7 Supereffective Ways To Address Every Course

June 20th, 2014

Offer a better online course by adapting to the needs of each learner. Here’s how.

Online strategy

Have a strategy for addressing every course–no matter what those needs are

It’s a common misconception that each online course is the same as the one before it. Courses are made up of people, and everyone is different. Your program and your facilitator have to adapt each training session to fit the people in it if you hope to succeed. These are seven common hurdles in online programs and some easy solutions.

1. Pepper your material and discussions with knowledge-checks

Frequent knowledge-checks, which are much shorter than quizzes, can help keep learners engaged and also help them determine if they understand the material or not. These are most useful with dense material. E-learning tools you can use are polls, questions on the discussion board or even a question built into the course with the answer on the next page.

2. Break a big class into small discussion groups

Large groups of people are hard for a single facilitator to manage, but they also make it easy for some learners to lurk and become forgotten. Create on-the-fly discussion questions that will get students speaking with each other. Instruct them to partner up with someone they haven’t chatted with yet, or divide them yourself into regions.

3. Invite guest facilitators

Long courses can become monotonous, and–let’s face it–not every facilitator connects with every learner. Address both issues by inviting a guest to answer questions in the forum for a week or host a one-time web chat.

4. Send pre-written messages

Course participation will stay at a consistently higher level if you send pre-written reminders or encouragement throughout the course. Send messages when the course has begun, when new sections open, at the half-way point, when certificates will be ready, etc.

5. Dangle carrots to eliminate drop-outs

Fatigue often sets in after a few weeks of course, and that’s when learners drop out. Resort to bribery to keep learners logging in. Carrots include: completion certificates, equipment they can use on the job, in-person wrap-up luncheons.

6. Schedule a web chat or call for new material

When the topics you’re offering change significantly in the middle of a course, it can help flow and engagement to schedule a web chat or conference call to address the new material. This will signify a shift in directions and give participants a chance to ask any last questions about previous content.

7. Stockpile good questions

Even the best facilitators can feel unenthusiastic about leading online discussions sometimes. Address burnout by having a template of questions at hand that only require a cut and paste, and put the responsibility to reply on participants. A few examples are below. Save these for your next course.

  • Everyone brainstorm a few possible solutions to that.
  • Please give an example of that.
  • Did you ever experience something like that before? Provide details.
  • Explain how you arrived at that conclusion.
  • Say how you see that relating to [insert topic here].
  • What more can you say about that?

Read some more ideas about motivating a group of unmotivated learners.

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Washington helps hundreds of community health workers begin new careers

June 17th, 2014

Washington’s Office of Healthy Communities offers an innovative online training program for a new breed of workers that could help define the future of healthcare.

WOBURN, MA–The Office of Healthy Communities already works with community members by funding programs that improve health, such as cancer screenings and help with substance abuse. Now the Washington Department of Health agency is offering an ambitious program to train hundreds of health workers to work closely with populations that need extra help–and save hospitals money along the way.

Its Community Health Worker Training program (http://www.doh.wa.gov/chwts) gives new or experienced community health workers the skills they need to go into neighborhoods and help people receive better healthcare. The program trains approximately 500 people a year with a flexible training program that combines traditional on-site sessions with a progressive online learning management system.

The hybrid learning format, built with e-learning development firm Talance, Inc. (http://talance.com/elearning), is key to the program’s success, because it allows workers from every corner of the state–no matter how rural–to participate in the training.

Prior to the program, only some community health workers had received training from their employers. Training, which covers such topics as documentation skills and breast cancer screening, was inconsistent, with varying levels and not tailored to the state’s populations of community health workers. Remote areas, which are where community health workers are most often needed, offer few training options, and commuting into a major city for an in-person course is difficult for full-time workers to manage.

