5 Tips To Standardize Your Online Training Curriculum
Physical books have a certain uniformity. If it’s a novel, chapters probably begin with drop caps. Page headers and footers consistently alternate the book title and author. For textbooks, there’s a pattern of topics, subtopics, font, numbering, and color choices throughout the book. This creates a framework as you read and absorb the knowledge. The predictability helps with recall and can act as a mnemonic. You can apply this same principle by standardizing your online training curriculum, which also allows you to maintain consistency across the board. Employees know exactly what to expect when they log into the training platform instead of being met with fragmented activities and modules. The benefits don’t stop there though. Standardization also helps you cut online training costs and allocate your resources more efficiently. Here are some tips to get you started.
1. Begin With A Board
Specifically, a storyboard. Use it to create a template for every chapter. This “stencil” will have guidelines on headings, subhead, and branding. It will pick the color, style, and font, indicating the format for emphases, call-out boxes, glossaries, and so on. It can be as detailed as explaining how many images each chapter should have. Or whether audio and video clips will appear in alternate modules. Your “course skeleton” will define the learning path. For example, start with an open-ended question, follow with a case study, finish with an infographic. Once this standard design template is in place, you can upload it to your online training platform. That way, you just plug content into the predetermined frame. Templates also reduce development time since you can reuse them time and again, thereby saving you money in the long run.
2. Review Content Resources
This eLearning prototype tells you how to put information together, but not what to put in. Analyze your materials from a learning perspective. You may already know every chapter needs a definition, explanatory narrative, simulation, and quiz. Draft an outline or table of contents to broadly confirm your subject matter. Rearrange the materials you have, first by topic, then by structure. It helps to have them as loose printouts or drag-and-drop digital slides. This makes it easier to shuffle them into the desired order. You can also identify and source any missing content. It’s best to do it at this stage. You don’t want to get to a listed chapter and realize you have nothing to key in. It could cause unprofessional delays.
3. Schedule Regular Updates
The beauty of training prototypes is ease. The template makes your course replicable and uniform. So, when you need to upgrade anything, you don’t have to fiddle with the “bones” of the course. Just cut and paste as needed. This means you should routinely review your content and adjust it to reflect training needs. Remember, the key here is consistency, so when you adjust one chapter or module, tweak the others as well. This familiar restructuring is a training aid. The learner’s mind knows what to format to expect. As this pattern establishes itself in their minds, it charts learning paths as well.
4. Build Your Own Design Kit
Whether you’re a developer that creates commercial courses or an LMS admin in charge of training, prototyping is just one step. The prototype can be used to plug in courses for a different subject matter. The same template can be populated with varied content, effectively curating a library of courses that have the same structure. It’s a useful tool in-house because the structure primes them for learning. The materials may be new, but the course curriculum style is pre-established. Take it a step up and make your own course-building palette. This is the framework for making prototypes and is helpful when you want to change things up. When your standard stencil becomes too familiar to be effective, use your kit to co-opt a new one.
5. Re-evaluate Your Definition Of Standardization
A common misconception about standardizing online training curriculum is that it yields “cookie-cutter” courses. Every employee gets the same experience, regardless of their job title or department. Because everyone has the same personal gaps and goals, right? We all know that this couldn’t be further from the truth. Every employee who walks into your organization has their own unique training requirements. Standardizing your curriculum is a matter of quality assurance. It ensures that your content is consistent and cohesive. It also helps you cut costs by reducing revisions and having a style guide/template in place. However, employees must still have the opportunity to pursue their own paths and address their own areas for improvement. They should know all the essential information that’s part of your curriculum, such as company policy and regulatory compliance issues. But there must also be room to grow at the individual level.
Standardization isn’t always seen as a good thing, but it can be. In the eLearning sphere, you can create consistent training patterns that reflect in your content. It shows trainees what style to expect because it’s repeated in every chapter or module. Start with a storyboard. Move the elements around until you’re comfortable. Once the prototype is built, review and sort your content following the route you’ve set. Your course outline comes at this stage too, helping you to further class your study materials. Because the framework is a constant, you can routinely upgrade content, though you should avoid doing it mid-course. Finally, “build a builder;” a design kit you can utilize to develop new prototypes as needed.
The LMS you use to develop, deploy, and track online training is a major expense. Thus, you need a system that can help you create an online training curriculum and monitor employee performance. Use our online directory to find a platform that features learning paths to cut costs and ensure a consistent online training experience.