Whether for social media, a lead-generating ebook, or an online training course, content creation is no easy task.
However, the reason you’re likely reading this article is because you’re ready to start creating your own custom online training content for your company. Congrats on making a great decision for both your employees and company culture!
Providing a great training experience is vital to making employees feel well-prepared for their jobs. In turn, adequately trained and happy employees contribute to a strong company culture and brand loyalty.
Taking the initiative to create custom content that speaks directly to your employees’ needs is a praiseworthy endeavor, but we’d be lying if we said it was all sunshine and butterflies. Content creation in any capacity can be tough, and producing online training content that serves your employees is arguably an intimidating feat. After all, there’s a lot on the line: you’ll want to ensure the content is robust enough to offer employees exactly what they need to succeed.
At some point, you’ll likely run into a few hiccups here or there while creating online training content, but by no means should that discourage you from it. Here are some of the most common issues you may face, as well as how to overcome them.
Overcoming Common Challenges of E-Learning Content Creation
Ultimately, canned training content comes in handy when you’re facing significant time or budgetary constraints, or if you don’t have the resources to create your own. Here are some examples of those scenarios:
Challenge: You need to transform otherwise-dull content into an engaging experience.
One of the most common initial questions people face when creating custom training content is, “how can I make sure this content actually engages my audience?” Your content could be rock-solid in terms of subject matter, but if your employees aren’t hooked from the start, their attention will quickly wane.
Creating an engaging training experience will require some creativity on your end. Read up on how to create engaging content before you begin drafting; there are several best practices you can follow to make sure the content engages. Start by making sure the content is visually appealing. Humans are visual creatures, and our eyes are generally more attracted by graphics and images than walls of text.
You may also consider gamifying your content to keep employees engaged, like adding interactive quizzes at the end of each lesson. Gamifying taps into the human brain’s primal urge to accomplish achievements (such as advancing in or winning the game) and unlocks a sense of healthy competitiveness among people, which can deepen their engagement levels.
Challenge: You’re not sure what kind of training format will be best for your learners.
Providing employees with content that’s specifically tailored to their needs is another effective way to engage them and boost their information retention rates. The best way to know how they’d like to learn? Just ask! Send a company-wide survey to understand their learning preferences. Once you have an understanding of how your employees generally like to receive information, you can employ blended learning methods so you’re addressing multiple learning preferences at once.
Blended learning involves repurposing certain parts of your training content so several pieces overlap with each other. You could pair audio transcriptions and/or a video with every written article, then including an interactive quiz at the end, for example. This will ensure your bases are covered and it will also be immensely helpful for employees with more than one learning style.
Challenge: You’re unsure which e-learning software or LMS is best to use.
It’s understandably overwhelming to decide on the right e-learning software or an LMS — there are simply too many on the market. You’ll need to do a bit of research here, but let us clue you in on a little secret: no matter what LMS or other tool you decide on, make sure that it’s a flexible one.
That means your LMS, design tools, and any other solutions you’ll use to create training content should integrate seamlessly with your company culture and allow for custom branding. Creating content that’s on-brand will reinforce your company values and create a feeling of camaraderie and loyalty among your employees, yielding a much more enjoyable, effective learning process.
Using a solid LMS will fortify your training process immensely. Not only will it spark employee engagement, but it can also help boost confidence, reduce turnover, and create a team of employees who are prepared to take your business to the next level.
Challenge: You’re not sure your content flows logically.
Great ideas are just great ideas unless they’re presented in a logical, easy-to-follow structure. To ensure your training content flows logically, start by creating an outline before anything else. You might need to do several iterations of this before moving on to creating storyboards — a step-by-step visual representation of how your teaching experience will unfold.
Challenge: Design isn’t exactly in your wheelhouse.
For some, designing custom training content can feel like an exciting creative challenge. Others may balk at the idea, but that’s why free design tools like Canva exist! If you have more wiggle room in your budget, you may also consider collaborating with a designer who can make each lesson look and feel engaging and on-brand.
Challenge: Copywriting isn’t in your wheelhouse, either.
Writing isn’t your strong suit? Fear not! You don’t need to be a master copywriter to produce great training content. Try and get everything out on paper yourself first; you (and potentially other leaders in the company) are the expert source when it comes to training information. A professional copy editor will be able to polish your rough draft so you’re left with an outstanding finished product. If you’re on a budget crunch, downloading a free (or affordable) editing software like Grammarly can help you comb for errors.
Challenge: You’re facing budgetary constraints.
If you find yourself running into budgetary pressures, understand exactly what you’re working with before launching into creating the content. If your budget is smaller than you’d hoped, try looking into canned content that you can add to without needing much extra resources or time.
Challenge: You’re facing schedule constraints.
Again, canned content might be the best option if you’re in a time crunch. Make sure you have a thorough understanding of how much time you realistically expect to need (include some buffer time, as well). Communicate expectations with all stakeholders involved before agreeing to any deadlines.
Investing in your employees — and in your company culture — by creating custom training content is a worthy endeavor. It can be both an enlightening and challenging process, but understanding what challenges may lie ahead for you in the land of custom content creation can help you keep a level head and dive in without fear.
Cecilia Seiter is a content marketer, copywriter, and author at Alloy. She is passionate about the creation of meaningful, fulfilling, and sustainable work cultures.