“E-learning allows us to reach remote areas of the state to teach community health workers. Staff only need to stay one day in each location thus lowering the cost of delivering the training significantly,” says Debbie Spink, instructor in the Office of Healthy Communities. “We need the support of the online curriculum. It would be cost prohibitive to offer this training only in-person.”

Organizations across the world send community health workers on house calls, especially in poor areas where residents might not have access to doctors or where they visit the emergency room for minor problems. Program graduates help clients follow the doctor’s orders and take charge of their health, reducing the need for additional care.

It’s an easy win for hospitals and health centers, which have invested in creating new positions for community health workers. More skilled community members knocking on doors means fewer people crowding emergency rooms.

The federal government also sees the value of community health workers. The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act has pumped funds into the development of community health workers, because there’s potential to save money through this large workforce.

The Office of Healthy Communities’ program is popular with providers and community agencies around the state. More than 100 of them send employees for training, including AmeriCorps, SeaMar, Aging and Long Term Care, and Planned Parenthood.

Community health workers can participate in one of seven regional core skills courses and take one of eight health-specific programs. A program that began as presentation-based staff training, delivered ad hoc at employer sites, has evolved into a consistent statewide program that educates hundreds of people through audio, video, and discussion boards.

VIDEO: Watch and listen (MP4) (mms://dohmedia.doh.wa.gov/cfh/communityhealthvideo4.wmv) to what people are saying about their Community Health Worker training experience.

About Talance, Inc.
Talance, Inc., is a Boston-area e-learning company founded in 2000. It has offered courses and programs for some of the nation’s biggest health and human services organizations and has helped adult learners reach their career advancement and personal enrichment goals.

To learn more, please visit: www.talance.com.
Follow Talance on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Contact Talance

Free Download: How Washington’s Office of Healthy Communities Uses E-learning to Train up to 500 Employees a Year

Download Talance’s free case study to learn how this state department created a successful program to train community health workers.

7 Resources That Will Improve Your Training Program’s Accessibility

June 10th, 2014

Talance’s courses are always built for standards in accessibility, but the reason we take the extra care and precautions isn’t necessarily clear. The following resources will help program directors understand what’s so important about making courses available to everyone, along with some tips to improve what you offer.

Access E-Learning

Access E-Learning is a free online tutorial from the Georgia Tech Research on Accessible Distance Education (GRADE) project at Georgia Tech. The tutorial is comprised of 10 modules that offer information, instructional techniques, and practice labs on how to make the most common needs in distance education accessible for individuals with disabilities, and enhance the usability of online materials for all students. View Access E-Learning >>

Resources for Accessible eLearning for People Who are Blind

A through and helpful listing of checklists, webpages, screen readers, articles and guidelines for creating and offering digital education resources. View Resources for Accessible eLearning for People Who are Blind >>

Accessibility of eLearning

OpenLearn, from Britain’s inimitable Open University, presents a free 15-hour course for professional educators about how disabled students learn online. It covers the technology and techniques used by disabled students, the adjustments to teaching methods that might be reasonable, design decisions which affect the accessibility of eLearning tools and strategies for evaluation. View Accessibility of eLearning >>

Texas HHS Accessibility Checklist for eLearning

These template checklists (available as a Word document) from Texas Health and Human Services will help you evaluate the accessibility status of an e-learning module. It’s helpful for program administrators who want to make sure their initiatives are open to learners of all abilities. View Texas HHS Accessibility Checklist for eLearning >>

E-Learning Accessibility

This presentation (a PDF download) from Richard Helbock, Digital Media Specialist at Western New Mexico University, is “An Introduction to Section 508 of the Rehabilitation Act and WCAG 2.0 Web Content Accessibility Guidelines.” It’s a helpful overview of what accessibility is and government requirements regarding making courses and other online content available to learners. View E-Learning Accessibility >>

Accessibility and the law from Concordia University

A sobering summary of a lawsuit against Louisiana Tech University, which the university lost, about the importance of making content available in an accessible format: “In short, a blind student was enrolled in a course that required students to submit assignments through an online interface, MyOMLab, but the technology that the student used to access the materials would not work with MyOMLab.” View Accessibility and the law from Concordia University >>


The official government website that covers laws, regulations, resources and best practices for accessibility compliance. View Section508.gov >>

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The 10 Biggest Fears Your Staff Has About E-learning (And How To Overcome Them)

June 6th, 2014

Acceptance, adjustment, and setting expectations are critical to overcoming obstacles with training your staff online.


