Deliver Online Instructor-Led Training During Social Distancing

In an effort to decrease the spread of COVID-19, many states are encouraging, if not mandating, residents to stay at home, while most others have eliminated any sort of in-person gathering. As a result, organizations have been forced to re-think the delivery of their in-person, instructor-led training courses. Maintaining this training is critical – not only does it create a much-needed revenue stream for many organizations, but it is also how mission-critical education information is delivered to members, employees, and learners.

Going virtual doesn’t have to be a daunting proposition. Omnipress has a quick and simple solution that allows your instructors to record and deliver course content as on-demand videos, while also supplying both print and digital course materials and supplemental resources.

Here’s a quick video by Omnipress Director of Marketing Tracy Grzybowski that explains our online video training platform.

1. Turn an in-person course into a series of pre-recorded videos

Work with your instructors to break up their partial day, full-day or multi-day course into shorter sections, and record these lessons using either our presentation capture and recording software or any other tool of their choosing.

2. Upload videos and accompanying PDF course materials

Your instructors will then upload these videos and any supplemental course materials, such as handouts, worksheets, quizzes and course evaluations to our secure Share File site.

3. Publish this on-demand course to your website, using our online video training platform

Once we have received all instructor videos and course materials, we will publish the on-demand course to your website using a simple line of code that we supply. Participants can then follow along with course content at their convenience.

online video training platform

4. Provide printed materials for enhanced learning

Create a blended approach to learning by supplementing the instructor’s on-demand videos with printed training materials like coursebooks, training manuals, workbooks, and more. We can easily print and distribute these materials—and any other items such as practice exams, handouts, etc.—directly to each participant at their home.

By turning in-person courses into on-demand video lessons, you can make sure the learning continues in this time of extreme uncertainty, while retaining at least some amount of revenue from your courses, and sets you up for greater flexibility in the future.

Mobile Training Programs: Optimizing Educational Content for Mobile Learning

Is your association considering—or currently offering—mobile training programs? Follow these simple steps to optimize your existing educational content for mobile learning.

Why Consider Mobile Training and Learning Programs?

One of the top trends in training and education is the development of mobile training and learning programs to make learning more accessible. Mobile content is not only convenient for the learner, but it can also increase retention and productivity by delivering critical knowledge at the exact moment it’s needed. Also known as “just-in-time training,” organizations are recognizing the benefits of pairing in-depth learning with opportunities for real-time reinforcement and practical application. For this to truly be effective, however, content needs to be optimized so that it can be searched and delivered quickly on a mobile device. The practical applications for just-in-time learning are considerable. For example, think of the technician who is on-site to install or repair a specialized piece of new equipment. Although they were formally trained on the process months ago, the ability to access reinforcement material will help increase accuracy and productivity.  Simply by scanning a QR code on the equipment, or clicking a link to a searchable resource library, that technician can pull up the exact documentation they need to complete the task quickly and accurately.  Within the office environment, just-in-time training resources empower employees to make decisions and handle difficult situations with greater confidence. In a perfect world, this just-in-time content would be developed specifically for mobile training. Short instructional videos or easy-to-follow visual documents tend to be the most user-friendly in these situations. But developing all new content may not be practical for many organizations due to limited financial and personnel resources.  However, it is possible to use the content you already have for a mobile learning program if you take a few simple steps to ensure it can be delivered to the user quickly.

  1. Provide a centralized “home” for your mobile content

Members and employees need to be able to find relevant content easily. Provide cloud-based access to a centralized library where this content is stored, whether that’s within an existing LMS or an online resource library.  Whatever tool or system you choose, make sure the search functionality is powerful and dynamic enough to provide robust search results for the user.

  1. Modify document layout, if possible

While it may not be possible to completely re-create shorter, more visual content, look for opportunities to modify the layout of existing, multi-column documents to a single-column format where possible to reduce or eliminate the need for left-to-right scrolling. While vertical scrolling is common on mobile devices, horizontal scrolling is extremely disruptive to the user, increasing the time it takes to read a document while reducing overall comprehension.

