When organizations make the move to online training, one of the biggest hurdles is building focused and engaging content. There is always the temptation to dump old slides or a video of a past webinar into your new platform, especially when you need to get up and running quickly...but you likely purchased a new platform because what you were doing wasn’t working - so it’s important that the content you create is engaging and rolled out strategically.
Here at WorkRamp, our Instructional Designer, Jen Scopo, guides customers through the process. She helps customers focus their vision, build a program structure, and create actual content. “My main objective is to maximize each organization’s resources,” Scopo says. “I take content creation off their plate while also leveraging my 15 years of training experience and product knowledge of WorkRamp. That lets companies focus on the rollout, the launch and company buy-in without having to worry about building the initial content.”
Figure out the level of support that’s needed
WorkRamp offers two types of services. The first is our customContent Creation Service, which is a more hands-on and ad-hoc approach. “An organization may just give me a topic, such as ‘We need training on effective communications for management,’ and then they tell me what their main objectives are,” says Scopo. “I create everything. I give it to them for review, and I make revisions based on their feedback.”
Our second offering is our Content Advisory Service, where Scopo works with project managers and subject matter experts as more of an advisor. “The team creates their materials and I review them and coach people one-on-one to enhance what they have,” says Scopo. This offering is primarily targeted at teams that have training and instructional design resources but may want help rolling out the program or getting up-to-speed quickly on product functionality.
Most clients fall somewhere in the middle, and Scopo says she usually works on a continuum between these two services.
Hone your vision and begin creating exciting content
Scopo’s first step when working with a client is to ask them to articulate their vision. “With training, you always have to start at the end,” she advises. “What are you trying to achieve? What is your end goal? What do you want your learner to be able to do with this information when they step away from the computer? I build backwards from that.”
Once the customer has clarified their vision and goals, Scopo helps them create engaging content. “My biggest objective when I am creating a training is to keep my audience 100% engaged and focused,” she says. “You have a harder time doing that online because you cannot see the learners, feed off their energy, and give additional resources to the people who are having more trouble digesting it.” To mix it up and keep learners engaged, Scopo helps clients create challenges that mock real-life scenarios, which are important to their organization – for example, for sales she may create 2-way video calls, audio clip recordings, and even voicemail practice. For customer support teams she may create a simulated customer case challenge.
She recently partnered with Jamin Fochtman, Addepar’s Head of Sales Training & Enablement, to launch a blended training program aimed at onboarding a large number of new employees over a short period of time.“I had hosted dozens of in-person training sessions and onboarded new folks to the team in the past, but never in a repeatable, scalable way,” says Fochtman. “I was having a really hard time putting together information in a way that was educational and helpful versus just being more ‘written content.’ Jen helped me not only create content but also showed me example after example of ways to do quizzes, flashcards and tips, as well as combining visuals with a mix of both video and audio, to teach our teams new things.”
For best outcomes, take your time
Scopo is a big believer in a staggered rollout approach. When working with customers who need to deliver a lot of content, she likes to build and deliver a few modules, get feedback and incorporate the edits before building out the rest. That way, everyone is aligned, there is a constant feedback loop and the client feels invested in the deliverables.
Scopo also advises clients to roll out content to managers first, in order to get their feedback and buy-in. WorkRamp did this successfully with three clients recently, including Addepar, Disney and TripActions. “The idea is to bring the managers in and get them excited about the training, which can help drive adoption. This also gives them time to learn the platform so that they can answer questions once their team is onboarded – ensuring an efficient and smooth rollout.”
Most of all, Scopo advises customers to take their time when creating content. “If your short term goal is to just roll this out and say, ‘I checked the box. I did this project,’ then cool, roll it out,” says Scopo. “But if you are rolling out content to actually improve performance and get buy-in, you need to take that extra time to figure out the best way to do it. My mentality has always been, ‘You have not had the content until this point. What is the big deal if you do not have it for another three or four weeks?’ It’s better to put a little forethought into it to build the most successful outcome.”