We live in a digitally connected world.
Franchisee employees are wedded to their phones.
They interact constantly with content online and have mastered navigating online material with their fingertips.
When people prefer one method of learning over another, they are more receptive to it and will adopt it with greater enthusiasm and commitment.
Research shows that as the availability of online courses increases, higher education institutions will need to identify what cannot be done at a distance to justify attendance on campus.
The same applies to businesses.
If you can't do it online then find ways to blend the training with classroom-based sessions.
Online learning does have some intrinsic drawbacks that are worth considering. This post wouldn't be complete without considering them.
They aren't insurmountable but they are things that need to be kept front of mind when developing your courses and making that shift to the online space.
Let's have a look at what these are and what to do about them.
Classroom franchise training can be highly engaging. Your online version needs to compete with this.
The tutor, the venue, the material, the learning methodologies, and the students themselves all contribute to the level of engagement they have with a classroom course. In particular, the tutor can have the most significant impact on the course and how students experience it.
In just a few seconds the tutor can break the ice, change the dynamics, spot a struggling student, notice changes in energy levels, know when to shift gear and move on, adopting and adapting the content dynamically to suit the students they have in front of them.
All these factors are absent in online learning unless it's live synchronous learning with video.
So when designing your online franchise training it's important to consider how you can make the courses engaging so that students stay for the duration and don't drop out and fail to complete their courses.
Aim to make your training as rich and engaging as possible for the lowest cost.
Today it's possible to film videos in HD or Ultra HD quality using your phone. The quality of sound recording can be perfectly adequate for some franchisee training especially when the training clips are just a few minutes long.
Use a mix of formats of assets from video, audio, interactive videos, interactive PDFs, documents to download, activities for the student to carry out, and use quizzes and assessments. But only use them as needed to drive engagement and achieve the learning goals you are after. Don't use them just because you can!
Remember the saying "less is more"?
It came from the German architect Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. It means that having the essential things is better than having too many superfluous things.
It allows you to focus on what matters most to the students of your franchise training.
No one wants heavy documents overflowing with material.
Your franchisee students want short, compelling and easy to digest materials that get to the point quickly. They haven't got the time or energy to cope with your waffle.
Make learning modules shorter, as bite-sized learning can be more effective. Research suggests that between 15 and 30 minutes is the optimal time to spend on a particular topic before moving onto another whether it be face to face or online learning.
The fact that you meet others in the same franchise business as your own can lead to social learning.
Sharing ideas, getting feedback, sharing tips and experiences are all valuable added valued characteristics of the classroom-based course.
Find ways to build these into your online learning such as offering an online community area, forum or private Facebook Group.
It's easy to receive feedback about the training in a classroom environment when the students and trainer are both present and whilst the course is fresh in the minds fo the class. The franchise trainer can dig into the feedback with some questions if necessary to explore there and then any issues or areas for improvement. She can also feed this back directly to the franchiser business.
There are lots of ways to capture the feedback online too but some extra thought is needed around how to do this and build this into the course at the right time.
There are different formats of online training from short videos to comprehensive programs. One thing that is often overlooked and underestimated is that not all classroom material is suitable for presenting online without some work. You can't just publish your classroom material and think the job is done.
Here are some important points to consider.
Organise the content you have available so that you know what you have and what's missing. Logically segment material into modules, sub-modules and individual units or lessons.
Fill in the “missing” content that would normally be presented by the trainer from their own experiences. Roughly 50% to 60% of classroom-based material is predefined in most cases. The remainder comes from the trainer and their examples, stories, and elaborations of topics. So the missing 40% to 50% needs to be added to give a logical flow to the content and to join the dots.
Incorporate interactivities in your content. High levels of learner engagement if you want your franchise training initiatives to succeed. Whereas the trainer can bring engagement into the learning experience for franchisee students in a classroom, online courses are self-paced learning materials. There's little scope for interaction with a trainer unless synchronous training is provided. How do you overcome this shortfall? Well, it means adding appropriate online learning interactivities to your resources. These can be provided by the technology being used as well as by designing activities for the learner to complete.
If you are thinking of shifting any of your training online or have existing content and courses that need reinvigorating drop us a line at [email protected] or call Mark Gregory on 0784 328 4310.
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