If you are reading this, you are likely considering how to create a deliver training and/or eLearning to a growing audience. You have either decided that classroom training will only take you so far or that you are going to start with eLearning as a means of training people in your organization. You are also likely discovering that there are many things to consider and many ways to create and delivery eLearning.
During your research, you inevitably ask yourself why not use your exiting webinar platform to deliver eLearning. After all, you have already used it for conference calls, company presentations, and maybe even some formal training programs. “We already pay for this webinar platform, so why don’t we just record the training programs we already conduct?”
A reasonable question, and I would address it with three questions that you should ask yourself when evaluating any learning platform.
- Will I be able to easily and quickly create and edit content?
- Will I be able to distribute training to the right people at the right time?
- Will I be able to easily report on learning activity to the right stakeholders?
Below I discuss each of these issues in the context of deciding whether to select a webinar platform or a learning platform, like Mindflash.
Easy Authoring (Especially Editing)
I know, you can host a live webinar, record it, and make it available to anyone you want. But there are two main problems with that approach. First, watching a recorded webinar seems longer than it is, and it is not easy to skip to the content that is most relevant to you. With a learning platform, like Mindflash, you can create and distribute content that contains only the essential content for the audience without introductions, dead air, and closing comments. Although these are useful features in a live, online training session, they are glaring time-wasters in a recorded version.
The second problem with using an online webinar tool to deliver training is editing. Things change fast, and editing training materials is something we need to do constantly. It is nearly impossible to edit specific sections of a recorded webinar. With a learning platform like Mindflash, editing content at the slide level is easy. If something changes, you can simply edit single slides and republish a course seamlessly.
Easy Distribution (Especially to Targeted Groups)
Yes, you can record a webinar and distribute it to anyone you want. In fact, you can even send the recording to a targeted group by creating a good email list and only sending the link to those people. Everyone loves managing email distribution lists, right?
The alternative is to use groups in a learning platform like Mindflash. Mindflash enables you to create groups, put people in groups, and assign content to specific groups so that only people in that group sees that particular content. For example, you have have a different set of classes for managers than for sales people. With groups on a learning platform, you can segment your audience and only show courses that are relevant to each group. There are few things worse in the world of content than viewing a collection of irrelevant content.
And the best part is, you can use Mindflash to send automatic email notifications to announce when courses have been assigned to people, progress reminders, and completion notifications.
No more managing email distribution lists.
Reporting (Especially Consolidated)
Yes, you can find out how many people attended your webinar and also how many people viewed the recorded version. But you cannot, without doing plenty of manual work in a spreadsheet (ugh), find out who on Sara’s team has not yet completed the compliance training.
You will not get very far with any learning initiative before someone starts asking you for any number of consolidated learning activity reports. With a learning platform like Mindflash, you can respond to these requests easily with a variety of options for creating consolidated reporting. Why make your job more difficult by manually creating reports in spreadsheets, when learning platforms can eliminate this dreaded work.
Ask a Lot of Questions
Although this post just scratches the surface of what you should consider when selecting a learning platform, it covers the big stuff. And hopefully it gives you some other ideas for what you need from a learning platform. Make sure you ask a lot of questions, and if you run out of questions to ask, just say this, “What questions do other people ask you, that I have not asked?”
Finally, get a free trial. You can probably launch a small eLearning course, deliver it to a small pilot audience, and report on the results before the free trial is up. Then you will really discover what you need.
Bill Cushard, author, blogger, and learning experience (LX) designer, is a human performance technologist (HPT) with extensive, in-the-trenches experience building learning organizations in start-up and hyper-growth organizations like E*TRADE, the Knowland Group, and Accenture. You can follow him on Twitter or on Google+.