Online training: "Rich-uals" for riches

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(MoneyWatch) Hiring the right people, and providing them with the right training is (and always has always been) the secret sauce when you goals include:

  • Employees who exceed customer expectations
  • Seamless operations and execution
  • A can-do and profit-focused company culture

Within the last two years online learning and training has dramatically changed the way businesses and universities educate.

A key benefit of the online training model is how cost effective it can be. This opens up a world of opportunities for start-ups and established entrepreneurs.

While online training is not for everyone, if the learner is self-managing and has basic computer skills, the autonomy and flexibility of online learning is unparalleled. Traditional models require that both the trainer and the trainees are available based on the trainer's schedule. With the advent of online learning all parties are free of yesterday's issues; travel, logistics and scheduling are no longer relevant. The trainer provides his or her best presentation and archives that online. Self-paced learning becomes a customized, personalized experience, integrating the information in a way that is both effective and efficient.

Sameer Bhatia is founder and CEO of ProProfs.com. As the leading provider of online training programs, he is a recognized expert in this exploding market. ProProfs provides a comprehensive collection of online tools for trainers, marketers, and educators to quiz, assess and measure the progress of users as they learn the material.

Here are the five ideas he shared to maximize the benefits of an online training program.

1. Focus on the individual
Your training program needs to be designed to allow for the learning styles of the individual. With an online program you are training a person, not the masses. You can provide training solutions that respect and leverage individual learning styles, schedules, geographical and time differences.

2. Testing: The measurement that most matters
It's critical to consider testing separate from the training. How do you know your training is effective? How will you gauge if they are grasping the objectives? When during the training should you quiz them? How often? If your personnel understands the learning objectives, the training goals, and how their progress is measured along the way, the program will be much more impactful. Strategic testing allows you to hold your people accountable for the things you want them to know. (In a future post, we will go into these questions in detail).

3. Feedback on the program
It's also crucial to assess your training program using feedback techniques. Online training programs give you the ability to analyze test results and generate instant, measurable feedback -- which gives you precise insight into how your trainees are doing (and how good the program is!).

4. Keep it fresh - retest You have to retest people to see what stuck and to identify gaps that exist in your orientation and ongoing training programs. When people are first hired, there will inevitably be gaps because there is so much information thrown at them initially. Online training programs give your personnel the ability to revisit material whenever necessary. To paraphrase Samuel L. Johnson, "It's not so much that you have to teach people new things as that you have to continue to teach them what you've already taught them."

5. Consistency and control: The power of online training
With training online, time and geography become irrelevant. An individual can go in and start training at any time regardless of the time of day in their time zone -- from the convenience of their home. Online training can handle large numbers of trainees, and it's extremely cost-effective to control and update. Rapid rates of growth in technology and turnover necessitate an effective system for both training and orientation programs. Instead of your training being haphazard, it can be systematized and standardized.

Gazelle's Growth Institute is a company that also offers exciting online training programs. We will be exploring their offered courses and approach in detail in a follow up post.

If you are training online, please share with our readers what's working and what's not working for you.

  • Rich Russakoff

    Rich Russakoff is co-founder of Bottom Line Up Enterprises. He is an internationally known CEO coach, speaker and writer. His client base is made up of the top tier of entrepreneurial CEOs including several Ernst & Young Award winners and dozens of Inc.500 qualifiers. He is an expert in bank financing for high growth entrepreneurial companies and has co-authored the book, How To Make Banks Compete To Lend You Money.