From the classroom to the library, learning centers aren’t a new concept. These days, however, learning centers can also be found online. As 94% of employees admit they would stay with an employer longer if they invested in their learning, it makes sense that employers look to step up the standards of their workplace training.

By moving your company’s employee training and development programs online, you can provide a higher quality and more standardized training experience for present and future employees.  Whether you need to provide training to employees, customers, or company partners, making learning resources available online will be a more efficient and cost-effective solution for your business.

Benefits of building an online learning and development system

When compared to traditional learning methods, there are numerous benefits to developing an online learning system for your organization.

One of the key advantages of online learning is that your employees will be able to access the training material anywhere, anytime as long as they have an internet connection. By removing the need to attend a physical location for training courses, you can also reduce business costs by no longer needing to pay for a training venue and other associated costs with classroom-based learning such as travel, catering or printed resources.

Digital learning can also allow employees to learn at their own pace. This self-paced style of learning can positively impact employee performance and productivity by enabling them to effectively balance their workload with their career development.

Providing employees with e-learning opportunities leads to an increased level of job satisfaction. As a result, companies who provide digital learning have a reduced employee turnover rate compared to organizations who do not offer e-learning solutions for their employees.

Moreover, digitizing your employee training resources will ensure all employees have a unified and standardized training experience. This standardized approach will allow employees to have access to the same development opportunities whilst also ensuring that all training provided by your organization is carried out to high standards.

How to build an online learning system for your company:

Moving your employee, customer or partner training online provides you with the opportunity to refresh and optimize your existing training resources and structure. However, digitizing your learning system isn’t as easy as uploading documents to the internet in one swift click. Before you get started, you’ll need a framework for how to effectively build an online learning system for your company.

To help you take your employee, customer or partner training online system, we have outlined 5 key steps to creating an online learning system for your company:

1) Establish learner personas for your online learning system

Before you start building your online training system, you need to understand who will be using the training platform – will it be your employees, your customers or company partners? By defining your learner personas, you will be able to develop a clear understanding of who will use your learning platform, what features they may need, the challenges they may have with e-learning and how to measure the effectiveness of your online training once it’s in use.

A learner persona is a fictional profile of someone that represents your learners. Therefore, your learner persona should include characteristics such as their training goals, job responsibilities, educational background or skill level. If you are setting up a company-wide training platform, you may find you have various learner personas based on your different company departments or employee skill-level. For instance, within your marketing department you may want to have one learner persona that represents junior employees and another learner persona that represents senior, more-experienced members within your marketing team.

2) Plan your learning system content

Once you have determined the users of your online learning system, along with understanding any goals they have or challenges they might face, it’s time to plan the content for your digital training system.

You may want to include a variety of content formats to account for the different learning styles. For example, including some video-based content on your digital training system may prove to be more successful with visual learners. Video learning could also result in increased learner attention and performance.

Start small when planning your content. Choose a subtopic within your employee training program and then create an online course based on that subtopic. For example, you may want to create a Health and Safety learning course for all of your employees. You could create a 30-60 minute course that teaches employees the correct health and safety procedure using a variety of case studies, educational videos, multiple-choice questions with a final test at the end to measure their performance and knowledge of this topic.

The subtopics you create could also feed into a larger learning program, allowing employees to develop their professional knowledge and to progress in their career. You could create a series of training courses based on Sales, with the aim of taking your Sales team members from a junior to a senior level.

3) Build your learning system features

Now that you’ve got a content plan for your online employee learning system, you need to build the platform.

Thankfully, if you’re looking to build an online learning platform, you don’t always have to start from scratch. There’s an array of existing platforms that you can use to host your digital employee learning system. With varying costs and features, you will have to compare each platform to your content plan to determine which platform is most suitable for your company. Alternatively, you could look at building a custom platform that will be designed to suit your exact needs.

When building your learning system, consider the different content types you need. To help your employees get the most out of your company development system, you will likely want to provide them with a variety of courses, exams and reports so that they can test their skills and measure their progression. Consider having personalized features within the individual user area. Having features such as messages, grades and rewards allows learners to better understand their development and could further encourage them to continue with their career development.

4) Planning your distribution strategy

When launching a new product or service, a well thought-out distribution strategy is important for a successful launch. Therefore, to ensure your online learning platform is successful, it’s worthwhile devising a distribution strategy.

When it comes to announcing your new digital learning platform, personalize your marketing to suit each of your learners. If your employees all work in the same location, you could host a meeting for each department to let employees know about the employee learning platform and how it will benefit them. Similarly, if you have an internal newsletter or intranet for your employees, this would also be a great way to communicate your new platform to employees.

If you have made the digital learning platform so that it’s publically available for customers or company partners, you could market your learning system through social media, blog posts, press releases or paid advertising.

5) Measure the effectiveness of your e-learning system

The work isn’t done once you’ve launched your employee e-learning system. After launch, you should monitor and measure the effectiveness of your employee training platform. By looking at metrics such as site visitors, frequency of visits and course completion reports, you can determine the effectiveness of your online learning system.

You can also ask employees for feedback to gain a deeper understanding of which features they do (or do not) like and potential improvements that could be made. Using reports will also allow you to monitor uptake and performance to determine if any changes are needed.

By continually reviewing and refining your company’s online learning platform, you can make sure you are providing your employees with the best possible learning and development experience.

About the Author: Jocelyn Pick