The world of learning was already experiencing major landscape shifts by going digital and the global pandemic of COVID-19 only made it switch into full gear. Most institutions, organizations, agencies, and freelancing online trainers are now shifting to leverage e-learning out of necessity which, given its great advantages, isn’t that bad a change.
Now more than ever before, you need to be up to speed with all its developments to ride the technology wave, as opposed to being swamped by it.
Not to forget, the internet has transformed how students consume information which is why online trainers are on the rise.
This article will not focus on the soft skills that online trainers should have because we all know how important communication and research skills are for any good trainer. It will, however, discuss six crucial skills you should learn this year so you don’t have to depend on someone else to develop your next best course.
1. Video Editing
When it comes to learning about how to do something, we are more likely to click through to a video for instruction, as opposed to a detailed article. In fact, one of the biggest developments in media consumption has been the shift of more and more content from pictures and text formats to videos.
With 5 billion videos being watched on YouTube every day, it is criminal to not leverage them for your business, especially if you’re a trainer.
Developing videos can seem daunting but you don’t need a lavish studio and the latest camera equipment right away. Start slow with your phone camera and a decent background to record the lesson because the real magic happens during editing.
You can use free video editing software like Avidemux, DaVinci Resolve, and Lightworks to add textual overlays, fix the video’s pace, delete frames, plugin additional resources, and do so much more. All these tools have a great user experience along with detailed user manuals to help you navigate through them.
In a time where everyone likes to learn through videos, learning video editing will be a skill that will keep your courses relevant and classes diverse.
2. Content Authoring
Knowing how to work around a content authoring tool can be a nifty skill if you have multiple content formats (presentations, articles, videos, infographics) for training and development.
Content authoring software allows you to package various multimedia files from disparate sources as a coherent online course, ripe for learners to consume.
Some Learning Management Systems (LMS) have content authoring tools built-in but in cases where they don’t or where the steps seem too complex, learning the ropes enables you to independently build courses, develop custom assessments, and accelerate the course’s time to set up.
When choosing a course authoring tool, make sure that you pick one that is easy to use, so you can learn on your own, and is compatible with your LMS; which brings us to our next point.
3. Learning Management System
Mastering the use of an LMS should be every trainer’s top priority. An LMS is software that allows you to create, promote, and monetize online courses, set permissions, and track learner analytics, among other things.
Think of it as your one-stop shop for delivering training and development to prospective learners.
Most top-tier LMSs are very easy to use and with enough practice, online trainers can quickly learn to navigate through them.
Edly, for instance, helps you customize the entire e-learning experience by assisting with course development and authoring, facilitating integrations, and providing mobile accessibility, all with top-notch customer support and security.
The quickest way of mastering an LMS is to frequently experiment with its tools to develop the most interactive courses for learners. Your skills with course authoring will come in handy here because you will be free to tweak the course and assessments to create the best learning experience, without having to depend on someone to do it for you.
An acronym for a ‘seminar on the web’, webinars are a great tool for enabling two-way communication in e-learning. They’re wildly popular in virtual conferences and corporate meetings because they remove all geographical constraints in communication and can quickly be followed up with polls and Q&As to keep sessions interactive.
Online trainers can seriously benefit from learning how to conduct engaging webinars that allow them all the benefits of video-based instruction along with the engagement of real-time interaction with learners.
Most competent LMS solutions support video conferencing and webinars so you don’t need an external plug-in. However, tools like EverWebinar, GoToWebinar, and WebinarJam offer a great webinar developing and conducting experience.
What’s great about webinars is, that you can conduct them live with your learners to build an immersive and interactive session, and you can also leave recorded versions for those who couldn’t tune into the live session. Having the material accessible on-demand will keep it evergreen, allowing learners to return to it at their own pace.
5. Social Media
Let’s face it, almost everyone uses social media these days. Whether it’s keeping up with the news, catching up with friends, or learning about the next big thing on the market, we all tune in to one channel or the other to keep up to date.
Your learners are no different.
Social media can be a great tool for further training and development and to gain instant analytics on learner engagement.
You can create private groups for your learners on Facebook, Google+, and LinkedIn and use them to share resources, conduct polls, and start discussions.
These can also be great platforms for marketing your courses and can even be used to introduce a course with a short video where you explain the objectives, expectations, and guidelines.
Another great aspect of these platforms is that they track every click, like, comment, and share which shows you what content is doing well with your learners and how they are engaging with the material. These insights can provide feedback that can help you change your material and training method according to what resonates most with your learners.
Gamification is a great way to supercharge the overall learning experience. It tests learners with real-life scenarios using elements like leaderboards, badges, rewards, and social sharing capabilities to ensure that learners apply their concepts and enjoy the journey.
Another great thing is that since gamification operates through stages, it’s easier for you to provide learners with feedback consistently throughout the course rather than after its completion.
There are many ways to include gamification during an online course. Some LMS solutions can have these capabilities built-in but in cases where they don’t, you can use external software to develop and deploy games as assessments in your courses. Some of these tools include Influitive, Hoopla, and Rise.
You can start off with a gamified quiz and once that kicks off, you can proceed to game-based learning and gamified learning paths next. It may take some time for you to figure out what route works best for your learners but as long as you’ve identified the objective and are developing the experience around it, the effort will pay off in spades.
With the growing popularity of e-learning, you have to stay agile and adapt to the changing landscape of learning. Practicing and adopting these new training tools will help you create material that engages learners at a time when keeping their attention is more difficult than ever.
But remember, technology is just one piece of it all. Your courses and all their elements will be fueled by the objectives you set out as the trainer and by your enthusiasm for helping learners learn.