  1. Minimize the file size

Mobile devices, although convenient, are limited when it comes to processing power. The last thing a user needs in a time-critical situation is to attempt to access a PDF file that takes minutes to open or download. If you are developing new content for mobile training and learning, create it with the intention to minimize file size. Limit the number of fonts and use lower resolution photos and graphics. If you are working with an existing document, there are several file optimization tools available in Adobe Acrobat®. The exact steps will depend upon which version of Acrobat you’re running, but some general guidelines include:

  • Use the Reduce File Size command or PDF Optimizer
  • Enable Fast Web View in the File > Preferences dialog box
  • Unembed unnecessary fonts
  • Downsample or compress images
  1. In longer documents, create bookmarks or hyperlinked table of contents

If your educational content takes the form of a longer textbook or training manual, it may be impractical to break it up into separate, shorter documents. But it is possible to make these documents easier to navigate by creating bookmarks in your PDF to create jump destinations that link to other documents or web pages.  If you are housing your educational content in an online resource library, each publication can be broken out into easy-to-navigate, hyperlinked sections and backed with contextual search capabilities so users don’t have to scroll through hundreds of pages to find the answers they need.

Mobile Training Can be Worth the Time it Takes to Optimize Educational Content for Your Learners

Providing quick, easy, and just-in-time access to learning and training materials is going to continue to be a key component of mobile training programs moving forward.  It not only increases retention and success for the learner, it also increases program value by providing practical application of education concepts when they are needed most. Eventually, educational content will need to be designed with this in mind. But if you don’t have the resources nor bandwidth to tackle this today, don’t let that stop you from testing some small pilot programs. It is possible to re-use existing content by taking a few, simple steps to optimize documents for mobile delivery.

CE Professionals: What Are Your Go-To Resources? Take Our Quick Poll

In the past few weeks we’ve heard from several continuing education and training professionals who are looking for more opportunities to hear how other organizations are tackling key issues such as micro-learning, online and mobile content, gamification and blended learning. While there are a variety of resources that provide information, there does not appear to be a centralized source of ideas and networking for those that develop and deliver continuing education and credentialing programs. This piqued our curiosity.  So we’d like to hear from you!

We’ve developed a very quick survey for individuals who develop, manage and implement training, education and credentialing programs for associations and other organizations. We’d like to know where you go to gather ideas and best practices from your peers. The survey will take less than five minutes to complete, and we’ll be sure to share the results.

Take the poll

Applying Micro-Learning Concepts to Your Printed Course Materials

 

In an earlier post, we discussed how micro-learning—or “the delivery of bite-sized content nuggets”— is considered to be the #1 trend for training professionals in 2018. But this doesn’t mean it’s being widely executed. While some organizations are starting to experiment with their offerings, most are still figuring out how to get started.

The discussion of micro-learning is typically centered around online and mobile-based training programs, which, according to recently-compiled data from a series of industry studies, is one of the primary reasons that the implementation of micro-learning programs isn’t as widespread as you would think. Continuing education professionals stated that the time investment required to create online and mobile-friendly content is a major barrier, particularly for those who are already tasked with growing their programs using the same or fewer resources. Meanwhile, according to the same series of studies, nearly three-fourths of participants provide printed training materials. If there is a clear, strategic benefit for your organization to create programs that consist of smaller learning segments, it may be possible to pilot a program by re-thinking how you present your print-based content.

Historically, course books and training manuals have been designed to support long-form learning, organizing content into longer chapters that both introduce complex concepts and dive into all of the supporting details.  Recently, however, some organizations have started looking at ways to redesign existing content in order to serve up the same information smaller pieces that can be consumed and referenced much more quickly. Here are just a few ideas to consider:

From One to Many

Take a large, single course book and break it out into a branded series of separate pieces that are each more singularly focused.  In doing this, you may have room to play with the format and add notetaking pages or other self-reflection and application exercises to make the content more personally relevant.

Keep Sections Short

If you determine that offering a single course book is the best way to deliver your program, consider reducing the length of your chapters and sections, providing more frequent breaks in the material so readers have a logical place to pause and digest.

Turn Text into Graphics

If you are outlining list-based information, try substituting pages of text with a simple-to-follow infographic to help increase retention.