Skydiving is much scarier than learning online

Fear of online courses might not be as severe as fear of flying or public speaking, but for many people it’s right up there. After more than a decade in bringing computer-based training to new learners, however, we’ve learned how to conquer anyone’s phobia. Here are the top 10 fears we hear and how you can address them as you bring online learning to your team.

1. I don’t understand technology!

Taking a class online is much less challenging than most people realize. Most people can do basic tasks such as checking their e-mail, posting to their Facebook accounts, or typing a document on a computer. With that kind of ability, they won’t have any trouble with an online course.

The best way to address these fears is head-on: let your staff try it for themselves. Arrange a presentation to introduce them to the learning system, and then let them try it for themselves with a few simple tasks, such as logging in or changing their password. Once they see the tasks aren’t very different from what they normally do on a computer, their fear factor will reduce considerably.

It’s still a good idea to ask your facilitator to be available to new technology users to answer simple questions. You can also offer a computer-readiness quiz at the beginning of class to help pinpoint those who need extra help.

2. It won’t relate to my job!

This is a valid fear when based on past experience. Some online trainings are vague and not well targeted. If your staff has experience with these courses in the past, they might legitimately worry that they’ll have to sit through something that doesn’t have anything to do with their actual job.

Make sure that you are careful to release any new training initiative with clear learning goals that are based on professional development, so when you do introduce a new program, it will immediately be relevant. Be clear when you notify staff about the course that it will help them with X skill–provide real-life examples when possible. For example, tell them, “This new course on documentation skills includes worksheets you can download and use to take notes.”

3. I can’t see the instructor!

For some people, the idea of not being able to sit in the same room with an instructor is a big turn-off. The reality is that time away from work in a training room is difficult and expensive, and “remote” learning doesn’t have to feel far away.

Encourage the instructor to introduce themselves to your staff and ask them to share information with one another. This will help build a personal rapport. It can also be helpful to build periodic conference calls into a course, or create virtual office hours, so participants can interact with the instructor. A mentoring structure can help too, if you can pair new learners with experienced workers.

The Office of Healthy Communities at the Washington State Department of Health solves this by presenting their staff with a blended learning model: an in-person session followed by an online program. Read more about how their program works.

4. It won’t relate to the people I work with!

Your staff knows the people who they deal with every day, and they might fear a course won’t reflect the people they work with. All of our courses are based on the work that real workers do in the field so they feel relatable to participants.

Online courses are also easily adapted, so you can offer support materials that do relate well to the community. You can ask participants to share personal stories with the group and provide lists of local resources that they will find useful. The best courses are the ones that reflect the people taking them.

5. I don’t have the time!

This fear, which I’ve heard many times, is simply unfounded. An online course is far more flexible than an in-person training. Participants can do a bit of work when they have the time, break away to work with a client, and then come back to finish up. If 10 p.m. is a better time to work, they can work at 10 p.m. There’s no travel time. Simply point out these facts to anyone who throws up this roadblock, and the discussion should be over.

6. I don’t have equipment!

Not everyone works in a well-equipped office. However, the list of equipment needed for taking an online course is pretty short, and most people either possess or can find access. The list includes:

  • A computer or smartphone
  • Speakers or headphones (optional)
  • A printer if they want to print anything out

Most people can go into an office to access a computer, if necessary, or they can visit their local library. You can make sure participants have their supplies by providing a “things you’ll need to begin” list and then telling them where they can find public access, if necessary.

