Over the past 18 years working in the corporate learning and development space, I’ve come to find that training content has singlehandedly been the most common roadblock for organizations seeking to transition traditional training programs to the virtual training space. Companies of all sizes and backgrounds have the same mission in mind when they come to Knowledge Anywhere looking for a learning management solution—they all want a more efficient, integrated, reliable, and affordable way to deliver training to a diverse and dispersed audience. Often, organizations start the discovery process well-versed in the benefits of online training and optimistic about launching a virtual education program for their employees. Typically, as time gets closer to push the green button companies realize that before they can launch a virtual training program, they need virtual training content ready to plug into their new system, and they quickly realize they don’t have this content on-hand. This is when the content conundrum begins.
I don’t have training content for my LMS. What should I do now?
If you’re asking this question, believe me, you’re not alone. Although you’ve likely invested some time in searching for the right virtual training solution before you got here, the good news is there are some tools at your disposal and some best practice guidelines you can follow to help you keep the momentum going on launching a learning management solution. You’ve come too far to throw in the towel, and quite frankly when I’ve seen organizations give up when they reach this “A-ha” moment it is typically years before they revisit an online solution for training their workforce. If you don’t want to wait another year, or two, or three, before you bring the benefits of online education and empowerment to your employees, I encourage you to take a look at some of your options below and determine which one(s) will be most feasible for your organization.
Options for Solving the Content Conundrum
Convert Existing Corporate Training Materials Into SCORM-compliant Files
If you’re looking for a learning management solution, chances are you already have a training program in place within your organization with corporate training materials readily available for instructor-led or self-paced learning (pdfs, ppts, videos, etc.). If you already have these materials at your disposal, converting your existing training materials into SCORM-compliant files will be simple, fast, and inexpensive for your organization. If you don’t have the time to create full-fledged online courses, but want to get online training off-the-ground running as fast as possible without incurring additional costs, this will likely be the best option for you. We offer a free program for our customers called Scormify that will allow you to convert your existing pdfs, ppts, and videos into SCORM-compliant courses. (SCORM is a universal file standard that allows files to render properly on learning management software and be tracked through the system). The investment level for this option is considered to be moderate.
Convert Existing Corporate Training Materials into Online Courses
Although this option may look and sound similar to the option we just discussed, it requires a different level of effort and investment and will give you a different end result. Using an online course builder, you can transform existing material into interactive, branded courses with built-in quizzes/assessments. Typically, this option gives you a much higher quality end-result for your audience, though it does require additional resources to accomplish. Knowledge Anywhere offers a course builder as a standalone product and as an addition to its learning management software at a competitive price point. The course builder is $210/month per course author for an existing or new LMS customer. We also like to recommend Articulate Storyline if most of the training content you use is in ppt format. Articulate offers a course authoring tool that ranges from $599 to $1,299 per course author, plus the cost of your internal resources. If you want to provide a more immersive training experience and have the resources to convert your existing corporate training materials into online courses, this is the option we recommend. The investment level for this option is considered to be moderate.
Hire an Instructional Design Expert to Create Online Courses
Often companies hear this option, and they start to see dollar signs closing in around them. It’s true, custom course development has historically been a pricey option for creating online training (and still can be), though it doesn’t have to be. Advances in technology have made the use of video more inexpensive than ever as everyday devices, like your smartphone, have the capacity to shoot quality videos that can be used in training. A custom course can cost anywhere from $1,500 to upwards of $10,000 to create depending on how interactive you want to make it. There are a variety of elements that go into course development, but if you have a budget allocated for this effort and want a top-notch training experience with minimal involvement from your team, this might be the best option for your organization. The investment level for this option is considered to be high.
Buy Off-the-Shelf Courses
Off-the-shelf courses are great if you don’t have any existing content and you have generalized training that you need to deliver on topics that aren’t extraordinarily unique to your brand or your company procedures and policies. A good example might be a course series on how to use Microsoft Excel. Using Excel isn’t something specific to your business that you’d need to create your own training on, and therefore using high-quality, off-the-shelf content can provide you with immediate access to training materials that you can upload to your learning management software without requiring any effort on your end. Off-the-shelf courses are typically priced by the number of users in your system which will be accessing the course. Therefore, pricing for these courses is variable, and this option can get expensive if you have thousands of users. The investment level for this option is considered low when comparing it to creating the courses from scratch.
Set Clear Dates & Milestones for Completion to Ensure Success
For instructor-led training, the date and location of the training are established and communicated to the target audience in advance of the session. Using this delivery method, training will be delivered on the set date regardless of the quality, reviews, instructional soundness, and polish of the material. This is not always optimal, but at least the delivery of the content is accomplished.
With online training, there is not always a hard delivery date, which often allows a plethora of factors to creep in that prevent online courses from being completed to meet the business needs in a timely fashion. These factors often include the desire for additional review cycles, an inability to obtain the Subject Matter Experts in time, not having the skill set to develop the online courses, a desire to restructure the curriculum, a direction to increase the interactivity and the list goes on. However, this creates and environment where the online course takes months to set up and publish. Our rule of thumb is that if takes more the 60 days to build an online course based on existing source content, there is something amiss. Do not let perfection be the enemy of completion. We recommend establishing hard dates and milestones. For example, will have five courses done July 1, ten courses completed b y August 1, and so on. It is important to roll the courses out over time instead of trying to release a large group of courses all at once since the audience can not consume all the training in one setting, and the task can be overwhelming.
Taking the Next Step
My hope is that after reading this article you won’t feel like throwing in the towel on virtual training just yet and that you’ll use the options outlined above to continue the momentum for transitioning your organization to an online education system for your employees. Myself and other representatives at Knowledge Anywhere can act as a partner to you during this process to help you determine which option will be the best fit for your organization regarding budget, time, and the end result of the training content. Knowledge Anywhere offers all four options listed above and can provide an all-in-one training solution to meet the unique needs of your organization. Feel free to reach out to us today if you’d like to get started in this process.
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