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Welcome to the first part of the new NCVO website. While we finish building it, you will find the rest of our help and guidance on our existing site.

Last reviewed: 02 March 2021

Use this page to help you move your organisation’s face-to-face training online. It includes top tips for designing live training and suggests ways to include training elements that aren’t live.

Use your existing knowledge and skills

Much of your knowledge around delivering and designing training applies online.

You still need to:

  • cater for different learning styles
  • make use of questioning to support learning
  • balance familiarity and challenge to help participants think and learn
  • make sure participants are comfortable
  • create opportunities for participants to learn from each other’s experience.

Make training flexible

Design training that fits with people’s lives

During the coronavirus pandemic this means:

  • many people have additional pressures at home while they're trying to work
  • spending long periods in video calls on specified dates and at specific times can be difficult
  • screen time is high for all of us already
  • it’s easier to access a five minute video and complete a 20-minute exercise than listen to a two-hour video call.

The online learning space gives you the opportunity to offer flexibility.

Use live video calling sessions sparingly

Bringing people together on a specific date and time takes a considerable amount of effort and resource.

Live video call sessions are best used for:

  • making connections
  • community building
  • experiential learning
  • opportunities to ask questions
  • coaching
  • group reflection.

Keep the sessions short and manageable. Don’t forget to add screen breaks and comfort breaks, even for short sessions.

Make training scalable and repeatable

Replace your five-hour face-to-face training with five hours of video calls and you’ll have several problems.

  • People will struggle to focus.
  • Your trainers will have their energy drained as they try and get the same energy they used to get in a room.
  • You'll have missed out on some of the advantages of other online approaches – you haven’t created anything that's more reusable.

Now that people are interested in experiencing training online more than ever before you have a chance to experiment.

You can share new knowledge in different and more sustainable ways. Try introducing training elements that aren’t live. This is known as blended learning. Blended learning combines live training with eLearning.

Use short pre-recorded videos and quick bits of reading with infographics. Borrow content from other places – such as TED talks or online articles. People can access these when it’s convenient for them. And you can reuse the content for a later course, leading to more flexibility for you.

Three key considerations to make training scalable and repeatable.

  • Create a more sustainable option. Design your course so that you can repeat and build on it. And with the least effort and cost. Small, self-serve training is useful.
  • Share tools people can use by themselves. Identify what participants can do without being present in a live capacity. Short videos introducing new knowledge, short articles, quizzes and podcasts are good options.
  • Reach more people easily. Making part of your content self-serve also means it’s easier to reach more people. You’ll have to spend less time in live calls and so you can do more of them.

Design for different learning styles

Try a mix of video, text, audio, infographics, quizzes, exercises, forums, and live video calls. That will ensure you support different learning styles.

You can combine:

  • a short video with new knowledge content
  • a short text-based case study illustrating the point
  • an exercise applying the new knowledge.

This way you repeat the content in different formats to make sure all learning styles are happy.

Look out for new tools to help you create videos. Some of the useful things these tools can help you do are below.

  • Create screencasts. Record yourself giving a PowerPoint or Google Slides presentation
  • Create demonstrations. Show people how to use a piece of software or your learning platform
  • Mix up presenters. Make it more interesting for people by bringing in different voices. However, its still best to always have a main trainer as the focus of the course
  • Provide bonus material. Include videos of guests presenting case studies. Or invite visiting experts to speak on related topics.

Whatever learning materials you're creating, make sure you create them in an accessible way. See our introduction to digital accessibility.

Enable peer learning 

Have a space where people can share, reflect and get input from their peers and their trainer. This can be through:

  • a forum
  • a comment or discussion facility
  • a shared chat channel
  • a Facebook or LinkedIn group
  • assignments to hand in
  • live video calls
  • a collaborative document.

Test your online training

As with all good project design, take small steps, test them, and learn as you go.

Example

Starlight Trust start their move to online training with a series of emails to learners. The emails include links to one piece of reading, two quizzes and two pre-recorded videos.

They add in live video calls for peer support. People say they can fit learning around other commitments. They like the mix of video, reading and peer support. They grumble about the quizzes in the video calls.

Starting small like this makes Starlight Trust’s move to online blended learning cost effective, and it’s easy to drop or change the bits that don’t work and drop the bits that do.

Find out more

There are some purpose-built platforms out there that you can use to host your course. They are known as learning management systems (LMS). Not all systems or options are the same. Read our guide to help you decide what to look for when evaluating services, and what they include.

Understanding learning management systems and services.

You can also refer to our accompanying page, which helps you understand key eLearning terms. It highlights the things to consider when creating valuable and purposeful eLearning.

Creating and sharing useful eLearning.

Wondering about what call software to use for delivering training?

NCVO worked with Catalyst to create this guidance.

This page was last reviewed for accuracy on 02 March 2021

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