7. I won’t understand the language!

Many people who don’t speak English as a first language or fluently worry they won’t be able to keep up with a text-based course. In feedback from our courses, we’ve found just the opposite. Because learners can reread text many times, listen to audio or experience the material in different ways, it makes it easier to spend the time necessary to process and understand the course.

If you have a critical mass of workers who need access in one language, you might consider having the course translated.

(It goes without saying you should stay away from jargon by whatever means necessary.)

8. I don’t have high enough skills!

People come into their jobs from a range of backgrounds. Some might have a good deal of technical background, and it might all be new to others.

The best way to address these fears is to begin on an even playing field. Start with a basics course that gives a foundation on which to build. When they’re done with the basics, they can move on to more technical information if it’s relevant. If you have a handful of more experienced workers in the course, appoint them as mentors or coaches, so they feel challenged while getting to know their classmates.

9. I won’t get to know my classmates!

Some employees are afraid they’ll feel isolated by working on a computer and won’t be able to meet the other people in the course. In feedback we’ve received in our courses, we’ve found just the opposite. One woman, for instance, said she met many more people than she does when she’s in a live training. In a conference room, she talks only to the people sitting on either side of her, but online, she had lengthy and meaningful discourse with everyone in the course.

10. I’ll fail the tests!

People understandably fear taking tests, but in an online course, it’s not about the tests. It’s about the experience of being online, reading the material, gathering resources that apply to your job, communicating with classmates.

In our courses, we have only a couple short assessments, and otherwise don’t offer tests. Tests don’t necessarily increase learner engagement–relevant content engages learners. Address this one by simply not giving tests.

The best way to address any fear is to acknowledge it, so your staff knows you’re taking them seriously, and then provide examples and evidence to make them feel more at ease. After the first week, most participants will wonder why they were ever worried in the first place.

Free Download: How Washington’s Office of Healthy Communities Uses E-learning to Train up to 500 Employees a Year

Download Talance’s free case study to learn how this state department created a successful program to train community health workers.

[Photo credit: Sunset skydiving by latch.r, on Flickr]

Case Study: Success with Blended Learning

June 3rd, 2014

The Office of Healthy Communities at the Washington Department of Health’s high aspirations: train 500 health workers per year.

In the fall of 2012, the Office of Healthy Communities at the Washington Department of Health began an enormous task. The aim was to build a program that would be able to train 500 community health workers (CHWs) around the state. Participants would be able to apply new skills while they were working and without major disruption to their jobs. Two years on, the program has become a resounding success.

Washington stands out from other CHW training programs in both its capacity to train workers and also in its catalog of courses, which features a cornerstone core skills program and also several skill-building courses in disease prevention and screening. The blended learning program is comprised of both in-person sessions and online lessons. Together, the program saves money and appeals to the state’s wide population of health workers.

“This online learning solution from Talance was a logical choice for addressing some of our challenges,” says Debbie Spink, an instructor for the program. “E-learning assures all students receive consistent up-to-date quality information and skill building. Students love the freedom it gives them to participate when their schedule permits.”

CHWs are public health workers who provide education to people at risk for poor health, healthcare and disease. They often work in the communities they serve and have a deep relationships with clients, as opposed to a primary care physician.

Community health workers are also busy, and can be located in remote areas, which makes it difficult to attend lengthy in-person trainings. The ability to take remote courses hosted by and built with Talance has been one major factor in the success of the program.

Free Download: Washington State Department of Health Case Study

Read more about this successful program by downloading a free copy of the case study.

3 Important Areas of Training Needs Assessment

May 30th, 2014

A needs analysis, or assessment, is an important first step in creating an online training initiative. Establishing what stakeholders need from a program, and what your employees need to learn, will help you create a program that has a greater chance of success.

