I grew up with a pretty limited view on the world.
Men went to work, women raised our children and businesses were run from offices.
Safe to say I was wrong on all three accounts.
When I entered the world of teaching, first at a university, then later with corporate staff, I assumed teaching happened in the classroom, meeting room, or conference facility.
Today you can teach thousands of people from your spare bedroom. Meanwhile, remote offices and home-based employees can easily tap into a conference broadcast and enjoy your message live. And it’s simple and cheap to archive any video-based lesson to be viewed 24/7. In fact it’s a $100 billion industry.
This is good news.
If you are in a business, high-speed Internet and cheap data storage means you can build a virtual training resource for staff at very little cost.
If you are an entrepreneur who sells their expertise the options are even more enticing. Below is an infographic from Danny Iny at Firepole Marketing with the results of a survey asking entrepreneurs how they are or will use online learning in their business.
A webinar is a live lesson, delivered over the Internet. It’s simpler to get started with webinars than you might think. First, what’s the big deal with webinars?
Imagine how hard it would be to get 100 of your prospects in a rented hotel room. First you have to advertise the event, explain why it’s worth their travel cost, time away from the office/home, and justify the fee you will have to charge to cover your costs. Ugh.
With a webinar, you send the invitation, people choose to register, automatically they are sent a reminder to sign-in, and presto, they are online enjoying the endlessness of your wisdom. No expensive catering, cold coffee, or over-heated hotel rooms. And for you, no risk.
An online course is similar to a webinar, but it’s prerecorded and usually delivered in multiple sections. Think of it like a series of videos you watch sequentially, often with matching handouts and support from the instructor.
Your online course could be as simple as three videos on mindfulness or a full-blown program, like BOSS that runs over eight weeks.
Here are some more examples of online courses:
staff training. The sky’s the limit here, from site safety, to floral design, to leadership training. The incentives are lower cost of delivery, better attendance tracking and ability for students to review the course.
on-boarding new staff. Lots of benefits here, ranging from ease of updating, cost, and better tracking.
instruction manuals. Many manufactures are embracing online training to help consumers learn how to use their products.
distant learning for colleges. A recent study found that all most all of the enrolment growth in two-year institutions was from online learning. The trick is to keep student attendance from falling off the cliff after the first two weeks.
Standard Operating Procedures
We love Standard Operating Procedures (SOP’s) and use them to instruct staff for repetitive tasks, like: posting my blog, setting up new clients on SOS, and creating an email sequence in InfusionSoft (our CRM system). We create and store our SOP’s in Google Docs because it’s a great platform for quickly sharing documents within your team.
You can also create a short video demonstrating your SOP. I do this to teach staff parts of the SOS process – they can learn in just a few minutes what would take a half for me to teach.
Getting Started with Online Training
So far, so good, you want to leap into online training and start reaping the benefits of the new technology. Woah Silver! Not so fast. First you have to do your homework. Here are some basic questions:
- What outcomes do you want? Sounds simple, but there’s a big difference between helpful information and, say someone taking a safety course to get a certificate.
- Is this blended learning? Blended learning incorporates online learning with face to face time.
- Who are the learners? Are they: experienced with technology, what’s their attention-span, how old are they, what location they will learn from?
- How will they take the course? Will they be using smartphones, laptops, or be using a desktop in their office? Each venue represents an opportunity and potential challenge.
- What’s the incentive to completing the course? Enrollment is great – completion is better. Some courses have completion quizzes after each module. Some use certificates. Our BOSS program includes a live call with the instructor every Friday – that gives us a chance to check in with students and they are more motivated to get their homework done before the call.
Ten years ago, when I dipped my toe into online learning I not only had to market my course, I had to explain what online learning was. No longer.
Just like the smartphone, GPS, and a Caffè Latte – we know what they are. Now we just need you to do it better.