In a previous post we chatted about the importance of training in order to achieve LMS success. The better training you provide to your staff, the sooner they will understand how to use the LMS and increase the school’s productivity and goals.
But creating a good training isn’t always easy.
You need a good team, plan the content, schedule the training, and much more. This seems exhausting, expensive and time-consuming, but it’s actually not. That’s why we’ve put together a simple and easy to follow guide on how to create your own LMS training program.
An 8-step guide to create an LMS training program for your school
Creating such a program for teachers does require some work and dedication, but if you want your LMS to not be a waste of money for your school, keep on reading.
Assemble your team
A good team is the foundation of any successful training program. You can start small with just one or two people from within your school and these can be either administrators, teachers, or other faculty members.
You don’t need special training staff with professional skills, you just need to make sure that the people you choose are excited about this, that they are willing to invest the time, and of course that they know the product very well. They also need to know the LMS goals, in order to pass on these goals during the training program.
To make sure your training team is well prepared you can talk to your LMS vendor to provide some training sessions. Most LMS vendors do this and some even do it free of charge.
Know your audience
You can’t develop a training program without first knowing your audience and understanding their needs. An easy way to do this is by putting together a short survey for participants. There are many free online tools such as SurveyMonkey or Google Forms and you can send the survey to everyone through email.
Here is what you can find out from the survey:
- How comfortable people are with the technology
- What classroom technology have they used so far
- What is their grade level and specialization
- How willing are they to do the training
- How much time are they willing to allocate for training
- What do they want to learn through training
- What is their learning style
Finding out these details is essential, because they will help in the next phase when you’re creating the actual content for the training.
Plan the content
Now that you have more insight into who your audience is and what are their needs, you can start planning the actual training content.
Using the information you know about your audience, you can split people into separate training groups, based on their grade level, their familiarity with technology, and their speciality. For example, math teachers need to focus on some particular LMS features, while english teachers need to focus on understanding more other features. You can also create groups based on user type, such as administrators and teachers.
A recommended next step would be to create an introductory session where you can explain the LMS goals and its purpose, why are you doing this training, and what can people expect from it.
Then you can move on to the actual training content. To start things easy, you can divide content by difficulty levels. The first course can be focused on the most basic LMS functions that everyone needs to learn, then you can move on to intermediate and advanced levels. A great LMS feature for this is learning paths, which allows you to create a sequence of classes, where each class represents a goal.
To host the training content, please use the actual LMS. This way people will learn how to use LMS as they go through the training.
It’s important to also set goals for what you want to achieve at each training level or course. An easy way to do this is to create an outline for each course and establish what are the main aspects that you want people to be able to master after each course.
For example in the beginner course, the goal might be for everyone to know how to navigate the LMS and create a simple class. You can also get more specific and break down goals into a checklist of items that people need to learn. This way after the training, you can assess if people mastered those aspects or not.
A good LMS feature for this is competencies. If your LMS allows it, you can tag class content with the skills or competencies that you want people to master, and then track their progress based on that.
Make sure to adapt the training content to your participants learning style. Some people might prefer video over text, other people like to learn on their own, and others learn better through team activities. Also make your content is bite-sized, to avoid overwhelming people with a lot of information at once.
Consider including small assessments during courses, to track people’s progress, but keep them short. You can include small surveys, quizzes, and other interactive assignments. This might be better instead of adding a big exam at the end of a course.
Training participants must also learn how to maximize the LMS use. You can include strategies on how they can improve their jobs using the system. This way teachers will improve their activities, which will lead to higher productivity rates and better results.
Plan the training
This is the more logistical side of training. First of all make sure you have enough people to cover all training groups. Then work out the schedule for trainings and the time per session. The schedule should not interfere a lot with people’s regular job activities, but it also shouldn’t take too much out of their free time.
You can start small, with just one trainer and one group of people.
As for equipment, you need a room with computers, a projection screen, and a solid internet connection. Do a test run before the actual training to make sure all computers are working and all your materials are ready. For example, if you’re sharing an online resource, check to see if all your links are working.
Make the training interesting
Adults also enjoy receiving incentives and making your training more interactive will help them learn better and faster. If your LMS has gamification use it to award points and badges as teachers advance through training content.
You can also create certificates to award at the end of each training level. You don’t need design skills to create certificates, there are plenty of templates online. People like to feel recognized for their efforts, so you could even showcase the teachers that finish the training on the school website.
You don’t have to spend money to make the training more appealing to teachers; simple things can also work. If you do have some budget available you can organize a raffle for people that attend the training and give away as a prize tickets to their favorite education conference, devices they can use in the classroom, and more.
Announce and promote training
Everyone in the school should know about the training program. An easy way to promote it is through the introductory session we mentioned above. People will learn everything they need to know about the training and ask questions. After this session, make sure your training team is available at all times for any additional questions or concerns that people might have.
You can also add more details about the training program on the school website or send out occasional emails to announce training sessions. To make things smooth, people can register in advance for the training. This can easily be done through a Google form sent to everyone’s email.
Occasionally you can share pictures, videos, and results from training sessions on the school website and through emails, so people can see and stay updated.
You’ve come so far and it’s time for the actual training. The first session is the most important one, because it will set the tone for what teachers can expect from the entire training program. It’s essential to make them feel comfortable, to attend to their questions, and move along with the training at a pace that they are ok with.
See what the vibe of the group is and go with it. If they want to spend more time learning about a functionality, then do that. If they don’t want to do additional work after the session, don’t push it on them. If they do want to try out the system on their own, make sure you have some materials prepared.
Take your time with those that move slower than the rest of the group. Notice where they are having difficulties with the content and use this information to improve future content.
You can also do a survey at the end of the course to see what are teachers’ impressions and you can make it anonymous to encourage responses.
Make it ongoing and expand
At this point your training program is set in place, so what do you do now?
Well the most important thing is to keep updating the content, whether it’s based on the feedback received by participants, or as new LMS functionalities appear.
You can also diversify content, create more levels, add separate sessions that focus on e-learning strategies, and so on. Last but not least, you can do reminder sessions from time to time, to refresh concepts for participants.
At this point you’re ready to start planning your training program. As always remember to start small and take your time. If you follow the steps above, I’m sure you will create something amazing.
And I would like to know in the comments section below which step do you think is the hardest?
Graham is the CEO and Founder of CYPHER LEARNING and NEO. He is a serial entrepreneur, e-learning enthusiast, published author and educator.