The easiest way to turn face-to-face training into an online course

  in  Online Learning

You're a small training provider that wants to begin to put courses online. Where do you start? How should you spend your time and what is the easiest way to turn a face-to-face course into an online course?

Let's begin by just focussing on creating the course content. We want good quality content at a reasonable cost. We'll assume that you don't want to charge for access and you're not interested in tracking learner progress. You just want to create great content that can sit inside or alongside your existing website.

  1. Build the course as part of your existing website. You might need help from your website designer to create new pages, but if you're using a content management system like Wordpress you should be able do it yourself. You can create special branding and some custom graphics, but at the start you should focus most of your effort on organising your course into topics and lessons and creating the content for each lesson.

  2. Get serious about using video. The biggest online learning platform in the world is YouTube. Every day millions of people use YouTube to learn new skills because short instructional videos are easy to produce, very easy to access and they can be replayed over and over again. The breadth of training and learning that is delivered on YouTube is enormous - from language lessons, to home DIY tutorials to university level courses. Is there really any reason why you can't present your training course as a series of short videos?

  3. Break course content into small chunks. Aim for no more than 15 minutes per video. Organise a course into a series of modules - each module then contains several short lessons. Do no more than one video per lesson.

  4. Try slide decks with audio. Tools like Powerpoint and Keynote let you build slide decks with audio narration and then you can export them as video. Again the key thing is getting both the topic focus and the length right. Nobody wants to sit through an 80 slide presentation, but Powerpoint can be the right format if you keep it short (10 minutes max) and it is a good fit with the topic or concept you're trying to explain.

  5. Add online quizzes. A short quiz at the end of each video builds in a bit of interactivity and it's a great way to encourage learners to check their understanding before they move on to the next part of the course.

    Again, you can do this with little or no extra cost. Google Forms is a great way to create an online quiz. You can auto mark, show correct answers and you can embed quizzes built with Google Forms into your own website.

Remember, the tools you need to build good course content are readily available and free. You don't need to buy specialist elearning content authoring tools or invest in a learning management system to create and share great course materials. Get your overall course structure right, organise your content into short 15 minute lessons and focus on creating polished videos.

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