How To Be A Good Online Training Instructor
eLearning courses don’t usually require an online instructor. You can pre-record lessons or incorporate one-on-one appraisals for feedback. But for the most part, online learners can train autonomously with very little online instructor intervention. Still, in order to develop a sound eLearning course, Instructional Designers and LMS admins must step into the role mentality. They need to think like a teacher and present their material in a way that makes sense to online learners. In some ways, curriculum developers have to be even more in tune with online learners. After all, in a class, students can ask teachers if they get stuck. In online environments, they’ll just click away or mentally check-out. How can you engage them more effectively?
5 Top Tips To Be The Best Online Instructor
1. Think Like Your Online Learners
A college professor once told his students he wouldn’t bother with a class register or roll-call sheet. After all, he said, whether they attend or cut class, whether they pass or fail, he still gets paid. So it’s their loss, not his. This may fly in a public university class, but for online learners, it’s a disaster. Online learners are largely isolated. There’s no teacher they can consult. They have to just muddle through. Thus, when there is an online instructor, make their presence count during the eLearning course development stage. Offline instructors run through their classes in dry-runs, practice sessions, and mock lessons. As an eLearning developer, get some beta testers and run the eLearning course by them. Not the computer course. The actual eLearning course. Host a virtual “classroom” session and run through the learning material. Any time an online learner raises their hand for clarification, you know that it’s time to reevaluate your eLearning strategy and/or eLearning course design.
2. Focus On Language
Content developers are already well versed in their material, but they need an additional ability. They require the right presentation. Think of a PhD holder explaining his thesis to an elementary school student. He has to “dumb down” thousands of pages and years of research into two or three sentences before the learner loses interest. It’s a sound metaphor for online training instructors. Find the right tone and wording. Your eLearning content needs to be comprehensive to be useful. It should be simple enough to be absorbed and assimilated by online learners, but complex enough to hold their interest. In addition to knowing your subject back to front, you also require translation skills. You need to convert your concepts to the right level for your online learners. Sift your eLearning content too, offering what they want and need to know. Not what you think they should know. This is crucial for adult learners and workplace training, where theory is often superfluous.
3. Spend Time Online
Many experts in the digital sphere start by establishing a following online. They create and nurture their virtual presence, developing clout among netizens. It’s a key part of their job, and they find new clients that way. As an online instructor, you’re likely to remain in the background. Your online learners might never talk to you or interact with you. That means you have to get into their heads some other way. You need to know how they tick and what motivates them. Your market research should have painted a helpful picture of your target audience. Go to the places they hang out online, whether it’s a preferred online discussion or a particular social media platform. Find out the things that interest them, and their medium of choice. This way, you can incorporate their tastes into the eLearning course, making it more appealing to them. You can also get ideas on alternative eLearning course presentation options.
4. Hone Your Communication Skills
Many trainers and instructors take public speaking classes to improve their classroom technique. An online training instructor doesn’t need this skill set, because they rarely interact with online learners face to face. They might not even appear “on camera” so verbal/visual skills aren’t essential. However, brushing up on conversational skills or ability to engage listeners can be useful. It will help you craft eLearning course material that grabs and holds your online learners’ attention. Good communication will make eLearning content effective in multiple formats. It enables the eLearning developer to jump from one medium to another, according to the requirements and preferences of online learners. It also improves the overall packaging of eLearning course materials, making them concise, well-edited, easy to use, and entertaining.
5. Tap Into The Skill Sets Of Your eLearning Team
You must know the talents of your eLearning team and how to utilize them most effectively. An online instructor rarely works in isolation. In most cases, you will collaborate with Subject Matter Experts, graphic designers, and other key players to develop meaningful eLearning content. You have to be aware of their roles and skill set, as well as reveal hidden abilities that may be useful to the overall eLearning course design and implementation process. Hold frequent meetings to get their input, which may also help you fine tune your personal areas for improvement. For example, look at the subject matter through a different lens or build your writing skills to create more powerful learning materials.
The quality of your online instructor matters, even if they’ll never deal with your online learners directly. In some ways, the absence of physical interaction makes it even more essential. So how do you become a better (invisible) instructor? Start by delving into the online instructor perspective before you even develop your eLearning course. Think about your online learners and the best way to reach them. Do your research. Apply the right language level, choosing every word carefully. Visit the virtual “hang-outs” of potential online learners and improve your own levels of communication.
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