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7 Surprising Things You Could Learn by Accepting This Challenge

— by Gauri Reyes

Employee trainingLearning developmentUncategorized

CHALLENGE: Can you create an online training course in less than a day?

EXTRA CREDIT: Can every single person on your team, or in your organization, create an online training course in less than a day?

Before you decide whether or not to take on the challenge, consider this question: Why should I even bother?

Here are seven reasons why you may want to consider accepting the challenge.

#1 Figure Out How to Use Your Authoring Tool(s), and Move On

This challenge will rapidly bring you up to speed on your elearning authoring tool and/or LMS. Expand the challenge across multiple people on your team or across your organization, and collectively you’ll learn the nuances of your tools. Learn how to upload documents, video, or audio. Or how to send email invitations, create quizzes and track learning statistics. Or how to integrate social media into online training. And, then move your focus to figuring out how and when training can solve business needs.

#2 Reuse or Repurpose Valuable Content

Use this challenge as an excuse to review the content that you already have. Find material (text, audio, video, graphics, PowerPoint, recorded webinars, etc.) that you can reuse or repurpose. This challenge is the perfect excuse to finally update outdated training material and breathe new life into your content.

#3 Bring A/B Testing Concepts to Learning

What if, through this challenge, two people end up creating online training courses on the same topic? Since each person spent less than a day (rather than weeks or months) developing the course, little time has been wasted. In fact, a unique testing opportunity has been created. Perhaps one course presents concepts in a logical, textual manner while the other presents the same concepts visually. Conduct an A/B test with your learners to which course is better received or increases learner retention. When possible, meld the best of both into one robust course.

#4 Discover the Value of Microlearning

If you want to author elearning content rapidly, consider employing microlearning techniques. Boil down macro-concepts into small learning “learning bursts” (typically two- to ten-minutes per learning burst) and create a nugget of must-know material. If each team member creates a microlearning module on different aspects of a macro-concept, you’ll have a series of courses each reduce into micro-concepts that can be accessed at the point-of-need.

#5 Increase Your Agility

Adapt agile software development techniques to learning development. Be process-light and learner-focused and hone in on what matters to your learners. Create and deploy relevant content quickly (less than a day, for this challenge). Test your content with your learners and make any necessary “course” corrections immediately. The point is to avoid developing a large, complex online training program which may end up becoming obsolete at the time of release or doesn’t end up meeting learner needs after all, and for which a “course” correction is too late and/or too expensive.

#6 Increase Knowledge-Centered Conversations

Having everyone on a team accept the challenge to create an online training course each in less than a day will cause co-workers to proactively converse on learning-centered topics. In this way, knowledge sharing begins before anyone actually enrolls in an online training course and will continue after the course has been completed—the basics for creating an organizational culture centered on learning.

#7 Involve Everyone in Teaching and Learning

Asking all team members to create an online training course involves everyone in teaching and learning. You may find new SMEs to tap for knowledge sharing or identify new business issues that can be solved with training. You can use this challenge as a unique way to bring new employees and inter-departmental hires up to speed or bridge the divide between managers and their reports. And, you can also gain a competitive advantage by involving partners and customers in the learning conversations, pulling them into your organization’s “inner circle”.

Be Creative with this Challenge

If you choose to accept this challenge, you will have a completed online course ready to go in less than a day. Better yet you’ll have a set of completed online courses, if your co-workers take the challenge too.

Assuming you’ve accepted this challenge, why not layer on an extra element to the challenge and create a unique online course. Meaning, don’t just create a course with a written or videotaped lecture followed by a quiz. There’s absolutely nothing wrong with that time-tested course structure. But, why not use this challenge as an opportunity to experiment with online course structure and content?

Here a few examples of ways to experiment with online course content and structure:

  • Use the Module as a Ploy to Increase the Organizational Knowledge Base: Ask the learner to post the answer to a business question in text, audio, or video form. Collect all the “solutions” in a central location and you’ve just updated the organizational knowledge base.
  • Make the Entire Module a Survey: As a simple example, survey co-workers in Sales or Business Development, who may take clients and prospects out to lunch often, on which restaurants provide the best ambience for closing a deal (based on parameters such as size of deal, personality of client, number of clients in the meeting, etc.). Replace the restaurant survey question with any relevant business question, and you might end up streamlining productivity.
  • Do a Product Demo: What if the “course” was essentially a demo of a new product your company just released, or of a new internal system?
  • Communicate the Vision and Mission: Instead of holding in-person “All Hands” meeting to discuss the company vision and mission, could you rework the information into an online training “course”? Perhaps work in a social media component for post-training discussion? Or use the online training course to convey the “lecture” component of the meeting and then gather everyone in the same room to discuss ideas and action plans once briefed?
  • Share Company Results: Could you share the latest department or company stats via an “online course”, and then include a quiz/survey to gather feedback and thoughts on the data? Perhaps follow up with an online or in-person discussion to talk about next steps?

Creating an online training course in less than a day can be an educational experience in and of itself. And, if you’re wondering how our Mindflash example courses were created, here are the step-by-step procedures.

What might you and your team or organization learn by accepting the challenge?

Gauri Reyes is a talent developer and learning leader with extensive experience in roles ranging from software management to managing the learning function in organizations. She is Principal Learning Strategist and CEO at Triple Point Advisors and Founder of the YOUth LEAD program. Follow her on Twitter, LinkedIn or Google+.

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