When is the Perfect Time to Shift to Online Training for Franchises?

CoVid19 is causing exceptional chaos and misery across nations and within communities and families.
 
I write this in the midst of the Italian lockdown, experiencing at first hand what this means. And as I listen to the news I'm hearing the UK is about to go into the early stages of lockdown too.
 
Nations are encouraging businesses to send workers home to work online where possible.
 
Never has there been a more vivid illustration of the benefits of working online. As the virus grips, thousands of businesses are under threat. Regardless of which country you operate in, your economy will face a downturn. It may be relatively shortlived but the hit is coming.
 
As the owner of a small business, I empathise with small franchisers and their concern for their franchisees, their business survival and the wellbeing of franchisee employees.
 
If you haven't considered the benefits of training franchisees online now is the time to do it. If you've never tried holding meetings online, now's the time to do it. If you've never coached a colleague or team member from a distance, now's the time to do it. The tools have never been easier to use, more accessible or such great value for money.
 
Franchises that made the shift 12 months ago to use online learning, or coaching via Skype or Zoom will be grateful they made a great decision last year knowing they can still continue their training despite a pandemic.
 
Whereas those that didn't are faced with halting training as social distancing kicks in. Now they have to begin the process of shifting their practices in the middle of a crisis.
 
But pandemics aside shifting your franchisee training online has lots of benefits regardless of what's happening outside your office doors.
 
Long-term franchisee success is built on consistent, easily-accessible training. And nothing is more accessible than online learning.
 
In this post, we're discussing the benefits of online training and some important points to consider when creating successful franchisee training online.
 
Many of our clients are amazed at how quickly an online course can be created and how much of it they can do themselves.
 

The Benefits of Online Franchisee Training

Online training gives you several opportunities that you don’t have with in-person franchise training courses at your Head Office, company sites and other locations
 
Here are the key ones to remember.

1. You and the Franchisee Save Money

  • The longer the training the more cost involved for you and the franchisee. When franchisees are being trained they're not selling their products and services.
  • There are no travel, meal or accommodation costs which are often a significant cost for the franchisee.
  • Materials costs such as workbooks, classroom materials can also be largely eliminated.
  • Reduced trainer costs and admin.
  • Reporting and feedback is easier through automated features.

2. Content is Easy to Update

  • All content online is easy to update, add, edit and refresh so the franchisees always have the latest materials and learning resources to hand. So if you have to update policies and procedures you can quickly edit your existing online courses and ensure everyone gets the latest material.
  • Improved quality and consistency also follow as there is no variation between delivery online compared to different trainers delivering the same material in a classroom or on-site.

3. Unlimited Access Means Better Learning and Retention

  • Unlike expensive classroom-based learning which is often attended only once for a particular subject, students can take their online franchise training as many times as they like. This increases the effectiveness of the training and improves retention.

    With online training franchisee employees, can leave their computers and go back to their work area ready to implement what they have just learned.  A study by Sales Readiness Group indicates that 80% of learning content is forgotten during the first 90-120 days. Offering online learning that can be accessed multiple times, increases retention and therefore ROI.
  • Online learning means training at your fingertips so that specific topics can be visited at the point of need, not having to schedule to attend a course several weeks or months in advance.

3. You Can Assess Workforce Competencies

  • Most online learning solutions will enable you to track progress and competencies with quizzes and assessments. This gives you the confidence to know that the skills you need are actually in place and working and that the online franchise training you have invested in is delivering the right ROI for both you and franchisees.
  • And compliance training is more cohesive when done online.

4. Learners Prefer Online to Classroom Based Courses

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.

Making the Shift to Online Learning

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.

1. Ensure Your Franchise Training is Engaging

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.

2. Classroom Training Can Help Networking

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.

3. Feedback is Easier to Capture in a Classroom

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.

What Process to Follow in Making the Shift

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.

  • Use assessments. If your classroom materials and resources don't include assessments or quizzes then these need to be added to your online course.

    A skilled trainer can use various techniques to assess their students. So, when you convert your classroom-based training material into an online course, make sure to add some form of assessments. These check levels of understanding and help reinforce the key messages learnt.

 

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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