Many businesses struggle with how best to get a new hire up to speed. Do you treat training as a part of Human Resources paperwork? Do you sit them in an unused cubicle or workstation and have them pore over manuals? Do you tie them to the apron strings of your most experienced employee to shadow for a couple of weeks?
In the age of eLearning and online courses, much more is possible in the realm of workplace training.
Courses can be created on the computer that are both efficient from a cost standpoint and effective in learning outcomes. Both are important when it comes to your company’s bottom line. But you may feel as though you don’t even know where to begin.
In reality, you’re probably closer than you think to creating and implementing a custom training program. With High-Res eLearning and patented course technology from Klixel8, employers can develop training programs that are immersive and rigorous, facilitate self-directed learning, and measure learners’ progress at a granular level.
In a previous article, we provide an overview of what makes for a successful training course. In this article, we will explain how to get started.
Q: Does it take a lot of pre-planning or equipment to get started with High-Res eLearning?
A: No! You’ve likely got almost everything you need already. All you really need to get started is:
The most important aspect of developing a training program, of course, is a clear conception of what you’d like to accomplish with it.
1. Clear Goals
In teaching someone brand new to a subject, “start at the beginning” is good practical advice. Certainly, a course designer hopes to present material in a logical manner, so the learner is not overwhelmed and the lessons make sense.
Yet paradoxically, if you don’t have the end goal in mind for what you hope to accomplish with a course, your first steps might not be as well directed from the start as you need them to be. Moreover, when objectives are unclear, establishing metrics to assess learning progress is also harder.
Start with your desired outcome. What is your goal? Typically, the desired outcome of training employees well is well-trained employees, of course. Perhaps you’d like to increase production on a machine or line. Or maybe you’d like to see safety ratings improve. Maybe you just want to see employees get things done with less managerial oversight. But what is the goal beyond your goal? It’s helpful to look at the task from “35,000 feet” in answering this question because it delineates your strategic vision from your tactics.
The benefits of well-trained employees are many. More capable employees are more independent, meaning less micromanaging and more productivity. Well-trained workers are also more confident, which tends to correlate to a happier and thus more stable workforce – and that means less employee turnover and costs associated with training new hires. Well-trained workers also return dividends in the form of better workplace health and safety, and better-quality products or services.
All of these benefits ultimately translate to a better bottom line. So, in a sense, whatever your specific needs in a training course may be, the fundamental desired outcome of training is a more profitable company. That is your strategic vision.
Start at that end result, and build your training program around clear objectives that address the gap between the goals of your company and the performance of your employees. The tactical objectives that support your strategy – increased productivity, better safety ratings, more independent workers – are all good prospective goals for training courses. They are also highly assessible through benchmarks, testing, and analytics.
Now, let’s go over a few key components to building your first lesson:
2. Training Knowledge
Take a moment to audit your present training resources. If you have employees, then obviously you have some basic procedures and coursework in place to train them. Depending on the type, number, and complexity of different tasks a new hire will be doing, your training period may span a few days to several weeks. You may or may not have an assessment procedure in place – aside from performance reviews once they’re out there doing the work.
When implementing High-Res eLearning, many of the materials you currently utilize can be integrated into the system. There’s no need to start completely from scratch. Instead, we’ll be building modules that incorporate media like manuals, videos, and links within a media-rich learning environment. Perhaps your training materials consist of PDFs, printed materials, or computer course work.
Assemble all of your current materials. Create a special folder or directory in your computer to organize it in one location.
Some of your material may indispensable, but older or a little dated. That’s OK! If you have original printed material not currently in PDF, scan it.
For equipment manuals, many companies now provide digital copies on their websites or by request.
Another potential source of useful training content is YouTube. If you already have in-house training videos – great! If not, take the time to review what is freely available on YouTube. Manufacturers of specialized tools and equipment may have introductory videos of their wares online that answer frequently asked questions. Community colleges and trade schools are also reliable sources for simple video introductions to work topics.
As you compile your materials, keep in mind that your first High-Res eLearning course will be a base to build upon. It doesn’t replace other types of content; it augments what is already on hand and serves as a foundation to build more in a unified way.
