Choosing online training that’s right for your company, business or organisation is a big decision – for a number of reasons.
Not only is it a vital part of complying with legislation, but training can also dictate how your employees operate safely, and can even play a role in defining your organisation’s identity and reputation.
Choosing the right options for your training needs is essential. But with so much on the line (and so many options on the market) it can be difficult to know exactly where to start with finding training that’s right for you.
To help you get started, let’s dive into our guide of the key things you should consider to ensure you make the right decision about your training options.
What training do you need?
This might seem like an obvious point, but developing a well-rounded understanding of your training needs is often the first hurdle that organisations struggle with.
Conducting a training needs analysis (TNA) then, is an invaluable way to kick off your research process. It can help inform your decision-making process, so you can better address knowledge gaps within your organisation among individual employees, specific job categories or groups/teams.
In fact, a training needs analysis has value that extends beyond finding potential training options – it can be used to assess your training performance, so you can find courses that aren’t effectively addressing your organisation’s needs. It’s an effective way to determine what training is really working for you – and what isn’t.
Another way to find out what training you might need is to conduct a risk-based training analysis (RTA). An RTA is a process that identifies training needs based on understanding the tasks performed within a role, the context in which the role is performed and the systems or tools needed to complete them. They’re particularly useful in assessing training that focuses on preventing harm, whether physical (health, safety or wellbeing) or institutional (business protection).
Another effective tactic you can use to develop your training profile is to consult your employees regarding their training needs – in fact, you may be surprised at what you find.
Employees can often provide insight into training that can make their duties easier and more effective, which can have a positive effect on their efficiency and productivity.
Consulting your employees not only allows them to have a say in their workplace, but it can also help guide you in developing your training strategy. Hold meetings with your workers, managers, department heads, and stakeholders or create surveys to figure out what you need to achieve through your online training initiatives.
Gaining an in-depth understanding of your training needs does take some work, but it’s well worth the effort. Arming yourself with the right information can often make your options clearer, so it really pays off to start off strong right out the gate.
Who are you training?
While knowing what training you need is the first hurdle you have to navigate, knowing your audience is definitely the next. How can you put together a strong training programme if you don’t know what your employees need to take on their duties, or further their personal development? Before you even consider buying an online training course, you should put a profile together to really understand your users.
What duties do they perform? What do they need to know to stay compliant? What training would they benefit from? How will they access training? Developing a profile of your learner’s and their needs can help your organisation to choose training effectively. Ultimately, if your training isn’t right for your employees, it isn’t right for your organisation as a whole.
What are your desired learning outcomes?
Once you know what your organisation needs, you should have a clear understanding of what learning outcomes you want from your training. These are defined as:
- What your employees should know.
- What they should be able to do.
- How well they should be able to do it.
Once you’ve considered these topics, and outlined your key aims and outcomes you should concentrate on the training areas that reflect these particular goals. Setting clear results that you want to achieve with your training can significantly impact your options, so it’s important to know exactly what you want to get out of your training and factor that criteria in to your selection process.
How to choose online training that’s right for you – Things you should consider
If you were able to answer the above questions, you’ll have some insights into the kind of training that you’re looking for.
However, your research shouldn’t stop there.
Here are some key things you should consider that can really help you find training that caters to your training needs.
Choosing training that has the right accreditation might influence your decision-making process in a couple of ways.
To begin with, if you’re selecting off the shelf courses for your compliance training, you should check that they’re approved by reputable regulatory and industrial authorities. This ensures that the content, structure, and learning experience of a course is of a high standard, so that your employees are receiving the best training experience you can offer.
Secondly, some organisations might have a preference for specific types of certification. If for example, you are a building contractor, a company or business you are looking to work with might prefer to work with enterprises that request a particular kind of certification. As a result, making sure your training portfolio can address these requirements is important, particularly if it can influence the business decisions of your organisation.
With the rise of the internet and the sheer amount of information that can be found online, the term ‘content is king’ has often been used to suggest that quality content is the key to success. While this may be disputed within different industries, it still holds true for elearning – assessing the content of your prospective course catalogue should be an essential part of your decision-making process.
In fact, you should always explore the content of any training course to assess its quality and to make sure that it’s right for you.
Does the content cover areas of compliance that your organisation needs? Is it relevant to your employees? Does it fulfil the criteria that you’ve set for your learning outcomes? If your potential training can’t answer these questions right off the bat, then keep searching for training that does.
Another thing to consider is if your prospective training is engaging. Compliance training is often considered as a simple box-ticking exercise. In reality, training shouldn’t be a case of going through the motions, but serve as an engaging and informative learning journey for your users.
Studies have shown that training that is engaging, relevant and memorable can significantly improve knowledge retention, reduce the need for further training and help bolster employee performance.
There are many ways that training can achieve this. Tests and quizzes, multiple choice questions, point and click narratives and elements of gamification are all features that can keep users immersed in an engaging learning experience.
To really understand the content of your prospective training, find out if the learning provider offers a free trial or demo. Additionally, course descriptions can outline the structure, content and learning outcomes of a course, so they can often be useful to use as a guideline in the selection process.
