How to Use Online Training Boot Camps for Rapid Employee Performance Gains
Do you need to administer a healthy dose of performance support and skill development during your next corporate eLearning event? In this article, I’ll share 7 tips for hosting a comprehensive online training boot camp that produces maximum results.
How To Host An Online Training Boot Camp In Your Organization
Online training boot camps are no longer just for the military and fitness trainers. In fact, companies have been using them for years to improve employee performance in a short span of time. An online training boot camp is a live event that features online training activities, online discussions, elearning assessments, and a wide range of other multimedia online training resources. Corporate learners are given the opportunity to interact with remote co-workers and facilitators, which allows them to expand their knowledge and hone their skill sets from anywhere in the world. Here are 7 tips to help you plan and host a successful online training boot camp for your organization.
7 Tips for Hosting an Online Training Boot Camp
1. Conduct Pre-assessments and Surveys.
Before you can offer your employees the skills and information they need, you have to determine what they already know. Conduct pre-assessments, surveys, focus groups, and other evaluation processes so that you can identify performance gaps. Doing so will also help you develop more personalized online training content, as you will have a better understanding of their needs, preferences, and expectations. You should also meet with managers and supervisors beforehand to receive their feedback, such as what skills or tasks they think need to be covered during the online training boot camp.
2. Integrate Group Challenges.
One of the benefits of online training boot camps is that everyone is logged in and ready to participate, even if your online training courses are usually asynchronous and self-guided. As a result, you have the opportunity to integrate collaborative group projects into your itinerary. Give them a challenge or problem they must work together to solve, making sure that they have all of the tools and information they need to overcome obstacles. They can use online video conferencing and project management online platforms to collaborate, which also helps to build communication and teamwork skills.
3. Make it Interactive and Entertaining.
Online training boot camps are typically more condensed than traditional online training courses. As such, you need to create immersive, entertaining and interactive online training content in order to hold your corporate audience’s attention and reduce cognitive overload. Keep in mind that you’ll have to compete with corporate learners stress, distractions and a number of other factors that can deter active participation. However, online training simulations, serious games, and engaging demos will help maintain their focus and allow them to apply the information they have acquired.
4. Stress the Applications and Benefits of Each Online Training Activity.
Employees need to know why they are participating in the online training boot camp, as well as how they can apply what they’ve learned in the real world. If they are fully aware of the benefits and applications of every online training activity, online discussion, and online assessment they are more likely to engage in the process. Before you dive into a new topic or task, identify how the information can be used and in what context. For example, a task that centers on customer service skills can help improve customer satisfaction rates, make them more productive in the workplace, and increase company profits.
5. Host Multiple Online Training Boot Camps.
If you are working with a larger distributed workforce you should consider hosting several boot camps to fit into everyone’s schedule. For example, your staff in Europe is in a different timezone than your US-based employees. Therefore, it not be feasible for everyone to attend the same online training event. Create a detailed outline of all the topics you want to cover to ensure that every online training boot camp attendee receives the same online training experience. Some employees may be unable to attend the live events, but you can still give them the chance to access the recorded session after the fact. Upload the video to YouTube or embed it directly into your online training course, then pair it with supplemental online training activities and materials.
6. Offer Additional Support Resources.
Offer your employees a list of resources that they can use before, during, and after the boot camp to enhance comprehension. There is also the option to host a brief supplemental online training session after each online meeting. For example, you can invite them to stay for an extra half hour to explore the topic at length or to watch a step-by-step walkthrough of a task. This is ideal for employees who might be struggling and need additional assistance, as well as those who excel and would like to expand their knowledge even further.
7. Develop Refresher Online Training Courses.
The downside to online training boot camp is that it is not continuous. It is usually a one-time event even if it is spread out over the course of a few days. Therefore, it does not provide employees with the ongoing performance support that they need. If they are unable to apply what they have learned and practice their skills on a regular basis, they run the risk of forgetting the information altogether. You can prevent this by developing refresher online training courses that they can access periodically, such as every week or month. Make it voluntary so that they don’t feel pressured, which will increase their motivation and encourage them to actively participate. Better still, host a mini-boot camp several times a year to refresh their knowledge and skills.
Make sure to start the planning and preparation process to host an online training boot camp in advance and determine the ideal length of time for your online training event. This greatly depends on the subject matter and your corporate audience. Thus, you will have to carry out some in-depth audience research beforehand, which may come in the form or surveys, focus groups, and interviews. After you’ve mapped out the details, use these 7 tips to host the best possible online training boot camp!
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Christopher Pappas is founder of The eLearning Industry’s Network. Currently, the eLearning Industry has a network of more than 250,000 professionals involved in the eLearning Industry. He is also the Founder and Owner of the Instructional Design and eLearning Professionals’ Group, which is the largest online community of professionals involved in the eLearning Industry at LinkedIn. You can connect with Christopher on Linkedin and Twitter.