Provide Easy Access to Supplemental Digital Material

Most of us are never more than an arm’s length from our phones or other mobile devices at all times. Rather than presenting all of the necessary information in your printed piece, consider using print as a means to give a more concise overview or introduction of a topic, with directions throughout the piece to supplemental online materials from your organization or your industry’s thought-leaders, including videos, podcasts and virtual renderings that can be accessed while the learner is reading.

If you are looking to incorporate micro-learning practices into your existing continuing education programs but don’t feel you have the time or resources to develop online and mobile-friendly content, consider starting with your printed materials. This not only gives you an opportunity to take a fresh look at existing content, but is also a lower-cost way to test-pilot micro-learning techniques before making a larger investment in new, digital materials.

Embracing New Learning Trends: Are Associations Lagging Behind Corporations? Not Really.

 

In any organization, there are moments where leaders and team members stop and wonder how theirs compares to others in their industry. Are we really as far behind as we think? Are our challenges really that unique? How have others responded?  Most of the time, it turns out you’re not as far behind as you think, your challenges aren’t unique, and others are looking to you and asking the same questions. For associations, a question that may come up often is, “Are we implementing new training and learning trends for our members?”

All that being said, it can also be extremely beneficial to look outside your own industry to get an even better sense of what’s actually happening in a larger landscape and use that as your benchmark. For associations, this may mean looking outside your direct industry, or even taking a cue from the corporate world.

We recently had the benefit of sitting in on a webinar sponsored by Training Magazine and presented by Dr. Allen Partridge, Senior eLearning Evangelist with Adobe. In his session, Trends in Training and Learning Management, he reviewed a compilation of data from several different surveys of corporate continuing education professionals to identify learning trends and compare them to what these professionals are actually doing in practice. The webinar focused on concepts that are also prevalent topics of conversations within associations as well, including the rise of mobile learning, gamification, video, micro-learning, and learner engagement.

It turns out, while new ways to deliver learning are topics of frequent discussion, in practice, corporations aren’t any further along than associations. And, many of the tried-and-true methods of course delivery are still just as popular today. Here are four of the learning trends highlighted in the webinar.

Instructor-Led Training & Printed Course Materials

Despite the rise of virtual learning options, one survey revealed that 4 out of 5 respondents deliver training through in-person presentations—a trend that has remained consistent over the past the past ten years. The reason: when learning is a conversation, engagement and retention are higher. Additionally, nearly three quarters of survey takers said they use print materials to deliver their training, whereas only ten percent offer mobile and tablet-based materials.

Mobile Content

Speaking of mobile-based materials, although only ten percent currently offer mobile and tablet-based materials, there is an overwhelming sentiment that mobile-based learning is something most respondents acknowledged they need to do. Device versatility, ease of access to content and just-in-time reference to content were all noted as important criteria to have in place to encourage greater usage of digital training programs. But the time investment required to create mobile-friendly content was a major barrier. Many organizations are starting by creating only a fraction of content for mobile—particularly their newer content.

Microlearning

Based on the research, microlearning is considered to be the number one learning trends for training professionals in 2018. While implementation of this training strategy is growing, the buzz is still greater than reality. This is primarily due to the fact that there isn’t a clear and uniform definition of what microlearning means, and therefore, how it should best be executed. Some consider it to be “informal learning,” others “mobile learning” or even “short learning.” Each of these definitions serves a unique purpose and warrants its own strategy.

Gamification

While gamification is a major topic of discussion, corporate training professionals haven’t fully embraced this learning trend yet.  72% of respondents surveyed don’t use gamification in their learning programs, and only 14% feel very confident that gamification increases employee engagement in training. Some of the reluctance stems from the perceived cost of implementing it, coupled with the doubt that it actually drives behaviors that are sustainable for the long-term.

If your association has not fully embraced some of the top trends in training strategies and learning engagement, not to fear. Your corporate counterparts haven’t either. But they are starting to think about how to take small, deliberate steps toward implementation so they are ready to engage future learners—something every organization should be thinking about.

Personalizing Training Leads to Better Results

 

My favorite topics for these blog posts are the ones that stem from conversations with organizations on the front lines of training adults. Recently, I was speaking with Todd Macey from Vital Learning, a company with a long history of training leaders and management of Fortune 500 companies. As we were talking, I realized his insights into the personalization of learning could be helpful for all organizations that provide training.

