When training employees from a diverse background, you’re bound to run into a few questions, especially if this is your first time transitioning your employee training from traditional classroom learning to the online world of eLearning.
So what can you expect employees to ask? Here are a few frequently asked questions you may encounter before your training launches, as well as some answers to help you prepare.
How Long Will Training Take?
If you’ve run a training course before, you may have a good idea of how long it takes to onboard new employees or otherwise bring them up to speed. But, if you’re in the process of implementing eLearning alongside traditional training, or replacing traditional training courses with eLearning courses, you may not have a clear answer.
In some cases, eLearning training courses can be accomplished faster than traditional courses. Access to materials offline or outside the office may help learners move through materials quickly. On the other hand, self-paced courses may cause employees to take too much time to finish an otherwise short course.
For self-paced courses, it’s recommended to set a time limit (e.g. “by next Friday”) so that employees have an understanding of when they’re expected to finish, but let them know they can be done sooner, if necessary.
For traditional eLearning or group courses, consider timing out the full length of training. If possible, chunk courses into shorter learning segments (20-30 minutes) over several days instead of squeezing everything into one or two days.
How Will We Be Evaluated?
You can measure the effectiveness of eLearning courses in several ways, but it’s important to set expectations and rules for evaluation before the course starts. If you’re evaluating the effectiveness of the course based on how quickly it’s finished but you never set a strict time limit, then you‘ve set your employees up for failure.
One way to measure the effectiveness of an eLearning course is by using The Phillips Model, which measures training outcomes at five levels:
- Level 1: Satisfaction – Did the training satisfy learners?
- Level 2: Competency – Did they pass all necessary evaluations and tests?
- Level 3: Behavior – Did behavior in your organization (or skill sets) change or improve after participants took the course?
- Level 4: Performance – Did a performance marker move after the course?
- Level 5: Financial Benefit – Did you see a financial benefit after the training that outweighed the cost of the eLearning course?
You may also choose to evaluate success based on other factors, like time. Just be sure to inform employees of the ways they will be evaluated before the training begins.
Will There Be In-Person Requirements?
Some organizations may choose to pair eLearning with other hands-on, classroom or in-person training, while others may wish to convert all of the training to eLearning. Learners should know before training begins whether or not they will be required to show up in person.
Some online programs may integrate practical components. For instance, those in online programs that prepare them for jobs in the manufacturing industry may need to complete onsite skill assessments in addition to online course materials.
There may be other physical requirements involved as well. Workers may need to keep a journal of their experience or a video record of their work to submit to their instructors for review. There are also eLearning courses that require employees to attend off-site classes on weekends. If this is part of the curriculum, employees should be informed at the start of the course.
Can the Training Be Customized?
Will you be using a ready-made training course or will it be customized to the needs of individual employees? Most companies utilize customization to train their staff on specific subjects, as it helps provide a better understanding of the processes and principles within a specific organization.
But other companies may find that broad training is cheaper and easier to produce, in which case, materials may still need to be customized to fit individual employee needs. Another factor to consider is special needs workers or those with disabilities that may affect learning.
Those with reading comprehension difficulties may need access to different learning materials than others, or those with different religious or cultural perspectives may need course materials altered to meet certain specifications.
Will I Need Any Technology Not Already Provided?
Some eLearning courses may take advantage of newer technology, like apps on mobile devices, or might only work on certain computer operating systems. Is there enough access to technology at your organization where training is taking place? Or will employees need access to specific technology?
If employees are required to participate outside of normal work hours – for self-paced courses or to download mobile apps onto personal devices, for example – is there a contingency plan in place for workers who may not have access to this technology?
Providing alternate forms of training for those who don’t have access to technology, or otherwise offering company resources can help those employees who may not have the access to technology required to complete online training.
Will Training Be Available in Other Languages?
If you have a diverse set of workers who will need to be trained, you may have to consider language barriers in addition to technological barriers. Although many people speak English, some employees may speak it only as a second language or not at all.
Translating training materials may become important in these cases. You may find that some employees prefer another language for training purposes, or may have other cultural or religious needs when it comes to understanding the training materials.
If you’re not sure what other languages to use in your coursework, start with commonly spoken second languages in areas where your employees inhabit. Mental Floss has a helpful map of top second-languages in each U.S. state (besides English and Spanish). Nationsonline has a list of most commonly spoken languages around the world.
Where Do I Go If I Need More Help?
It’s possible that the training provided through your eLearning course may not be enough to fully prepare workers for the job ahead, whether intentionally or otherwise. Do employees know where they can go after the course is finished if they still have questions or need additional resources?
Having an online resource center available for employees – to access training materials, take tests and quizzes or otherwise refresh their memory – may be a good idea.
Management should also be aware of any training completed (or in some cases not completed) by employees before they begin their jobs or after training has completed. Employees should know where they can go to ask questions and who they can turn to for help after everything is finished.
You may also encounter other FAQs as you continue to train new employees over the years. Be sure to write down any commonly asked questions (and their answers) so that the next group of employees can be prepared the next round of training.
Having a manual of FAQs (or an online resource) available to employees may also help mitigate the time spent answering these questions and provide an excellent way for learners to engage with the training before they ever start the course.