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How to Convert Live Courses into eLearning in 7 Steps

Written by Julia Borgini

Published on August 3, 2017

A show of hands out there: how many of you are thinking of converting your live training courses into eLearning?

Okay, while I can't see how many of you raised your hands (or didn't), there are many reasons to consider it: budget, maintenance, resources, scalability, etc. So, the question is, can all live content be converted into eLearning?

Yes and no.

Today's technology empowers learners to continue to learn by doing, by practicing what you're teaching, and by asking questions without necessarily being in the same location. As learning designers, you've got to decide what's the best format and mode for your content, and then help learners learn!

This list of seven steps will help you convert live training content into eLearning successfully and convey the information in such a way that it sticks.

Step 1: Take all the time you need

For an eLearning course, you'll have to script out everything that needs to be communicated to students, and I mean everything: words, ideas, lessons, activities, examples, and more. That takes time, so make sure you give yourself enough time to do all that during the conversion process. This is much different from live training during which an instructor can make adjustments to the delivery on-the-fly.

Step 2: Identify the must-have content

Converting live training into eLearning isn't as simple as cutting and pasting content from one document or presentation to another. You must look at the live course material and identify the "must-have" content for eLearning. What must learners understand after they've completed the course?

You may find yourself with a long list, so consider prioritizing the information. What's critical for learners to understand and retain, what's the nice-to-have information, and what is optional?

Step 3: Find the hidden enhancement list

This is the list of things that every instructor wishes they could fix or change in their course. Most of the time that list is all in their head, so this is the perfect time to extract that information and incorporate it into the eLearning course.

Step 4: Leave time for stories

The best courses always leave time for stories that help illustrate a complex lesson or clarify a point. These stories aren't usually scripted, so you'll have to speak to the instructor to discover them. When converting a live course into eLearning, it's important to cover more than just what's found in the instructor and student guides. Talk to the instructors to get some of those great stories for your eLearning too.

Step 5: Anticipate student questions

Talk to the live course instructors about the areas and topics that are most confusing to learners and what the most common questions are overall. By anticipating those needs and building them into the eLearning, you'll ensure to create a complete and robust eLearning course.

Step 6: Use appropriate activities

Activities are a great way to get learners to apply what they're learning in a live course, making it more likely they'll retain the information. This is a bit more challenging in eLearning, so it is important to re-use and/or create activities that are still relevant and useful. Think creatively about what activities work best in the eLearning and for the topic so learners can really explore the content.

Step 7: Engage advocates early

Unlike live training where stakeholders and advocates may already approve of the course and the instructor, eLearning is a different world. Some stakeholders will hold on to preconceived ideas of the course, the instructor, or even the learners, and may object to things they previously had no issues with. Demonstrate to them early and often that you have the right content, that it's going to be delivered in the most effective way possible, and they still have a say in the eLearning, and you'll find the transition will happen more easily.

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After you read this guide, you will have the tools to build better courses, faster, and more aligned to customer needs. 

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Originally published Aug 3, 2017 1:00:00 PM, updated Aug 3, 2017