Presenting all your materials within a context helps organize disparate information around the “memory anchors” provided by high-quality images in your High-Res eLearning modules. Beyond creating a cohesive environmental menu for your existing materials, the Klixel8 team offers services to help you develop new and better supplemental sources. Contact us to learn more.
3. A Good Camera and Lighting
High-Res eLearning modules are built on a series of extremely high-resolution photographs of workstations, rooms, machines, or any other areas of the workplace that employees need to learn about. These wide-view scenes provide natural context, which helps a learner better retain information about tools and procedures.
Items in the photographs are activated by hotspots that call up supplemental content in the manuals, videos, and links you’ve assembled. These hotspots can be broad regions of the photograph, or consist of an area only a few pixels across to highlight a small tool or button in the scene.
So what is “a good camera”? In general, the higher the megapixel rating of a camera, the better the photo quality. A megapixel is one million pixels. This means that when viewed on a computer or other digital screen, an image with more pixels will allow for deeper zoom before it becomes indistinct (pixelated).
High-Res eLearning courses are built using photographs ideally between 30 and 225 megapixels. To get the most out of your modules, we recommend using a camera with a minimum of 24 MP.
Lighting is one of the most important variables in photography. It can also be the most fickle, depending on the time of day, weather, and the location of your photoshoot. In an indoor location with little “natural” lighting available, good overhead lighting is still important to the sharpness of your photographs. In order to create photos that allow learners to zoom in very closely on small items, deep shadows or low light should be avoided.
In future articles, we’ll discuss more about how to pick the right scenes, and how to photograph them with eLearning best practices in mind.
Once you’ve identified your desired outcomes, come up with a general outline of what your employees need to know, assembled your materials, and you’ve got a good camera, you’re well on your way to creating your first High-Res eLearning course.
The following are a few tips and insights from the Klixel8 team:
Get Camera Ready
On the day you take photographs, prepare your employees by giving them a head’s up. When the situation allows, your employees can be in the frame of photographs. The presence of people in a scene makes it naturally more memorable to the learner, research has shown. It also makes it more relatable and “real world” to a new employee to see their coworkers performing the tasks in which they are being trained.
Klixel8 offers professional photography planning services to assist you, including arranging for a photographer to capture the perfect shots on site, according to your specifications.
Take a Broad View
The scenes you capture should be the fullest views of work areas, rooms, or the shop floor as possible. High-Res eLearning allows for greater contextualization of information, with deep zooming and panning capabilities to promote self-directed learning through independent exploration.
In the next article, we will discuss more about selecting and preparing appropriate scenes for your High-Res eLearning modules.
Activate with Hotspots and Test
High-resolution photography is the foundation for creating an interactive eLearning course with hotspots. As a learner explores a scene, hotspots are activated when they hover over an item or area. These hotspots expand to reveal all the supplemental information you’ve linked, along with challenge questions or descriptions.
Behind the scenes, Klixel8’s backend technology supports powerful analytic tools to help you fully assess the learning process. Scatter plots, heat maps and other visualizations provide instant insights into learner outcomes.
Once you have the fundamentals of your course in place, try it yourself. Click on hotspots, check links, and answer the challenge questions. Familiarize yourself with the analytics by reviewing your own: How long did it take to read through certain supplementary content? What was the run-time to complete the module and examine all the hotspots?
Involve Your Employees
Have your employees do some beta testing for you and offer their feedback. Not only does this give you a better sense of how realistic your expectations are for new hires, it may point to areas of improvement in the knowledge base of your workforce overall.
Most importantly, however, involving employees fosters buy-in and a culture of learning. Employees have unique expertise to offer when it comes to workplace training. They may suggest things that you missed, or come up with a clearer way of explaining a task.
Just as training a new hire is the collective work of your company, developing workplace training is really the product of your entire workforce. Input from your employees on what new hires need to know – and how best to explain it in plain language – is invaluable for course designers.
Connect with Klixel8
Count the developers and eLearning experts at Klixel8 as part of your team. With everything from planning and creative services for supplemental multimedia course materials, to photographic services and technical implementation, we have the expertise to make your High-Res eLearning program a resounding success.
Have questions? Give us a call toll free at (833) KLIXEL8 (833.554.9358).
Want to see a High-Res eLearning module in action? Let us walk you through a live demonstration: https://klixel8.com/#live-demo