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Are your people refusing to do online training?


I came across a question in a forum recently from a Training Manager of a Telecommunication’s company. The company was organising online training for sales reps which was 2hrs long with the expectation that they would complete it before work between 7 & 9.

As you can imagine the completion rates for the course weren’t great and this was just the start of a series of them. This manager wanted advice on what to do to increase completion rates.

Online training has become the default training option for many companies in an effort to reduce costs and as a way to quickly up skill staff. As a result many online pieces are poorly constructed, without much thought put into making it engaging enough to actually learn anything.

I would love to know the number of people (myself included) that skip to the quiz at the end just to get a tick of completion next to their name.

If you’re finding that employees are unwilling to complete online training, regardless of whether it’s a virtual class or e-learning, below are 5 key elements to consider which might help improve your strike rate.

1.       Duration: Online training shouldn’t be any more than 30-40min long. In a virtual class you can get away with 40 min providing a good level of engagement. Most adults are unable to sustain attention on one thing for more than about 40 minutes at a time.

2.       Design: In order for training to be enjoyed it needs to be: hands-on, motivating, involves activity, allows people to share their experiences and relates to their experience. Your online training should include these elements. There are many ways that platforms can be used to create this through built in features.

3.       Motivation: Since online learning doesn’t cater to everyone’s learning styles, if it’s the only or most suitable option for your company, then you need to find out what will motivate your people to do the training. Some people love completion certificates, others are motivated by gift vouchers. Others are competitive and want to know they were the first to complete the training. Your learner is thinking “what’s in it for me”, run a survey, workshop or involve management to find out what motivates them.

4.       Gather Feedback: Let’s face it, not many people fill out the online survey at the end of an online training module. I know I don’t bother because I just don’t think anyone looks at it nor will my comments be considered for improvement. I’m not saying take away the survey, as there will be people who do fill it out. However you should enlist the help of managers to ask staff for feedback. Managers can do this casually, in their one-on-one or team meetings, send an email (or you can draft something for them to send to their people).

5.       Keep Improving: Feedback is really important, don’t ignore it. Acknowledge that someone has taken the time to tell you how the training can be improved. Use the feedback as continuous improvement of your online modules. Training can always be improved so make the most of the feedback, once you get momentum started where people are giving you quality feedback your people will notice the change and be more likely to complete online training in the future.

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