some spice and professionalism to my online school. They are preferred if you have a budget to fund using them. Be on the lookout!
Why not sign up for my short course on Getting Your Training Online where I go into great detail on how to use these and other tools to launch your online school, create a great learning environment for your students? CLICK HERE to learn more!