Steps to digitise classroom training
Going digital is more essential than ever
Converting all your face-to-face training online can seem like a daunting task. But entering a world of mandatory remote working has shown us how important it is to go digital and future proof your processes to be able to continue business as usual wherever you’re working.
Flipping classroom training doesn’t have to be resource intensive, expensive or time consuming. This guide will give you step-by- step advice, practical tips and the tools to quickly digitise existing courses with little to no budget.
Why flip it?
Flipping to a digital classroom instantly provides you with a bank of resources you can deliver to your audience up-front, before they even attend. You can then open up the session to do more practical, useful tasks which involve applying the knowledge.
Psychologist Hermann Ebbinghaus estimated 50% of all information someone is exposed to is forgotten within a day, so having the resources made available after the session is also a great benefit to aid knowledge retention.
What’s more, is you can share them with a wider audience at different times too. Saving your trainer standing in front of the room delivering the same thing again and again.
A lot of the time we find after completing step one (all will be revealed), you find it’s all about delivering information, in which case, do you really need the face-to-face? Instead make you could use it as a campaign or communications piece.
Don’t assume you need to get people in a room all the time. It’s all about self-directed learning and making the right resources available for learners at the right time.
1. Extract the facts
The first step is to look at your face-to-face course and extract out any pure delivery of information. Anything where you know you’re simply standing up in front of slides talking at people.
A good way to identify these aspects is to think about the key phrases or sections you know you repeat a lot. What parts of the session do you know by heart and never change? Flick through handouts or workbooks and look for common information such as definitions, process explanations and lists.
2. Collect concepts
Don’t be fooled in thinking it’s enough to share the slides and handouts to people as your upfront resources. Slides are usually prompts, so it’s hard for learners to gain true value from them, which means they won’t be useful when searched for in the future either.
Break down the information into individual concepts with the aim for each concept to become micro content.
The objective here is to make a bank of useful resources that answer specific questions such as ‘what is coaching?’ and ‘what is mentoring?’. I find that thinking about a question someone would write into google can really help highlight the problem your content is trying to solve.
3. Map it all out
Once you’ve identified a list of all your concepts, you can map it out. This can be a spreadsheet to capture what you’ve found and act as a project plan for any content you need to pull together.
Decide on the best format for each item. Hearts and minds pieces are best delivered with a video and/or animation. Alternatively, key statistics are best delivered as an infographic and a process concept may be best suited to a flow diagram. Mixing up the formats is great and will be a lot more engaging for learners consuming the content in one go.
Once you know your formats, you can think about who your stars will be. Ironically, sometimes the experts are not necessarily the best people to use as they know too much about a subject and will not be able to communicate the key information.
Best practise is to explain it to someone who knows nothing on the subject and then get them to capture the explanation. That way, you end up with someone who can use the target audience language and cherry pick out what they think is important.
Finally in this phase, you could prioritise the content. This could be based on availability and resource, if you need to get something out quickly or there may be elements which are simply more important.
Now this may seem like a lot of work, but in reality to get to this stage, if you were working on a 1 day course, you only need about an hour to get your map done.
4. Get creative
Now you know what resources you need to make, it’s time to get creative. This stage can put people off but if you work in the right way, it can be quick, simple and quite fun.
You don’t need a team of content creators and graphic designers. There are plenty of free, cost effective tools out there which are full of templates to help you create good content. Take advantage of mobile phones as it’s a great way to capture knowledge.
Handy content tools...
Video capture on your smartphone
Canva graphic design
Loom screen recording
Nimbus Capture screenshots
Unsplash image library
When creating video, keep it simple. The more authentic your content, the more engaged your learners will be. Think about how you react towards a natural YouTube video compared to a corporate video.
Mobile video tips
- Hold your phone horizontally
- Clean your lens
- Don’t zoom in
- Find good lighting
- Focus manually
- Find somewhere quiet
- Keep it natural
- Ask open questions to start
- Clarify with questions that narrow it down
- Ask them to summarise long winded answers
- Have them look at you instead of down the camera
- Find out what’s important
- Get them to repeat the question in the answer Encourage pauses and allow for mistakes
Put it up online
Now you have all this lovely content, where are you going to put it? Think about the best place to house this for a seamless user experience. Ask yourself:
Where is best to host the content?
- Your learning platform
- Facebook groups
- Google Drive
• Can it be broken down into key subjects?
• Can you stitch it together into a pathway of pre-work?
• Can it be associated with a campaign?
Whilst you’re in the process of putting it somewhere, this is a good opportunity to think about how you’ll structure it. For example, there may be key pieces of content you want people to do as pre-work and there may be more general resources like FAQs which will need to be shared in a resources bank.
Remember the aim is to pre-load learners before they attend the event so they’re ready to get stuck in as soon as they arrive with applying knowledge. With this in mind, we don’t want to overload them, but we need to provide them with the right guidance and structure.
6. Look at what’s left
Once the knowledge parts have been extracted. What’s left of the session? Are there activities which would normally form part of the practical sessions and if you’re moving this online, do these need to change or do we have new options to deliver them?
Make a list and understand each activity and its outcome, could you make use of surveys, polls, questionnaires, quizzes?
7. Organise for online
Now how do you organise these activities online?
In some cases, by extracting the knowledge elements, you may have reduced the contact time by more than half already, meaning you can host a webinar. Just make sure it’s no longer than 2 hours.
If you are left with activities, one thing which works well is a short morning session and another short afternoon session with non-contact time in the middle. The non- contact time can be used to complete tasks and the idea is you only really pull the group together to review these tasks or set new ones.
Doing this within one day mimics the classroom experience as people are less tempted to get on with their emails in the middle than they would be if sessions were spread out over days.
Finally, think about which tool you’ll use and make sure you’re comfortable with it.
8. Add some social
Finally, add some social elements. A big part of what we’re missing when not face- to-face are human interactions, so, think of ways to help people stay connected which also helps embed the learning. Simple things like using audio and video are a good starting point.
Follow up is so important after the session, use your learning platform or another social channel to encourage people to ask questions, share ideas and talk about what they’ve learned. Getting these conversations going after will assess the impact too.
Ready to future proof?
THRIVE makes your new digital resources accessible, searchable and relevant. Combining the requirements of an LMS with modern interfaces, social learning and a seamless way to track skills, THRIVE empowers users to learn in the flow of work.
So, if you’re ready to explore how to innovate training and transform your learning culture, we’d love to hear from you.