But too many people either skip the step of creating a needs assessment (read more on the important step of performing a needs analysis), or they make mistakes. If a training needs assessment is messy, it could set the tone for your entire program, and could leave unsatisfied students or wasted funds.

One common mistake is looking too narrowly at your organization when documenting needs. For example, some administrators know they need to address a knowledge gap because of compliance requirements or industry guidelines. But they forget to consider if they have enough qualified trainers to handle a new online program. They assume that uploading a PDF to the website will be enough to train all their staff. Looking at only one piece of the puzzle will solve exactly one piece.

When employers start planning for an online training program, they should minimally start by looking at what their students need, what their organization needs, and what kind of technology needs. Likely, your organization will have more factors you’ll need to assess, but you can start here, more or less in this order:

1. Find out what your employees need to learn.

Assess what your learners need to know. You might have internal requirements, such as yearly sexual harassment training, or a need for continuing education credits to keep certifications up to date. Or you may have results-based needs, such as finding a way for employees to serve more clients in a shorter amount of time. Looking at gaps in learning will help you identify how to address them.

You can ask your students what they want to learn, but proceed down this road with caution. Sometimes, they don’t know what they need and lack the terminology to tell you, or have very little experience with (or love of) online learning.

2. Determine gaps in your infrastructure.

Assume you’ve identified what your audience needs to learn, and then back up and see what weaknesses you see in your infrastructure to make that happen. For example, you might need to hire a new fleet of trainers with skills in online teaching strategies. Or, your grant has reporting requirements, and you’ll need evaluation tools to address them. You can group stakeholders with your infrastructure, because they will also have requirements you’ll need to address, such as the ability to become self-supporting with your new courses.

3. Decide on the best technology for your needs.

Knowing what your needs are for learning and for your infrastructure will help greatly when you analyze what kind of technology will work best for your organization. Then you can begin to decide if you need self-paced learning, will offer courses with instruction, are looking to build a blended-learning program, what kind of data you need, etc. When you have a list of digital tools and features you need, you can measure them against providers and vendors that can help address those.

Explore what you should–and shouldn’t–be doing when you choose e-learning tools.

Remember that a needs assessment is just the beginning. Look at it as the launching point for a deep investigation into what it will take for your program to succeed. Jumping into something for the sake of it might seem like the fast solution, but you’ll be glad you took the time to look deeply into your requirements before you begin building.

Free Guide: E-Learning Strategy Essentials

Learn what steps to take when as you begin planning your online training program, including need assessment and more.

Download the free guide now!

How To Sell Online Training to a Skeptic

May 27th, 2014

Here’s how to prepare yourself to convince stakeholders online training is the way to go.

Question marks

How to answer a skeptic’s questions

Skeptics of online learning can have good reasons for being skeptical. They are concerned about the health of your organization. They’re wonder how much a new training initiative will cost. They need to be assured that staff will continue to learn when they’re looking at a computer as opposed to sitting in a meeting room.

On the other hand, skeptics can also have some pretty invalid reasons for throwing up roadblocks. Perhaps they hate computers. Maybe they fear change. Maybe, for whatever reason, they distrust your enthusiasm.

Whatever motivations your critics have, you’ll do a better job of making your case for a computer-based training program to your organization if you follow the tips below. You’ll find that doing some prep work will make the job much easier.

Recognize their concerns.

First, admit that moving to an online training program might really pose some concerns. It might be more expensive. It could mean hiring new educators. It will require change and learning for the whole organization.

Whenever you’re negotiating, it helps to understand where the other person is coming from. Think about what concerns your critics will have before you present a training solution so that you can address each one. Let their concerns help guide your research.

Research carefully.

Start by doing your own homework so you can back up your position with information that’s relevant. This might include case studies of similar organizations who have built successful e-learning programs. You can also ask other organizations to let you see how they created their program and answer specific questions for your group.

You can also back up that research with industry trends (how many other organizations in your industry are using e-learning?) and projections (what kind of growth is likely for online training?).

