Online training programs have become the preferred way to impart skills and knowledge among employees. Many programs, however, are not as effective as the eLearning course developers expect them to be and fail to achieve the desired outcomes. In this article, I’ll share five online training activities to avoid if you want to improve ROI and employee engagement.                   

Instructional Design Challenges: 5 Online Training Activities To Avoid

To err is human. No one will rebuke you if you make a mistake in your business strategy. But if you want to be considered the best, then you should strive to eliminate errors in your operations. The same applies to online training programs where the Instructional Designers are faced with lots of challenges. They must come up with the best online training modules that stand the test of time. They are not only full of relevant information, but they also have to deliver the online training content in the right way. Which means they need to design the ideal online training activities for your corporate learners’ needs, objectives, and job duties. Here are five online training activities you should steer clear of in your online training program.

1. Serious Games That Lack Purpose

Gaming

Online training programs are supposed to be precise and impactful. This involves setting clear goals that you hope the online learners attain by the time they are done with your online training material. If you need to train employees on the best sales strategies, then this is the main objective of your online training course and you should tailor your online training program to meet this objective. The same rule applies to serious games. Many Instructional Designers make the fatal mistake of focusing on the gaming elements instead of the goals. They try to entertain employees so much so that they lose sight of the primary purpose, which is to encourage and reinforce the desired performance behaviours and skills. When coming up with the objectives for your games, think about your audience and their current situation. Then determine how the online training activity can improve their skills and capabilities in a fun and engaging way.

2. Text-Based Online Training Tutorials

Text only or text-heavy material may be full of relevant and amazing information. But that may not be exciting enough to get the online learners interested in them. Most corporate employees are struggling with deadlines and performance targets. Therefore, when you present them with text-heavy online training tutorials, most will simply click away or disengage. They don’t have time to read through a page full of steps or the mental focus to assimilate the information. However, adding images and other multimedia, such as videos and infographics, helps them absorb the information more effectively. Not to mention, enhance the visual appeal of your program so that employees stay glued to the screen, instead of logging off before they master the task.

3. Overloaded Infographics

Confused

As mentioned earlier, graphics are a great way to get the online learners interested in your program. But some developers take the graphics thing a bit too far. You should only use graphics to break up chunks of texts and to summarise a certain online training module. When you use them extensively in your online training courses, you run the risk of distracting employees. Especially when you incorporate infographics that cause cognitive overload instead of clarifying the concepts. For example, they contain so many images and stats that employees simply don’t know where to begin. Or they forget why they clicked on the infographic in the first place because it lacks a centralised theme. Keep your design simple and focus on a few key points, rather than trying to cram in as much data as possible.

4. Lengthy Slideshows

Most of us have had the pleasure to sit through a never-ending slideshow in the past. Fifty clicks in and you’re so overloaded with info that your brain begins to short circuit. Instead of long slideshows that force employees to idly watch as the stats and facts pass by, use simulations and branching scenarios to get them actively involved. They are more likely to assimilate the information and skills by applying them. For example, that half-hour long slideshow about sales skills can be transformed into a five-minute simulation that exposes them to customer personas.

5. One-Size-Fits-All Online Training Paths

Learning path

An online training path encompasses every online training activity, module, and course offered to your employees. Every member of your team needs something different from your online training program. Thus, each requires their own personalised path that addresses their skill and knowledge gaps, as well as provides them with online training activities and resources that cater to their learning preferences. For example, integrate a clickable online course map that allows them to select different branches or routes based on their training needs. They can go at their own pace and concentrate on their personal areas for improvement, instead of having to cover redundant topics or skills that don’t even fall into their job description.

Bonus Tip: Collaboration Is Key

Learning is simplified when people collaborate, as they are able to share their ideas and online training experiences which makes it easy for them to retain more information and see things from a fresh perspective. Despite this being the case, many Instructional Designers fail to incorporate collaborative platforms in their online training programs, and this makes them less impactful. The secret is to find suitable collaborative avenues for your employees. Social media channels and blog commenting are a few of the social learning methods that you can incorporate into your eLearning course design. These online training activities allow them to engage in lively discussions and facilitate skill acquisition and knowledge sharing.

If you want to create an online training program that motivates and engages your remote workforce, then you should avoid these online training activities. It’s important to remember that your staff are pressed for time and dealing with numerous external distractions. As such, every resource must grab their attention and hold it, but also respect their busy work schedules. So, keep it short, to-the-point, and targeted to their job responsibilities.

Do adults learn in the same way as their younger counterparts? Or do they need their own special approach to absorb the information? Do you know what your adult learners need to achieve their goals and tackle everyday challenges? Download the free eBook, 'Designing eLearning Courses For Adult Learners: The Complete Guide' to find out about the adult learner characteristics, the obstacles they need to overcome, ways to engage and motivate busy adult learners, and some amazing adult learning facts and stats you need to know as an eLearning pro.

About Christopher Pappas
Christopher Pappas is founder  of The eLearning Industry’s Network, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. Christopher holds an MBA,  and an MEd  (Learning Design) from BGSU. eLearning Blogger | EduTechpreneur | eLearning Analyst | Speaker | Social Media Addict