Transforming from Classroom to Online

We’d like to go on line with you but what will we do with these training manuals we bought?”  We hear this so often, and now I’m going to tell you.

The process of converting to blended learning or full online is more about transforming the content and activities to provide a better experience and improve skills.  I am going to outline the process for making this happen.

  1. Gather information
    • Review all the materials from the existing training.
    • Ask questions from all those involved in the skills you want to train.
  1.   Determine the problem you are wanting to fix (i.e. reps not managing time well), the measures of success, the audience and the objectives:
    • What is the business problem we are trying to solve with this training?
    • How will we know if our training is successful? What measure will we use?
    • Who is our target audience? Is it the same as the classroom training?  Do different parts of the audience need different training?
    • What do learners need to DO as a result of this training (critical question, not often asked)?
  1.   What’s good and not so good in the current training? Which are the choice bits we must keep in the online version?
    • What currently is NOT working in the classroom training? What needs to change?
    • What do classroom trainers add to the training that isn’t reflected in the written materials? (As an ex-classroom trainer for many years I find this a very relevant question)
    • What are the common errors learners make regarding this material? What are the consequences if they make mistakes?
  1.   Format

Decide with the stakeholder whether they want a blended course or all online.  This decision will be dictated by budget and the audience to be reached.  The need to move to online is often based on the need to scale up; the trainers just can’t reach everyone needed in person.

  1.   Duration
    • Determine how long the course will be. Realistically, you may have to adjust this for the budget and other logistical concerns
    • Converting training to self-paced learning cuts the time in half.
    • Example: If the classroom version was for four hours, assume the online version will be about 2 hours, or 4 times 30 minutes.


  1.   Blended Learning

If you’re really looking at converting say, a three-day course you might not want nine hours of eLearning.  A blended learning approach may be more effective.  You can still scale up and help trainers reach more people by doing shorter live sessions combined with self-paced content.

Example:  If we convert a 3-day classroom training course to blended learning, I start with the same 18 hours of content as before.  I determine that about two thirds of the content are primarily information and foundational concepts that would be easy to create and practice in eLearning.  That gives me 6 hours of self-paced eLearning.

The rest will be 6 hours of classroom training which will be one day.

What originally took learners nearly a full week including travel time, now will take them 12 hours and no travel time if the trainers if the only one that travels.  The financial benefits of self-paced online learning become immediately obvious.

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