Running a training business is a full-time endeavor, one that’s constantly presenting new challenges. Fortunately, with a little planning and the right learning management system (LMS), you can quickly troubleshoot common online training conundrums.
Read on to learn about three of the most common challenges training providers face and how to solve them.
Challenge #1: Learners get stuck and can’t move through your course
One of the top challenges training providers face is that sometimes, people get stuck. This might be due to a glitch in the authored learning content export. Other times, browser incompatibility or plugin issues are to blame. Learners may also get stuck due to “human error.”
It may be human error, but sadly, it’s rarely “learner error.” More often than not, it’s actually poor user-interface design or inaccurate data tabulation, and these issues fall on the learning designer.
Fortunately, such problems are often the result of predictable issues. Suppose that learners are getting stuck on a certain slide in the learning content. Getting stuck in an LMS is almost always due to one of two things:
- Bad interface design: The navigation controls within the learning content are not obvious or not sized appropriately given the device being used.
- Interaction rules disable navigation: A page contains an interactive component that must be completed before the learner can continue with content (e.g., all the correct answers must be selected), but this isn’t clear to the learner.
There are a couple of simple ways to avoid these common course hangups. First, always design your content with accessibility (508-compliance) in mind. Consider that some trainees will have different types of sensory disabilities (e.g., vision, hearing, cognitive), making standard course interpretation more difficult or impossible.
Design your training to make it accessible for all potential students, so no one gets hung up by not being able to see your buttons. Use Alt-Tags on your menu items (for the visually impaired), and always caption your videos, particularly if they contain directions required for advancing in a course.
Second, you should always user-test your training course’s design. Have testers go through it all, preferably on different devices (e.g., smartphones, tablets, PCs). Simply user-testing your courses once they are designed almost always identifies navigation issues that would lead to learner issues later. This way, you can nip them in the bud before they happen.
Another reason that students get stuck is due to inaccurate scoring. Sometimes, students successfully pass a test, but a failing score is recorded, forbidding students from finishing or completing the training.
Inaccurate scoring or recording issues almost always stem from the way that you build and set up your courses. Frequently, this problem is caused by hard-coding scores into your learning content via the authoring tool. Though this makes sense when designing the content, it can lead to difficult-to-fix issues if done improperly, requiring correction using the authoring tool and re-export.
If you’re using a training-based LMS, it probably makes more sense to set the passing score there. It’s easier to update or correct the score needed to pass any given assessment within a course. It even enables you to change passing content scores based on different client requirements.
You will still need to double-check and validate that all the assessed assets (e.g., assignments, quizzes) have accurate passing scores set in the LMS. Another issue often preventing learners from finishing a course is that the final grade tabulation is inaccurately set. Make sure the scores are being added and weighted correctly.
Challenge #2: Clients don’t receive data to accurately measure how successful their training programs are
Clients often want reports on learner scores, responses, and outcomes. The last thing that you want to do is produce inaccurate reports based on erroneous data. There are several easy ways to avoid this issue.
First, make sure you understand what your content authoring tool reporting capabilities are. Once identified, make sure you examine which type of data is exported by default. If that isn’t appropriate for your courses or for your clients’ needs, many content authoring tools have configurable parameters so you can make sure to export the data that you want.
Make sure your authoring tool’s assessment options enable you to export data. Many clients may want to see question-and-answer values so they can identify where learners are failing. Certain authoring tools have assessment types that don’t get exported as data to the LMS and therefore, can’t be reported. For example, Storyline Knowledge Check quizzes are not scored or accessible by any LMS.
How do you know if the right data is being exported, particularly after playing with authoring configurations? If you are already user testing your course, you can run sample reports based on the tests to ensure that the LMS is receiving the data that your clients want from the learning content. Definitely do this before you launch your course!
Most importantly, if you are feeling overwhelmed, don’t panic. When in doubt, you should communicate with your LMS partner to determine which metrics and reports are probably best to retrieve for your clients. You may find it advantageous to work with a training-specific LMS provider that has experience dealing with all types of training client issues.
Challenge #3: Course uptake isn’t what your client expected
Your clients are likely entrepreneurial. Many of them may have ambitious expectations and inflated projections about course uptake. Some may even presume that they will have thousands of users enroll in their courses—only to find that they recruit only a few dozen when they launch.
Training clients can’t just expect that selling their training to an organization such as a corporation or non-profit is going to result in a groundswell of users. Even when an organization offers training to its employees, it’s rare that busy employees will simply dive into e-learning with gusto.
Fortunately, there are several simple steps that you and your clients can take to help avoid this scenario.
First, set up a clear communication plan for before, during, and after the launch of the course. The plan must target the appropriate employee population by highlighting the career or workplace benefits of completing the training.
Perhaps the training is part of a job requirement, fulfills continuing education units, or counts toward certification and licensure. Whatever the exact situation, all training exists for a reason. Identify why the target audience would want to enroll, and consistently highlight this point in your communications. An easy way of doing this is to mention the goals and learning outcomes that your training potentially offers employees.
You should also use frequent time referrals in your communications to induce potential users to sign up. This is an old sales tactic based on people’s fear of missing out. Continually bring up course launch dates for new prospects or final course completion dates to those who are sluggishly proceeding through a course.
Whenever possible, have employee managers and supervisors communicate to their employees that they will be receiving emails about the training. Non-LMS-based communication reinforces the automated LMS email channel. Besides, you only want trainees to know that the course exists well before it launches, so prepare them for signing on once it does. Supervisors can ensure that this happens.
Once a course is running, you can simply use your training LMS to send automated emails reminding managers and employees of new assignments and upcoming due dates. Continual contact and audience-specific communication are essential to ensure course uptake and completion.
There Is No Challenge That Good Planning and a Training-Based LMS Can’t Solve
There are a ton of challenges training providers face. You can’t always predict which problem is on deck, but you can be sure one is coming. Running a training business requires dealing with episodic problems. The good news is that almost all such problems are predictable, which also makes them preventable.
Fortunately, with a training-specific LMS and a little foresight, you can easily avoid or troubleshoot the most common training issues and offer your clients exactly the training experiences that they expect.
Here at Firmwater, we don’t just sell an LMS for training providers. We partner with our clients, giving them the tools and insights they need to implement the best practices in e-learning course development, growth, and delivery. We care too much about our customers’ businesses to have them wade through forums and chatbots for help.
Ready to use an LMS that’s designed for the way YOU work, with a team dedicated to YOUR needs? Book a no-obligation consultation directly with our team today!