If you’re reading this article, chances are, you’ve already thought about implementing an online Academy but felt demotivated to do so when you started to plan for costs and resources. When we think of eLearning, our minds usually default to courses assembled by professionals with experienced presenters recording a deeply thought-out script in a studio; or beautifully animated courses with professional narrators adding the much-needed human touch. These productions are costly and time consuming, which puts them out of reach when budget is a concern.
But what if I told you that you don’t need these high-level productions to start building an engaging and successful eLearning Academy?
Start simple and use what you already have
Consider that a lot of learning content was already developed in your company and is widely available: slide presentations, text documents, and previously recorded live sessions such as webinars and podcasts. This means that you already have a lot of material to work with – it’s just not yet available in an engaging format.
Hosting your training in a company branded online academy trumps over dumping everything in a cloud drive. It’s easier to use and more effective, feels more professional, fosters interactivity, and allows for audience segmentation and detailed reporting, among many other useful features. With a training platform, such as bugle, you have all the above features and more. Bugle also allows you to create courses with both PDF and video chapters, which means that you can literally upload these materials directly on the platform.
It’s certainly an overall upgrade in user experience, efficacy and looks when compared with dumping all your content in a cloud folder, right? And while it is a step in the right direction, next you will learn the steps you can take to climb to the perfect online training experience.
Improve your content and go for engagement
Consider the slide presentations and text documents that you have. Reading hundreds of words when you’re being onboarded or looking for helpful content isn’t the most engaging learning experience in the world. By using a simple free or low cost video creation tool, you can record your screen and narrate these materials, rebuilding them into a digital training experience that kills two birds with one stone.
On one hand you are transforming a boring document into an audio and visual experience – the screencast. On the other, you now have the perfect training material to explain, for example, how a certain software works, since you can narrate the user experience as you navigate through its features.
If the narrator is the expert on the subject of the course, and is familiar (or comfortable) with presenting, you can simply ask him or her to record it. In this case, you can make it easier by working on a script together with the expert and have the narrator read from it. This will allow you to manage the course’s length and content more effectively.
While we’re on the subject of managing your course, there are many advantages if you take some time to plan your course structure before writing the script. Break these presentations into several, smaller videos, to better allow your students to feel like they are progressing; add interactions such as quizzes and challenges between modules to test if they are understanding the course subject, and finish it off with a final assessment that grants a personalized certificate upon completion.
These tips also apply to other video content that you may already have. For example, if you have live sessions such as webinars at hand, break them into several videos (according to the subjects being discussed), and add a few interactions between them to create a full course from a single webinar. Such a small effort goes a long way into making these big learning sessions much more digestible.
Go all-in (while staying on budget)
Each of these suggestions costs a fraction of what a fully-fledged production does. This means that it’s possible to go all-in with the materials that you have available to create training content that has a professional feel, without the studio and expensive recording equipment.
Bugle has recently developed an integration with Loom which allows you to screencast for free, giving you the possibility of using your computer’s camera to record your screen while also recording your voice. This works just like a regular screencast, but you also have the added feature that you can appear in a small circle at the corner of the screen. This allows the presenter to be in a much more comfortable environment since it will be no different from a remote presentation or video call, and your audience will be even more engaged as there’s a face to connect with.
Finally, you can place the cherry on top if you’re willing to do a bit of video editing: cut the unnecessary content, add some transitions, and equalize the audio. These are small details that go a long way towards making your videos look and sound more professional.
As you can see, sometimes all you really need to start building an engaging eLearning Academy is content that you already have, a good digital training platform, and a small amount of DIY. Now, more than ever, throughout the world, we are all at ease with video conferencing and screen sharing – at this point they are pretty much a daily ritual.
So, take advantage of this and transform the content that you have available into video courses, using screencast and the features that platforms like bugle have available – your students, and your training results, will be all the better for it.
If you would like to learn more about how to create a great online course, check out bugle academy's free certification course "Creating an effective online course", created by our Digital learning Experiences team.
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