Converting ILT to eLearning for the First Time? Six Great Resources to Help You Get Started

Illustration of a woman's finger pushing a Start button.
June 2, 2020
12 minutes
Illustration of a woman's finger pushing a Start button.

We’ve heard from a lot of training teams forced to suddenly switch gears and convert instructor-led training (ILT) to elearning to help navigate the new geography of working from home.

There are a lot of technology options available for this, from authoring tools to Learning Management Systems (LMS) to online-meeting services and more.

What we’ve heard, though, is that the biggest challenge isn’t picking tools.

The biggest challenge is understanding how instructional design practices need to change to take best advantage of the tools that get chosen. Oh, and having to do that in a very short time frame, to be able to start converting ILT to elearning immediately.

We’ve always worked to make sure good instructional design practices drive how we develop features for dominKnow | ONE. And we try to put that into larger practice for our industry as well, from leading sessions at conferences to blog posts to our dominKnow community site and, of course, our weekly video-cast Instructional Designers in Offices Drinking Coffee (or IDIODC for short).

So here are six resources that can help as you start converting ILT into eLearning for the first time.

Lessons From an Elearning Novice

I know, we usually look to experts for advice or to be our mentors.

But last fall on IDIODC Brent and I had a really interesting conversation with Mike Simmons about his experiences converting instructor-led training into eLearning. He had never made elearning before, and we talked about the lessons he learned from his first efforts.  

The session was titled, not surprisingly, 5 Lessons Instructional Designers Can Learn from a Beginner. Mike’s a very engaging guy and he has a great way of capturing what he experienced and how he handled the unexpected things that came up. The session runs about 45 minutes.

You can find the video recording here in our dominKnow Community site or check out the full session here where it includes all of the great conversation in the chat (just click on the green Watch Replay button on that page).

Or, you can find it as an audio podcast in the Apple, Google and Spotify podcast lists.

Everything Starts With Analysis

Construction projects don’t start with a blueprint. And elearning doesn’t start with a storyboard or script.

It starts with analysis – the critical step needed to understand the problem as well as the contextual factors that surround it.

Joe Ganci has put together a great outline of the critical stage of analysis here. Joe is well-known in elearning circles by his nickname “eLearning Joe”, and he’s a frequent session presenter at conferences. In 2013 he was honored as a GuildMaster by the eLearning Guild for his contributions to our industry.

Even if you have a good background in analysis for instructor-led training, this article is a great addition to that knowledge and provides a lot of great tips for elearning analysis specifically. It’s even handy as a checklist as you start to convert your ILT to elearning.

Making It More Than Just Information Presentation

As you move from analysis into designing your new eLearning course, it’s critical to make sure you’re making the best possible learning experience.

The goal is to make sure the information you need to cover has the best chance of actually “sticking” for the learner. Your job as you convert instructor-led training to elearning is to make sure learners move their new knowledge from short-term memory into long-term memory and to help them create new skills and habits to apply to their work.

This doesn’t mean you need to add bells and whistles to your course. It means you need to employ effective engagement strategies in your course design to help create an immersive learning experience.

We recently posted this article Six Highly Effective Strategies to Create Immersive eLearning here in our blog – it’s a great set of tips to get you started on this path. And you don’t need to be an advanced authoring expert in your tool of choice to be able to take advantage of these techniques!

Need to Convert ILT to Elearning? Sign up for a free dominKnow ONE trial.

Why Not Start With What You Already Have?

Not everything you’ve already done has to be abandoned as you start to convert ILT into eLearning.

You’ve already prepared classroom content, including supporting slide decks.

Instead of just converting those slides into elearning pages, try recording your trainer in action with those slides and use the video in your course.

There’s a lot of engagement value in the human voice and the human face, and even a basic “talking head” video is something your learners will connect to. And if your trainer has a bit of personality, that adds to the engagement level.  

The recording doesn’t have to be done in a full-time studio. It could be a smart phone set up in an office. Or even a recording from an online meeting tool.

We recently posted some tips for taking this approach in this article, A video-based elearning jump-start: recording instructor-led training.

It’s a very practical way to get started converting ILT to elearning.

How Do You Manage This If You’re a Team of One?

In a lot of organizations, training isn’t a team effort, it’s a solo endeavor.

In a larger team, everyone can have different areas of expertise. But if you’re a team of one, converting ILT to elearningmeans you’re probably going to have to learn a whole new range of skills. Learning is fun – as long as it’s manageable.

Emily Wood has created a great book to help with this, E-learning Department of One.

Emily speaks from her own experience in the book, and offers great advice on everything from storyboarding to pilot testing your new course, all on a limited time and resource budget.

We had Emily as our guest on IDIODC to talk about some of the highlights of the book. Here’s the video recording on the dominKnow Community site.

How Long Is This Going To Take, Anyway?

One question everyone has as they start converting ILT into elearning is how long it will take to get that course in the hands of your learners.

And if you aren’t asking that question, your management team most definitely is!

You probably have good data for estimating development time for your ILT projects, but the world of elearning has so many new project aspects that your existing data can only be extrapolated so far.

And of course, this is also a question that almost always has to be answered, “It depends.”

It most often depends on how complicated the course will be, particularly from an interactivity basis.

But there are a lot of other factors that affect development time, too.

Do you have to get audio recorded by an outside narrator? There’s the wait time for that to be turned around. Do you have multiple people needing to provide reviews and feedback? Those, too, will affect your delivery schedule.

We spoke with Christy Tucker about The Cost of eLearning Development Based on Learner Seat Time - What the Research Says on IDIODC not long ago.

Christy has created and led elearning projects both as an internal training team member and as an outside consultant. She shared tips for not just estimating time and effort but also managing stakeholder expectations around the development time and process.

Take a look at the recording – and be prepared to take notes!

And What If You Need A Tool To Help Convert ILT to Elearning?

Well, of course dominKnow can help with that, too.

dominKnow | ONE can help you get started simply, including uploading a slide deck and converting it into pages for your first elearning course.

And it has an authoring tool set that will help you as you grow in your skills and designs – there’s really no limit to what you can create once you get started.

If your team is now working from home, dominKnow | ONE is web-based and has a set of great features to help authors collaborate on content together and stakeholders to provide feedback from anywhere. And those features will still be a great help once your team gets back to office life.

Give dominKnow | ONE a test drive by signing up for a free trial and start converting your ILT into elearning today.

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