Personalizing Training

Todd pointed out that companies are moving away from offering a large online-only library of courses. This self-study approach has been a popular way for companies to facilitate cost-effective training over the past few years, but not necessarily meeting their learning objectives: “Companies are rethinking that approach of giving access to a bunch of courses and letting participants go their own route. That type of solution is not providing the results they are looking for and it’s not robust enough.”

Instead, Todd sees a shift towards a hybrid learning style approach that combines online course content with an element of instructor-led training, either online or in-person: “More and more companies are emphasizing that blended approach. They get the efficiency and ‘just in time benefits’ of an online experience, but couple that with a robust learning plan, one-on-one coaching, skill practice with others on their team and follow up exercises.”

Adding a Local Element to Training

Companies are also adding an additional layer of personalization to their training by finding ways to use local resources when possible. Organizations are turning to local facilitators, local universities and community colleges to enhance the learning process. The extra level of local control allows content to be tailored to the area, rather than taking a national, one-size-fits-all approach. Todd added, “A big reason people are starting to prefer local is that people like to have a more personalized experience. I think part of it too is that companies want to be personalized to their company and the individual learner.”

To Todd and the team at Vital Learning, it all comes down to results. “Online courses can be good if you are looking to improve a specific task. This approach does not work as well with soft skills or more complicated skills where you need more interactivity and practice.” Todd thinks adding elements that personalize the learning creates an environment that helps the skills, “become second nature and really sink in to become part of your process and use them on the job.”

Thank you, Todd, for sharing your perspective!

Training in the Year of the Rooster

It is now 2017, and with it comes new challenges and opportunities on the training and development front. New budgets, new titles, and new publications, yet, still only twenty-four hours in a day. So how do you plan on staying on top of it? You can do it by planning for 2018. Wait, did you hear that right? Yes, you did!

This year is known as the Year of the Rooster according to Chinese astrologers, and we all know roosters are known for waking the world up with their early morning crow. That means you should act like a rooster and start early. Obviously, I’m not suggesting that you completely ignore planning for 2017. What you need to do is to plan your 2017 efforts while keeping your 2018 goals in mind. So as you plan for 2017, act like a rooster and start your 2018 early.

All your initiatives in 2017 should have a purpose and measurable goals that you can either reach or build on in 2018, as well.

Here are three examples of how you can “act like a rooster in 2017”:

  • Are you planning on moving a majority of your training materials to digital by 2018? Start planning for the migration by preparing your 2017 materials for digital purposes. This will give you an idea of how many resources and how much time it takes to complete this so you can plan for it in 2018.
  • Is one of your goals to move to a print on-demand model to save on overhead costs? Make it a goal of yours in 2017 to start measuring which titles would be the best fit for this type of model so you can move to a full-scale print-on-demand system in 2018.
  • Are you going to expand the courses you offer in 2017? That’s great! Keep in mind that this will affect your budget and resources in 2018, meaning you may need to hire a new vendor in order to be able to handle the materials and be as cost-effective as possible.

So as you are planning for 2017, remember to start 2018 early and be 100% prepared. Go ahead, act like a rooster!

5 Ways to Use Digital Content to Market Your Training Programs

Training professionals are always looking for fresh ways to promote their training programs. Using direct mail, email marketing, and social media can help market a new course or draw new students to your existing programs.

Have you considered using online training materials to drum up interest in your continuing education courses? Some ideas to get you started:

  1. Share the course syllabus. Some potential class participants will be motivated to sign up after viewing an overview of the material to be covered.
  2. Offer a free chapter of the course book. Give learners a taste of the content the course will cover to entice them to register.
  3. Post a practice exam. Want to take this tactic to the next level? Show what students can expect to learn by the course’s completion.
  4. Increase your online presence. When you make training materials available online, they are indexed by search engines, which makes it easier for people to find your organization when they search for professional development opportunities.
  5. Cross-promote other training programs. When learners access training materials online, you can use other areas of the website—banner ads, sidebars, pop-ups—to advertise similar courses they might be interested in.

Can you think of other ideas to market your program using online training materials? Leave us a comment!

