Converting ILT to eLearning: Benefits and Tips

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When I first started as an instructional designer in eLearning, one of the services provided by the team I was on was converting instructor-led training (ILT) to eLearning-based content. ILT is facilitated by an instructor either online or in a classroom, allowing learners to interact with their instructor and discuss the training material. However, often companies have limited employees, an instructor left the company or took on a new role, or the budget isn’t available for travel, which makes turning ILT into eLearning a smart solution.

When my team converted ILT to eLearning, the biggest concern we ended up talking to the subject matter expert (SME) and/or instructor about was how simply placing the PowerPoint files into an authoring tool wasn’t enough. Because eLearning is a new way of expressing information, it’s necessary to capture the same information an instructor would if he or she were teaching the class in person—especially the interactions and questions that students might miss. If you’re an instructional designer, hopefully you have awesome instructors who’ve provided you with enough information to capture everything necessary in the eLearning course you’re creating. However, that’s not always the case. For my team, in some cases it was almost like we started with next to nothing and ended up having to spend a substantial amount of time collecting information—but the results were worth it.

Benefits of Converting ILT to eLearning

The benefits of converting a course include the ability to share content quicker and even help out with just-in-time situations. Converting ILT to eLearning also makes training available to a wider audience. eLearning tends to be more budget-friendly since the cost incurred to create the course is often far less than having an instructor teach the course multiple times throughout the year, especially if travel is involved. eLearning also tends to be easier to update. Since the “shell” is already in place, updating eLearning is simply a matter of updating pieces of information or adding in a new slide. With ILTs, however, the instructor has to relearn the content, which adds to the amount of time necessary to present the content effectively. Some studies have shown that eLearning can boost knowledge retention rates compared to those for ILTs. eLearning is also beneficial to those who find social situations in which they could be called upon or singled out stressful since they’re taking the course from the comfort of their computers.

How to Get Started Converting ILT to eLearning

The conversion process typically involves reviewing the ILT content for effectiveness and relevancy (just like any other time you would review content). Then, you’ll look at the interactions that would normally take place inside the classroom (introductions, polls, scenarios) and turn them into eLearning-ready substitutes. To help with the process, you could include a “guide” in your course—an on-screen character who would ask the same questions an instructor might or just help the learner along the course. If you have the former instructor’s presenter notes, you could even give the character a dialogue modeled after what the instructor would normally say when explaining the process being taught. The biggest thing to remember when converting ILT to eLearning is that you’re going from a personal interaction to an informal one, which means it’s best to make sure the content is very visual to keep the learner engaged and interested.

Another alternative is to record an ILT session and include it as a video within an eLearning course wrapper. This way, you still get the effects of a great instructor. Keep in mind that having the learner watch a video for 30 minutes straight won’t provide much interest, so it’s best to chunk up the content or offer activity breaks frequently. You could always break up the video and add it in where appropriate. The main benefit of creating an eLearning course is that content becomes more available. For example, if someone can’t attend training for physical or financial reasons, the virtual version could be offered as an alternative. This becomes extremely helpful when trying to coordinate training that’s required by law and must be done within a certain time frame. However, using videos of the actual instructor presenting content can be hard to update since the instructor will need to be available to reteach the content. Thus, creating an eLearning course with a guide in place of the instructor is your best bet when you’re short on instructors and time.

Converting ILT to eLearning is a smart way to deploy training for companies looking to save resources like time and money. Lectora® authoring tools make it easy to take existing training and turn it into eLearning courses that are easily updated and can be taken anywhere, anytime.

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