Scheduling Tips to Plan Your Remote Training Program

An online training program has many phases, activities, and tasks. You probably learned this when you were building your e-learning course.

Ongoing online course projects need tending like a garden. As you move from the launch phase to the maintenance phase, you’ll still need to keep managing time. In practice, program managers, facilitators, and administrators need to plan and coordinate with each other, learners, and stakeholders to keep the course relevant and active. 

Managing remote training projects is a major part of any program. If you want your training investment to keep running without snags, here are some methods for scheduling that you can use with your team, learners, and more.

Cohort Scheduling for the Program

First up: cohort scheduling. 

Scheduling is at the core of any remote training program. When you’re ready to offer your course to your staff or other participants, think about their schedules too. A helpful strategy is to divide up the program year and your participants into rotating cohorts.

Some reasons for creating learning cohorts are:

  • Managing big groups of participants. This is helpful in case you have the capacity for handling 25 students at once, but 250 would be too many to manage.
  • Grouping people together to guide them through a learning path. This is common when learners begin with basic knowledge and advance to more intensive learning. 
  • Providing learning opportunities throughout the year. Your agency’s hiring schedule might change depending on funding, the season, and other factors that mean people will enter your program at differing times.

These are all factors that will affect how many cohorts you have and how often you schedule them. 

Another thing to consider: take into account holidays, conferences, vacations, and other competing events on the schedule that could impact participation.

Time-Management for Facilitators and Administrators

Facilitators and administrators can keep on track if they work out a schedule of what to do and exactly when. 

Developing a structure is important for yourself and for the learners in your elearning program. Setting a schedule is a good way to make sure everyone completes their work on time. It also will help you have enough time to address questions, check assignments, and make updates.

Here are some tips for setting a helpful schedule:

  • Before the course begins, add time to your calendar for administrative duties. For instance, every other day works well.
  • Set expectations upfront by telling learners when course assignments are due.
  • Send regular updates and reminders to keep participants on track.

Here’s an example of a facilitator timeline that we created for our clients at Susan G. Komen in Tulsa, Oklahoma. As a first-time facilitator, this person was feeling overwhelmed, so we developed this simple chronogram to help keep them organized. You might want to import these tasks into your favorite task manager; in our case, we’ve started using Asana.

Week 1:  WelcomePost first message in forums
Respond to email
Automated message: Course launch
 Review discussion forums
Respond to email
Follow up with people who haven’t logged in yetReview discussion forumsRespond to email 
Update Gradebook
Automated message: Time to finish up
Week 2: IntroductionPost first message in forums
Respond to email
Automated message: New module
 Review discussion forums
Respond to email
Follow up with people who haven’t logged in yet for the weekReview discussion forums
Respond to email Update Gradebook
Automated message: Time to finish up

Schedule Management for Learners

Learners should oversee their own schedules, but training managers can help them along. For instance, here are a few tips you can follow to keep your participants on track.

  • Make specific and clear syllabi and assignments with progressive calendar deadlines – seeing all the tasks laid out helps learners get organized. It also makes it easier to check them off the list.
  • Provide students specific performance feedback on a timely basis – respond asap on activities, as this helps keep the momentum of the course going.
  • Provide bonus time for assignment deadlines – most people are procrastinators. So they often look at deadlines as the time to begin an assignment. So build in a secret 3-day bonus into deadlines. Doing this, you’ll be surprised at how happy participants are to have extra time and the chance to finish work. 
  • Give heavy participation in discussion boards – go beyond a short response and request clarification, reinforce students’ ideas, correct misunderstandings, or ask for consensus within areas of disagreement.

Get Ready for Your Next Training Program

Contact Talance for help creating your next training program or to help with your current one.

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