Protection for Your Training Materials, Convenience for Learners

You know your learners want to be able to access your association’s training materials online. If it will help them more actively engage in the courses, and improve retention, you’re all for it … in theory.

In practice, though, you have some reservations. You wonder if putting your content online will make it vulnerable to unauthorized use. Are your training materials safe online? Will classmates share resources and diminish the value of the materials by making them available—to each other and, even more upsetting, to non-members—for free?

Another valid reservation might come to mind: Making your association’s training materials available online sounds like a lot of work.

Never fear! Omnipress can help you with both of these issues, removing the barriers from providing your learners the online access they crave.

To discourage unauthorized sharing, copying and printing by non-members or non-participants in the class, we offer two levels of protection:

Watermarking adds a digital “stamp” to your online resources when the file is downloaded, including date, time and username. The file clearly belongs to the user who accessed it. That user is less likely to share the training materials, lest it appear that they have given away something that was so obviously meant for them and them alone. In this case, peer pressure works!

Digital rights management (DRM) is an additional layer of protection that’s seen as more stringent—but also more disruptive—than watermarking. If a single user wants to access the same materials on two devices (say, an office computer and a tablet), DRM can cause usability problems that aren’t normally seen with watermarking. If that extra padlock makes you feel more comfortable making your association’s materials available online, though, it may be worth it to meet the demands of your learners.

As for the second reservation—that putting your training materials online sounds like a lot of work—we have good news. It doesn’t have to be! When you work with Omnipress for both print and online, we can streamline the process of setting up your digital publishing platform. You’ll work with a dedicated project manager who will help you through the process. They will know your association and its unique needs, making it that much simpler to provide your valuable training materials in both formats so members can choose how to consume the content.

Learners get access to training materials on the go, you get a better experience managing training content and instructors get participants who come to class ready to engage. When you offer your CE training content online, everyone wins!

Contact us to take the next step toward offering your training content online. You’ll see how easy it is to work with one vendor for print and online materials and give your digital content an additional layer of protection.

The Anatomy of Association Training

The human body is made of many interdependent systems that work together to help you get through your day. Likewise, many components go into providing continuing education materials for your association’s training courses.

Here is the anatomy of association training materials:

  • Printed training materials are like the cardiovascular system—they are the lifeblood of your training program. Course books, learning guides and exams are at the heart of helping members learn and retain information presented in your classes. Many studies support the idea that reading printed materials is a better match for deep, intensive reading of important information.
  • Formatting and design are part of the process and can be represented by the respiratory system. Good design and sleek formatting breathe life into content, making it easier to read with a proper flow and clean appearance. Branding is consistent when colors, logos and other elements are handled by the same organization that puts your materials on press.
  • Online training materials are akin to the nervous system. Do your learners have a trigger finger, ready to tap on a smartphone or a computer mouse to receive your training content? If so, the content should be available there, where they spend so much of their time already.
  • Physical digital media (CDs, DVDs, and USBs) are the digestive system. Learners can take home a USB, plug it in and read content on a screen without having to connect to the internet. This gives them an opportunity to really “take in” the information you presented in class, on their own time, on their own device.
  • Order fulfillment is best represented by the muscular system, and not just because it takes strength to move boxes of course books from our warehouse to your course site. Bringing your printed materials to your learners takes strength of a different kind, too—robust order systems that can handle the kind of customization each and every association deserves. Smaller muscle groups do important work, too, like kitting services, to make life easier for your instructors.
  • Inventory management is the skeletal system. Imagine rows and rows of metal shelving, where printed training materials are managed, and you’ll understand why a skeleton is the image behind inventory. Managing your inventory in your office, while it becomes overrun with boxes stacked in every corner of floor space available, is a drag. When you trust a printing partner with the task, you’ll lose the hassle without giving up control. With reports available to you 24/7, you’ll know the score.

Association training is a complex series of systems that, together, help your training program run smoothly and efficiently, just like the human body does. If the systems that help you deliver continuing education training content have been less than healthy lately, reach out to Omnipress for a consultation. We’ll have you back in tip-top shape in no time!

Why You Should Use a Single-Source Solution for Your Corporate Training Program

When it comes to your corporate training program, it helps to work with a content provider that can meet many of your delivery needs. The fewer places you have to turn for help, the easier your day. Communication is streamlined, project management is improved, and your to-do list is shortened.

