Online training courses can be a great way to save companies money while getting the corporate training done. Using your company’s course management system or some other type of training software, you can develop courses that can be taken by employees when and whereever they would like to take them.

However, since it’s typically easy to just upload some videos to your learning management system or create assessments within an LMS website, there can be less attention to detail than would have been paid when creating a traditional course.  So, in addition to thinking about what you “should” be doing as an instructional designer of an online course, you should also think about what you “shouldn’t” be doing.

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Don’t Move To Fast

stop watchTraditional courses typically last 3-5 months, while according to one Quora respondent, the typical time to completion for an online course can be 4-6 weeks.  And, a training course in the corporate sector is certainly much faster than that.

Because of the flexibility in taking an online training course, the trainee can move through the material very quickly.  However, our minds need time to soak up new material.  And while the trainee may “think” that they’re learning and retaining, with the faster pace it becomes much more difficult to retain concepts since our mind is making room for the continual bombardment of new concepts.

Keep this in mind while creating your course by continually reviewing old material as you present new material.  By reviewing, you can actually slow the course down, and give the trainee additional time to absorb the old material.  And, one approach that you can use is to make sure that each module consists of 80% new material and 20% old material, or what I call an “80/20 Model of Learning“.

Don’t Train For Something Untrainable

One big mistake in corporate training is to use the company’s learning management system for all types of training.  And, while at Avizr, we certainly support a company’s use of an LMS, we definitely would not want it to be used for types of training that would lead to ineffective results.

As one example, in a previous post, we discussed how a learning management system can be used to help train your customer service representatives.  However, if you’re just going to use training software without the human interaction component, you’re certainly going to be disappointed.  A computer simply can’t replace the face-to-face component of developing a customer service representative.  Although, maybe we’re not that far off!

Don’t Expect That Your Trainers Want To Be Trained

Let’s face it: most employees are not interested in the training.  In particular, compliance training is probably right up there with “working on the weekends” and “going to the dentist”.  But, if you keep this in mind as you develop your online training, it will help you to set the right tone for the training course.  Where possible, have some fun with the material!

And, after you create a training video, you should actually watch it yourself.  Did you really enjoy it? If the answer is “not really”, then your trainees will probably loathe the training experience.  If you loved it and found it interesting, then there’s the possibility that your own trainees won’t hate you.

Don’t Emphasize The Fluff

Instructional designers wear two hats.  They are “instructors” as well as “designers”.  The instructor hat enables them to create courses that are pedagogically sound.  When wearing the designer hat, the instructional designer is thinking about both the form of the course as well as the aesthetic.

And, while it was mentioned above that you want to make the training course as enjoyable for your trainees as possible, too much “fluff” will not benefit the trainee.  In addition, it will add to the time in developing the course.  As a rule of thumb, trainees will certainly appreciate a design aesthetic that’s clean and easy-to-follow over a course that has a ton of bells and whistles.

Don’t Create It And Forget It

Training courses should be created to the best of the ability of the instructional designer.  However, each training course that’s developed should also be thought of as another opportunity to reflect on the course creation process.

Can you get feedback from trainees or other instructional designers?  If you think of the course creation process as iterative, then you will become a phenomenal instructional designer.  However, if you just continue to just create training courses based on the specs of a particular company and never look back after you receive your paycheck, then your approach will become stagnant and your courses will never improve.

Conclusion

In developing online training courses, an instructional designer should think just as much about what to do while creating the course as they think about what not to do.  Above, we’ve listed some of the potential “don’ts”.  Is there any advice that you would give to fellow instructional designers in terms of what they “shouldn’t” be doing?  Feel free to use the comment form below.

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