Is it better to convert face-to-face training into an e-learning module or to redo everything?

09 Jan 2021 Lee Luong 0 Motion Graphics and VFX

Say your boss asks you to convert a two-hour training session, which was conducted by a trainer, into an e-learning module. And since the instructional design has already been done, it thinks you just need to grab the PowerPoint files, import them into the authoring tool and quickly turn them into an e-learning module. It's simple, isn't it?

If only that was the case! But whether or not the training already exists, e-learning designers must go through much the same process for any training project. The only difference is that, when working from an existing course, some preliminary analysis may have been done upstream and some instructional design elements may or may not be available.

But before taking a detailed look at the steps when working from existing training, let's take a quick look at why companies may want to convert face-to-face training into e-learning modules.

Why transform face-to-face training into an e-learning module?

Companies have many reasons to turn their classroom training into e-learning modules, including:

  • It's efficient: you develop the module once and you can use it as many times as you want.
  • It's accessible: learners can access training anytime, anywhere on the planet.
  • It's economical: e-learning eliminates travel costs, instructor fees, etc.
  • It's environmentally friendly: no paper or travel.

Another important factor to take into account is what is known as the "compression ratio". One hour of classroom training corresponds to around 30 minutes, once converted into an e-learning module: a ratio of 2 to 1! So, rather than asking employees to take two hours off their job to complete a classroom course, it's better to ask them to take an hour to take the same content online. Another positive point for e-learning!

Use ADDIE, as usual

Now that we have seen that it is effective to transform classroom training into e-learning modules, the tactical question now arises: how to do it? Here's a tip: follow the proven ADDIE model for creating e-learning modules from scratch. (If you are new to the ADDIE model, check out this article: An Introduction to the ADDIE Model for Instructional Designers ). Ultimately, when you convert an existing course, you still have to go through the same phases as when you normally create an e-learning module. The main difference is in the initial analysis phase.

What are the differences ?

The main difference is therefore in the first step of the ADDIE process, the analysis. Why ? Because most of the analyzes should already have been done when developing the face-to-face course. The analysis phase should therefore take much less time. Here are some things that should have been done for the existing course:

  • Target audience analysis
  • Research and Content Collection
  • Definition of learning objectives
  • Breakdown and organization of content
  • Creation of activities and assessments

In reality, it is not because these elements should have been made that they necessarily are! Sometimes these steps are not completed or done poorly, even when working from an existing course and being assured that it has been 'designed in an instructional way'.

All this to say that the analysis phase may not be easier although you are creating your module from an existing training. It depends on the quality of the existing training material.

Working from poor quality training  

If you are working from a course that is far from perfect, you may need to go back and redo some of the tasks listed above, such as setting learning goals or cutting content. When you work with material that was not designed in an educational way, it's like starting from scratch to organize and analyze the content. The only step where you can save time is researching and collecting content; but even then, you may find some gaps that you will fill by researching yourself.

Work from good quality training

If you are lucky enough to be working from a really well-designed course, the analysis phase can be quick and easy, as you will be able to benefit from all the work already done. That said, even with good quality educational material, you will probably still need to do some upstream analysis.

For example, the audience analysis conducted before the classroom training was developed probably did not determine what type of devices the audience was using (computers or tablets?) Or how comfortable they were with the classroom. web or technology training in general. These are additional questions about the audience that will be needed by the developer of the e-learning module.

Plus, even with the best materials in hand, you'll still need to think in terms of instructional design to turn content into e-learning content. For example, you will need to convert some activities done in class into e-learning activities, like drag and drop or pairing activities, and turn the assessments into an e-learning quiz.

Ultimately, converting a face-to-face training into an e-learning module is a straightforward process that follows the ADDIE model you are probably using now. What's most likely to change is the amount of pre-work and analysis you need to do, and that largely depends on the condition of your existing training materials. If its quality is poor, it will be like starting from scratch, and the existing training will ultimately be just one source you use when researching and collecting content.

BY: Lee Luong

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