Online training demos offer employees a visual walk through of complex processes, which helps to improve retention and understanding.
The saying goes that “seeing is believing”, but there are also times when seeing is comprehending. In this article, I’ll share 6 tips to create amazing hands-on online training demos for your corporate eLearning program.
An article by Christopher Pappas
How to create amazing hands-on online training demos
There are a variety of reasons why you should incorporate hands-on online training demos into your online training course design. Not only do they simplify complex tasks, but they can also showcase product features and reinforce performance behaviors. Instead of merely explaining the process through text, you provide employees with a practical example that they can follow. Thus, they are less likely to make costly errors on the job and are more confident in their abilities. Here are 6 tips to help you create a stellar hands-on online training demo for your corporate eLearning program.
1. Choose the right authoring tool
There are a variety of eLearning authoring tools that feature screen recording and editing tools. Others boast amazing asset libraries that come complete with a variety of characters, cutouts, and interactions. Choosing the right eLearning authoring tool for the job is essential, particularly when you’re working on a tight deadline. Look for authoring software that offers free online trials so that you can determine if it’s a good match. Ideally, you want a tool that suits the talents of your eLearning team and is flexible enough to handle future eLearning projects.
2. Include EVERY step of the process
You should assume that employees know absolutely nothing about the task when you’re creating your online training demo. Some may already be familiar with the process, but others might be seeing it for the first time. As such, you need to include every step, skill, and sub-task. This includes any prep work they’ll have to carry out beforehand, such as logging into the system or setting up the machinery. In addition, conduct audience research to find out what they already know and what they still need to acquire. For example, a questionnaire might reveal that your eLearning audience has experience using the software. Thus, you can quickly brush over that aspect of the online training in your demo.
3. Show both ends of the spectrum
Employees may be exhibiting unfavorable performance behaviors and they aren’t even aware of it. This is why it’s important to offer both correct and incorrect examples in your hands-on online training demo. Modeling correct behaviors gives them the opportunity to analyze their own actions and identify how they can improve. They can also mimic the behaviors they see in the online training demo in real world settings. Watching incorrect behaviors, on the other hand, allows them to spot actions that seem familiar. For example, the avatar salesperson fails to offer an add-on product during checkout. The corporate learner can think back to a time when they rang up a sale and realize that they made the same mistake.
A note of caution: Try to avoid over-the-top examples that exaggerate certain behaviors. Simply incorporate subtle differences that set them apart. For instance, including a few common errors in your unfavorable example.
4. Make it story-centric
Hands-on online training demos have to be relatable. Employees must be able to see how they are going to use the information outside of the online training environment. One of the most effective ways to achieve this is by making your online training demo story-centric. Include memorable characters and realistic scenarios that foster a meaningful connection with your audience. With that said, it’s also wise to keep backstories short and sweet. There is no need to include a 5-paragraph blurb about the character’s favorite hobbies or their employment history. Just give corporate learners enough information to sympathize with the character and their plight. Irrelevant details will only confuse your corporate learners and distract them from the primary learning objectives.
5. Improve retention with virtual simulations
Without a doubt, online training simulations are one of the most effective hands-on online training activities. Training in a physical space with tangible equipment is not an option in online training environments. However, you still need to give your corporate learners the practical experience they need to perform the task after they complete their online training. Simulations make this possible by immersing them in a virtual setting that mimics real world situations. They have the chance to try out the equipment, troubleshoot problems with the software, and interact with customers. Online training simulations also offer eLearning professionals the chance to evaluate corporate learner performance and make recommendations. In addition, you have the power to test their practical task proficiency. For example, questioning corporate learners while they are participating in the online training scenario to see why they are taking a specific approach.
6. Provide timely feedback
After your employees have watched the online training demo and put their knowledge into practice in an online training simulation, immediate feedback is essential. Highlight any errors they need to correct and praise them for their strengths. Provide supplemental online training activities and resources that can get them back on track. You should also consider a spaced eLearning approach by encouraging them to view the online training demo periodically. This refreshes their memory and reinforces the information. Not to mention, reduces cognitive overload. The secret is offering personalized feedback rather than one-size-fits-all statements. Be specific about what they need to work on and how they can move forward. Self-assessments are another great feedback tool, as they give employees the power to gauge their own progress. For example, branching scenarios and serious games help to identify areas for improvement without the need for instructor intervention.
Hands-on online training demos are a cost-effective way to improve knowledge retention and workplace proficiency. They equip employees with the skills and information they need to take on the task. But they can also impart skills and abilities that improve workplace productivity.
Hands-on online training demos can also be an integral part of your product online training strategy. In fact, combining them with serious games has the power to increase retention and make your online training courses fun and engaging.
An article by Christopher Pappas