Omnipress offers more of the services you may need to deliver corporate training materials to learners, including print, CDs/USBs, design and formatting services, online training materials, custom kitting, and inventory management.

Print services: With 37 years of experience, Omnipress knows print. Whatever your organization needs to be successful, we can get it done. Our experienced project managers and tenured production staff (with an average of 20 years with the company!) can help bring your ideas to fruition.

Design and formatting services: Need help bringing your content to the printed page? Omnipress design and formatting services to the rescue! Count on our design team to take your quality content up a notch. Good design and formatting makes your content easier to read and highlights important points.

CDs/USBs: Physical digital media has been in on the presses wheelhouse for many years: since 1995 for CDs and 2008 for USBs. These products bridge the gap between printed materials and online resources, giving learners a method to access content digitally, even if internet connectivity is not available.

Online training materials: Learners appreciate the opportunity to connect with your content online. Some students wish to read ahead and come to class prepared to engage in a discussion, even if course books are not available until instructor-led training begins. Other content works better online, including videos and other interactive materials.

Custom kitting: Let Omnipress take care of preparing kits for each training your organization conducts. Streamline instructor preparation by having, for example, 25 course books, 30 highlighters, 25 learning guides, one instructor manual, and 25 certificates shipped as a complete package to the site of your learning event.

Fulfillment: Omnipress can integrate its order processing system with your online store or course registration system, making it simple to connect a learner with the correct course materials.

Inventory management: Keep track of how many books you have on hand by trusting Omnipress to handle inventory management on your behalf. You’ll have 24/7 access to reports online, as well as the ability to create custom reports to meet your specific needs.

The more you work with Omnipress for your corporate training content delivery, the more we can learn about your organization and how to create a process and customize outputs to aid learner retention.

What’s more, your job becomes easier because you don’t have to reach out to multiple vendors to complete a project. This frees up staff time for mission-critical work, which in turn can lead to the expansion of your training programs. Just think how much more effective your program can be if you choose a single-source provider!

Reach out to Omnipress today to learn more about how our services can streamline your content delivery process!

How to Improve Your Process for Corporate Training Materials in One Easy Step

Many steps are required to take your training materials from a Word document on your computer to a finished course book, ready for learners to read. After they are formatted, designed, and printed, the books need to be shipped, either to individual students or to the class location.

You need to keep track of those books and order more when needed, so inventory management is also on your to-do list. Do you offer online access to training content? Then there’s even more to do. Are learners given a USB drive, too? … You get the idea, and if your head is starting to spin, you’re not alone.

It’s best for learners to offer training materials in multiple formats, and managing the distribution of those materials is important. But if you have tried to take care of all of these steps on your own, you should know that there is a better way.

There are many companies that can help you with the individual components of training content delivery. You can call on a graphic designer to do the formatting and design, a printer to handle production of the course books, a warehouse for fulfillment and inventory management, a webmaster for online access, and a … fifth vendor for USBs or DVDs.

If you take this approach, your list of tasks to do will be shorter, but you might spend all of the time you saved, just getting all of your vendors on the same page. You’ve moved the work off of your plate, but it’s been replaced by endless communication steps to coordinate the process you outsourced. In the end, “improving your process” has solved nothing!

What you really need is a one-stop shop for your training content delivery. One source to get it all done—formatting, design, printing, fulfillment, inventory management, online training content, and physical digital media (USBs, CDs, and DVDs).

Omnipress to the rescue! A single-source solution for training materials isn’t a pipe dream—it’s a reality, and the only step you need to take to get started is to contact us. To learn more about Omnipress as a provider of training materials for corporations and small publishers, read 7 Reasons Omnipress is the Right Fit for Corporate Training Companies and Anatomy of Corporate Training: Delivering Continuing Education Materials. Want more detail? Try our white paper, Simplifying with an All-in-One Partner: Best Practices for Continuing Education Training Materials.

When you’ve learned more about us, we’d love to get a chance to know you! Leave a comment below, call us at 800-828-0305, email us through our website, contact us through live chat on the website, or find us on social media (LinkedIn, Twitter, or Facebook). We look forward to hearing from you!

Skip to content Top