When examining virtual training courses, Science magazine found that only 3% to 6% of participants completed the full course. Why is online learning so susceptible to abandoned courses and unfinished learning plans, and what can HR do to improve course completion rates?
Online training provides great opportunities for employees, but how do you get workers to complete their training? Discover how to make the most of virtual training by addressing the most common problems with the help of a Learning Management System (LMS).
What stops employees from completing training?
- Too difficult
It’s hard to keep learning when the material goes way over your head. Dense, technical material might be covered too quickly. Trainees may lack prior knowledge that’s needed to understand the course.
- Not enough time
When there’s a time crunch in a busy office, training often gets pushed to the back burner. Trainees might quit or fall behind because they’re asked to complete training in an unreasonably short number of days or weeks.
- Lack of motivation
Adult learners need to understand the relevance and usefulness of course material. Make sure your trainees are interested and invested in the material.
- No support from HR/management
Workers need to see that management values ongoing training. If your company culture emphasizes productivity above all else, then training looks like an unwelcome interruption.
- Poor design
The course structure should make training material easy to navigate and understand. Without planning and clear presentation, even basic information becomes confusing.
- Forgot about it
Employees have lots of other tasks at work. Without automatic reminders, busy workers can easily forget about an unfinished virtual training program.
Tips to improve virtual training completion rates
Provide purpose of training
Don’t be coy about explaining the motivations behind different training topics. Look for teachable moments, connecting the training material to current and upcoming challenges for employees.
Set, measure, and track training goals for individual workers by aligning your employee development plans with available training courses.
Set realistic due dates
Employees need a reasonable window of time to complete training courses.The key is finding a proper balance in time consideration for workers. Keep in mind:
- An excessively short deadline asks workers to prioritize training over important tasks
- Set deadlines too far in the future and trainees might forget material along the way
Keep training short and focused
Younger generations of employees may be fresh out of college and used to a more academic schedule, but nobody can devote their full workday to learning new skills. Longer, more involved material requires study, review, and sometimes repetition, and that style of learning isn’t practical for workplace training.
Virtual training material should be delivered in bite-sized servings, not full meals. Package information into smaller portions that are easily digested and applied, then build on that foundation with additional training.
Utilize easy to use training materials
An LMS makes it easy to customize virtual training courses for the needs and abilities of each worker. From remote onboarding to later professional development, an LMS opens up all kinds of possibilities.
You can’t expect full comprehension from just reading and watching videos. Use technology to make courses more accessible and engaging. Both in-person and online training programs are better interactive.
Use short quizzes to test knowledge of the course material before and after each session. Consistently high scores on pre-tests may signal that workers are ready for more advanced material–or that particular training session may be unnecessary.
Communicate clearly and regularly
Make sure learners understand the purpose of training courses. Get feedback from trainees during and after virtual training. Make sure that workers feel heard, improving and streamlining courses with their feedback. Use your LMS to foster a culture of continuous learning at your company.
Reward those who complete training
One way or another, trainees are going to ask, “What’s in it for me?” A little positive reinforcement goes a long way. Recognize workers who complete training, and maybe try promoting a little friendly competition between teams.
Regularly update material
Training courses need to be updated to reflect evolving policies and procedures. Collect feedback with post-training questionnaires and routine employee engagement surveys. Whenever you update a section of the employee handbook, be sure to check any related training materials for outdated information.
An LMS should provide remote access to courses. If workers choose to complete training on weekends or after hours, a mobile app makes it easier. Plus, remote workers may not always have access to their computers.