While some off the shelf training can meet your compliance training needs, some might not be sufficiently specific or relevant to your compliance training needs.
Being able to customise training courses provides you with the means to adapt content to specific areas of focus within your organisation. Increasing the level of relevance gives your training greater impact.
Adaptive training is also beneficial in terms of uniformity. For example, some organisations have operations that have national and international sites. So having the ability to edit courses ensures that everyone has the right training in their region and that the same effective practices are being delivered, enacted and upheld across your organisation
One of the most effective ways you can ensure training keeps users engaged is through a clear and concise course structure. Structure can be achieved in a number of ways.
A good structure lets users know where they are at every stage of the learning journey. It guides them through the learning process, providing logical and relevant signposting on the subject they’re learning about and at what stage they are at in the process.
Additionally, an effective structure can help create an engaging learning experience characterised by flow. In the field of instructional design, flow theory suggests that learners can become immersed in the learning process. When they reach this stage, information is easier to understand and assess, and the rate of knowledge retention increases.
To achieve this, course modules should follow a methodical and unbroken structure which flows easily from one topic to the next.
This ensures that the course content is covered effectively, and avoids sections from repeating or overlapping in content.
Ultimately, structure should be seen as building blocks to learning – they gradually build towards a complete picture of the overall subject.
Relevance should also be based on whether your training covers specific risks that are found within your workplace.
Is it well written? Does it go into enough detail? How long is it? Does it highlight key principles? Does it engage learners? These are all things that can determine whether the content of the course is able to address your training needs effectively.
The amount of training can also impact its level or relevance. Believe it or not, there is such a thing as too much training. Indeed, information overload is a common pitfall that employers can fall in to.
By trying to provide a comprehensive learning experience, employers can often enrol users on training that may not necessarily apply to them. Not only does this overload users with information that has no bearing on their role, but excessive training can incur additional costs and reduce the efficiency of the overall training process.
As a result, employers should always ensure that the content of their health and safety training is both relevant and proportionate to the needs of their employees.
If the course content you’re investing in isn’t relevant to their needs, and doesn’t specifically engage their competencies, you may be wasting time and resources which could be better utilised on training that benefits your organisation.
A training course may have all the bells and whistles – high production values, realistic scenarios, interactive quizzes – but its effectiveness can suffer if users find it difficult to use. This can happen in a number of ways.
To begin with, the front end and user interface should be intuitively designed and easy to use. If users can’t easily find and go through the training process, it can hinder their overall learning experience.
Secondly, as highlighted above, a clear learning structure can help guide users through the learning journey. Modules designed around a clear structure can also make information easily digestible.
Lastly, your training should be able to meet the needs of everyone within your organisation, including needs that may be specific to the individual. Do they require subtitles or audio descriptions? Does it provide enough time so that people with different reading speeds can complete it? Making sure that your training has usability that benefits your organisation can be a real gamechanger, so explore its features fully to see if it provides the value that you need.
How your users can access training can often become a barrier to effective learning, so it’s important to have a clear understanding of how your users will be able to access and take part in their training. This is where really knowing your users and their needs can really pay off.
For example, does your training require dedicated equipment such as a desktop workstation? And can you provide this equipment to your team?
But what about remote/lone workers? Do they have access to equipment that they can use to take part in online training? If this is the case for your organisation, then looking for training that works on multiple platforms could be the best solution for you. With the rise of mobile devices such as tablets and smartphones, mobile training can be accessed anywhere at any time, which means that users can complete training anywhere, anytime and at their own pace.
Often accessibility can become a question of resources, which can define your training requirements and your ability to deliver them right from the start. As a result, accessibility should factor in your decision-making process.
Management and Reporting
There is so much more to ensuring compliance than just making sure your users have ticked the right boxes. In the workplace of today, it’s not enough to count how many boxes your users have ticked – you need to ensure that your training enables actual compliance.
As a result, training that provides a reporting dashboard can be a real asset to your organisation. They can allow you to analyse your user’s training performance, so you can effectively target areas of improvement. A comprehensive reporting feature can also help identify instances of non-compliance and training gaps that you need to fill.
All in all, finding training that includes a reporting dashboard could be an invaluable investment that can have a positive impact on your organisation’s performance.
Let’s cut to the chase – Price is important, and your budget can often make or break your decision-making process.
So why is it last on this list? Because when you’re looking for training, value is more important. If you find a training organisation that can deliver all of the above features, price should be the last thing on your mind.
What may be a short term financial saving could ultimately come at the cost of losing good quality training, which will end up costing your organisation in the long run, so make sure that price isn’t the only criteria when your organisation is looking for online training.
Buying online training courses can often be an overwhelming undertaking, but it doesn’t have to be. Finding good training that really supports and enhances your employees understanding can turn compliance training from being something to avoid into a real opportunity to enhance performance.
Follow these basic steps and you will find that the time and effort you put into finding training that’s right for you can really make a difference within your organisation.
Looking to train employees in health and safety, personal wellbeing or business protection? Visit our course library to see our extensive online training catalogue.