The day is not too far when the concept of a company campus or an office where everyone comes in to work and leaves during highly overlapping hours becomes a thing of the past.
When I talk about visual design in online training, I talk about simple things a designer can do to lay out a slide so that it makes the most of evidenced-based instructional design techniques that maximize learning. I am not a huge stickler for visual design in online training. The reason might be because I am not a graphic designer. But neither are most instructional designers.
Online training has grown in popularity over the past decade due in large part to the ease with which learning professionals can develop and deliver online training. Rapid eLearning authoring tools and web-based learning management systems have fueled this ease, and as more companies are dispersed in multiple offices, classroom training has become an expensive endeavor. The convergence of eLearning tools and highly dispersed working environments has created a perfect storm for why online training could replace much of the traditional classroom training that occurs in organizations today.
One of my first projects at Mindflash was to create a feature that gave trainers the ability to record narration over their slides within the Mindflash app. The impetus for this was that content like Word documents and PDFs don't give you the ability to record audio as you're creating them. Thus if you wanted audio over this type of content there needed to be a solution built into Mindflash. Additionally even though PowerPoint includes built-in audio recording, many of our users struggled to figure out how to effectively use it. We provided help articles to educate them on how to use PowerPoint's built-in audio recording feature but many users still struggled. Thus, we sought to make something simple for our users to quickly narrate over their slides. Since adding this feature we've found that 25% of our customers are using it.
As companies build a training department, there are many questions that come up. What training role should we hire first? Should we start with live training or online training? What learning technology should we choose? How much should we invest in the overall training function? How much of the investment should be spent on the different functions within the training department?
If we all could, we would love to use more video in our online training courses. Most of us wish we had a nice studio, great recording equipment, and a team of production experts standing by to produce videos for all of our courses. Sadly, we rarely have the budgets to support such operations, even though research shows that video can improve learning satisfaction and learning outcomes.
Online training designers are not the only ones constantly searching for ways to create more engaging content. Journalists, copywriters, and authors, to name only a few others, must create content that people want to read. No matter your profession, if you create content, the ultimate goal is to create something that provides value.
Leaders of training departments receive training requests continuously, and it is their job to respond to these requests with solutions after a proper analysis. Solutions can come in many forms, from formal multi-day classroom training to online training to telling people to watch a YouTube video. YouTube has certainly enabled an enormous variety of learning options that anyone can find. On YouTube you can learn just about anything from making a healthy smoothie to how to negotiate a salary during your next job interview.
There are many reasons to start developing online training. For one, your audience can take the training whenever they want. For another, you can deliver training to anyone in the world. So, all of your employees who work in six different offices can complete the same training course. But if you dive into online training, how will you know whether it is an effective way to deliver training in your organization?
We all know that TED Talks are educational and inspiring, and most of us have watched them from time-to-time for general entertainment and inspirational purposes. However, as I watched one of these videos just the other day, I realized there are lessons that can be found about designing online training from talks related to design and education in general.