Estimate the costs.

Create a spreadsheet that details the base costs of online learning. This should include the cost of converting your existing materials to a digital format, hiring staff members and a technology set-up. This article will help you estimate the cost of educating people both online and in person.

Give a live demonstration.

Computer-based training can be pretty hard to imagine for people with no experience. Make it easier to conceptualize what online learning looks like by actually demonstrating it. Don’t worry about getting all the logistics down, because you can work with a vendor to prepare a simulated training for your group. (Contact Talance about setting up a free demo for your team.)

Let skeptics try it for themselves.

Part two of a live demonstration is to let skeptics try it out for themselves. At Talance, we create personalized accounts for all stakeholders and let potential clients work in the learning management system on their own. Often seeing how easy an online training is will help quell fears.

Free Guide: E-Learning Strategy Essentials

Learn what steps to take when as you begin planning your online training program, including need assessment and more.

Download the free guide now!

Avoid These Training Program Bad Habits

May 23rd, 2014
Man asleep on laptop

Online training doesn’t have to be boring!

Organizations spend millions on training employees online, and, frankly, much of that is wasted. The reason is that too many administrators wrongly assume that by simply rolling out a program, it will be successful.

Below are some bad habits I’ve seen many times in organizations, and some suggestions for making your computer-based staff training more effective.

Focus on fundamentals.

One bad habit is habitually offering training that is too advanced. A small challenge can be a motivator, but material that is too advanced will make employees disengage. The fix is to focus first on fundamental skills before moving on. Make sure your whole team follows the same basics–even if it seems elementary to some–and establish a baseline. Then build from there depending on job function.

Keep teaching.

Learning doesn’t stop when you put down your reading material, so why should teaching? Rather than making employee training a one-time event or something that happens only once a year, keep teaching. Reinforce skills training outside of the classroom and on the job. This is a good opportunity for blended learning, in which you can employ a coach to help reinforce skills picked up in the online course on the job.

Focus on goals.

Education that doesn’t meet your organizational goals is a sure sign for failure. Your employees won’t understand why they’re taking it, and it won’t support your overall mission. Yet, many companies simply subscribe to online courses because they’re easy. Tie training into goals, and administrators, stakeholders, the organization and employees will benefit.

Here’s some help on being systematic about setting goals.

Be fun.

So often online training is so frightfully boring that employees will do anything to avoid it–including checking email while logged in, making calls, or whatever they can do to just get through a requirement. If you’ve made your training relevant (see below), that helps with engagement, but so do carrots. Dangle certificates, prizes or contests to increase motivation.

Make it relevant.

If learners can’t see themselves and the people they work with in a course, they’ll lose interest quickly, and the course won’t click. Customize your training to situations and your employee demographic. People perform better when they can relate to the information.

Free Guide: E-Learning Strategy Essentials

Learn what steps to take when as you begin planning your online training program, including need assessment and more.

Download the free guide now!

Training Points You Should Be Evaluating

May 21st, 2014


The most successful training programs are those that are tracked and evaluated. Most organizations know that, but they often fail at the very beginning to look at the whole program as individual pieces. Being too general with evaluation will mean you miss out on important data that you can use immediately to improve your efforts.

Some items you can measure before you begin, some while a course is in process, and others as part of a longer effort. Look at the individual parts of your program, give your evaluation some context, and you’ll be able to have a clearer idea of what’s working–and what isn’t.

The training program. Looking at the program as a whole isn’t the same as looking at a course. Is the program meeting its goals (remember, you set goals before you even began assembling anything)? How does it stack up against your success measures (setting measures of success is another exercise you should have done at the offset). Are the key stakeholders satisfied? Is there a return on investment, both in terms of money and effort?

Individual courses. Next, focus in on individual courses. Pull out your measures of success and course goals and hold them against courses. Are you hitting your targets? Are your employees able to demonstrate that they’ve improved their skills?

