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5 Things to Consider with Online Training Programs

October 4, 2011
Whether it is due to recent struggles with the economy, the impact of lean initiatives, or general cost cutting goals, organizations are looking for ways to do more with less.   Since 2008, many organizations have cut facilitator based training programs because they were seen as costly and non-essential.  For some organizations, training programs delivered over the web have become a more cost effective and efficient form of training delivery.  However, there are unique considerations when choosing online training programs for your organization.  Consider these 5 points when investigating online training programs…

1. Does the program leverage adult learning techniques?

Training research has proven that adults learn differently.  In particular, adults are better able to retain information when given direct, concrete examples, receive feedback on how they are doing, and when the content is of importance to them.

2. Is the training engaging and interactive to keep the participants’ attention?

One of the biggest concerns with online training is that the delivery method inherently allows participants to ignore the content and work on other tasks as the program runs in the background.  A course that is interactive will increase the interest level of the participant and allow knowledge transfer to occur.  Great training content is useless if the participant is not paying attention.  Consider programs that capture participant responses to practice exercises and samples so that you can identify who paid attention and who did not.

3. Does the program include practice exercises throughout the training?

Related to the point about adult learning theory, it is very important that practice exercises are leveraged throughout the training.  This will allow participants to practice what they have learned and receive feedback on how they are doing.

4. Does the online training also offer facilitator led follow-up options?

Depending on the skill set you are attempting to train, it may be necessary to supplement the online program with a short facilitator led follow-up.  This is particularly important when the program contains legal content or the need for practice role plays.

5. Does the program allow participants re-enter the training to “refresh” their skills over time?

Often, employees are required to complete training during their orientation period or within specified timeframes.  However there are certain skills that, although they can be learned at any point, are not utilized until several months after training occurs.  Because of this, it is always a good idea to afford participants the opportunity to re-enter the online training program to refresh their skills just prior to needing those skills.

Paul Glatzhofer Paul Glatzhofer is the VP of Talent Solutions based in the Pittsburgh office of PSI Services LLC. He works primarily with organizations that are implementing global assessment and development systems at the leadership level. Paul’s work includes leadership development, leadership skills training, coaching, leadership and executive selection, turnover and ROI analysis, and ongoing feedback development.