Instructor. Separate the instructor from the course, and look at how they’re doing. Look at evaluations from students and also measure performance against job requirements. Does the instructor have the right training and temperament to teach online? Do they need additional education? Are they accessible to students and good at facilitating discussion? Also review teaching strategies to make sure you’re asking the instructor to deliver information the right way.

Resources. Resources go stale quickly online, so make sure links are up to date and that external websites you’re referring are still relevant. Policies and guidelines also change quickly, which might make them irrelevant or provide opportunities for improvement. Also evaluate whether resources were used correctly or if there’s a better option that meets your objectives.

Activities. Evaluate every learning activities right after it was completed so instructors and administrators know if participants are learning and if the activity serves the learning objective. Pair activities with learning objectives and weigh the outcome. If it seems unclear, you may need to evaluate your course’s learning objectives as well.

Technology. Finally, look at your delivery mechanism and see if it is serving your goals or hindering education. Do you have the capacity you need to offer training online, or would it make sense to outsource it? How do participants and instructors feel about the tools? What deficiencies or improvements could you implement to make the experience better?

Look at evaluation early and often, and your program will continue to improve. As you finish one round of evaluations, also evaluate your evaluation process so it’s even better next time. Your employees and your organization will benefit.

Get Help

Want even more help with improving or setting up your training program? Download a free copy of our e-book E-Learning Strategy Essentials.

11 Things To Know About Setting Training Program Goals

May 16th, 2014

Smart program directors understand the value of goal-setting when setting up a successful online training program. Unfortunately, setting goals for training is difficult. You must look inside your program and understand both how it works and how your trainees are best motivated.

The following items can help you look at goal-setting from a different point of view, which will be better for your program.

1. Goals must be SMART

When you’re setting goals and objectives for training, use the SMART mnemonic to make sure you’re creating the best quality ones that you can actually track. Make sure your goals are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-based. (Read more about SMART goals.)

2. It’s OK if you don’t reach your goals

Even if you don’t hit every mark, your training program might still be a success. So you trained only 300 people rather than 400. That could still be a remarkable achievement. When you don’t reach your goals, it could mean that they were unrealistic, or maybe the gains you made were enough.

3. Goals motivate behavior

One of the great benefits of setting goals is it will motivate your team to achieve them. This goes for the administrators, instructors and for the students. Creating goals that involve your entire team–and then sharing them with everyone–will help everyone work to achieve them.

4. Difficult goals are better than easy ones

While training program goals should be attainable (refer to the SMART acronym above), they should still be challenging. Strive to train 25% more people. Have participants prepare a sample document rather than reading one. Stretching a little further than everyone thinks they can will make everyone rise to the occasion.

5. Know the difference between a goal and outcome

Understanding the difference between a goal and an outcome can help you set up a successful education strategy. A goal is more general and refers to the knowledge, skill or behavior someone is working toward. An outcome is more specific and refers to a task to be completed.

A goal is to improve knowledge of emergency preparedness, but an outcome is to successfully respond to an emergency situation 30% faster than the previous average.

6. Work with stakeholders for success

Uninvolved stakeholders can kill an online training program because they simply don’t care about it. Bring in the whole team early to work out measurable objectives, because you may discover important details about their assumptions and requirements than you first did, and they’ll be more interested in outcomes.

7. Ground your goals

Goals are easiest to achieve when they make sense with your overall mission, vision and strategic direction. Making sure an online training strategy fits in with your overall training strategy will also eliminate redundancies and allow you to pull from a wider range of resources.

8. Set baselines

Instead of pulling goals out of the ether, build on your past achievements. What have employees learned over the past few years? How much have you spent on training in the past? Set a baseline of where you are right now so you can measure results and have a better idea if your program has been worth it.

Free Guide: E-Learning Strategy Essentials

Learn what steps to take when as you begin planning your online training program, including need assessment and more.

Download the free guide now!