Converting ILT (Instructor-Led-Training) to E-Learning: Tips and Tricks?

Mar 14, 2016

Hey helpful community peeps, 

What are your tops and tricks for someone who is converting an ILT (instructor-led-training) course to e-learning?

Any suggestions or advice you would offer is hugely appreciated, as always. 

Thanks in advance!

22 Replies
Christy Tucker

I like the process Jane Bozarth outlines in this article: From Classroom to Online: Think Transform, not Transfer.  It's easy to just take the PowerPoints or ILT lectures and digitize them, but that doesn't create a great learning experience. Jane says, "Look for ways to capture the richness that a good instructor brings to the classroom, such as responsiveness, a sense of humor, interesting stories and examples, and immediate feedback. Also, when considering moving a classroom course online, approach it not just as converting one form to another, but as an opportunity to improve the existing product. This is a chance to leverage technology for what it can do."

Bob S

Tip:  Be sure to review all the Instructor's Notes and margin scribbles for the ILT in order to capture all of the nuances, tie-ins, emphasis, common clarifications, etc that an instructor provides to the group "in between"  the written content pieces.

Beyond interactivity, this is one of the hardest things to translate from the ILT world into e-learning. Accordingly, it should be one of the key areas you focus on!

Bryan Griffiths
  1. I go along with the above comments in full.
  2. To my mind the most important thing I learnt over 10 years is to identify the intended learning outcomes absolutely spot on, and to carry this golden thread throughout the course design and development. This ensures content is relevant and concise - ask what is the minimum the learner MUST know in order to meet the outcomes/objectives? I cannot emphasize more how important this is for the learner who has to put enormous effort in, and for you, who has time and cost limitations.
  3. To add to this, we all have our pet content, stories, clever questions etc, but if it does not contribute to the outcome leave it out. Traditional PPT instructors often put everything they know in a PPT to brag how clever they are. Service providers make courses as long as possible to increase revenue. That is so wrong - courses should be as SHORT as possible!
  4. I always identify what is "must know " and what is "nice to know". So remove any death-by-PowerPoint content from the ILT that doesn't directly contribute to meeting course outcomes - less is more, so learners must learn enough to achieve the  minimum to do the job, not maximum - avoids information overload and keeps to what's important.
  5. If you must add "nice to knows" make sure these are clearly identified so the learner can make a mental note, but knows that this is less important. Don't include any assessments of "nice to knows".
  6. This especially true for adult learners who are limited in time - typically they want to read until they find what they need to do the job on hand. We all do that e.g we google until we find what we want (and like - which is a little dangerous sometimes since it compounds bias). But we do make a mental note of "nice to knows" for future reference and further study
  7. Check as you go along that you have this golden thread running  - it's so easy to go off course.
  8. The other danger when working from ILT PPT's is that the bullets are often just reminders to the instructor of what to say - the real knowledge is in the instructor's head and not on the slide. I agree with Bob S above. You'll have to capture the unseen knowledge from  a SME. I always have a giggle when, after a presentation, the first question is often "can I have a copy of your presentation, or "will copies be distributed"? How often is that presentation ever referred to again? And how much is it worth if it's a collection of reminders and no real knowledge?
  9. A friend once said to me she tries to be "true to the media", meaning eLearning is not just "text-under-glass", like a Kindle. It must be interactive and engaging. Sometimes it's difficult to do this with text-heavy content, typical of the technical stuff I had to deal with. To this end I often force the learner to click on something to draw their attention. E.g "Click on the picture for the definition of an invoice". That technique is nicely shown in Matthew Guyan's "Meet the Theorists". And I don't allow the learner to move on unless they have clicked!
  10. ILT often doesn't have much in the way of formative assessments. This was embedded in the instructor's style and narrative. So you'll have to be imaginative!
Brenda Tyedmers

Great points above.  

At the front end, I would suggest:

- do at least a minimal needs assessment with the key stakeholder: what are the critical behavioural, knowledge or attitude gaps that are to be addressed by the learning experience? Focus on these gaps. It will keep you learner-centred instead of content-centred.

- develop the learning objective(s) 

- develop the evaluation(s) of learning - how will you assess whether the learning objectives have been met?  What evaluation activities could you incorporate? Having a draft design of these early on will keep you focused. 

- then design the e-learning to enable the learner to succeed in the evaluation(s)

- everything that does not lead to the evaluation(s) should be considered optional content that the learner can explore if they wish



Bryan Griffiths

Thanks Brenda
I usually do a detailed DACUM exercise for a particular division to
establish gap analysis and develop the objectives. Then follow a tailored
ADDIE process. Also use WIDS to help document the design and use the
output to develop the storyboard. Great tools for new courses or redesign
or conversion from ILT.

I must add another danger when developing Elearning (I realised this
recently when asked to review a course; it was a beautiful video but as a
course useless. It should be borne in mind we are not creating Hollywood
box office attractions so dramatics and excessive graphics are just
distractions and very expensive) . One thing I disliked was the use of
timed bullets appearing and disappearing. They were trying to emulate an
instructor cueing these bullets. But you can't do this in a self paced
course because you don't know how much time is needed between each. You can
always interrupt an instructor and ask for clarity or go back or something
- no go in Elearning! Rather actively click each bullet when ready!

Mark Shepherd

When I first started my job last fall, this was the exact advice I gave to my senior bosses.

I challenged them to look for and report ANY instances of anything that was an "a-ha" learning or instructional moment and to write them down and send to them ALL to me, ASAP, so we could look for ways to include them in either existing or potential future projects.

I also warned them that these things are like lightning in a bottle - they are difficult to catch and can strike almost anywhere, without warning.

They agreed with my assessment but I believe they feel it's MY primary role to accomplish.

They're right of course, but imagine what could come if more people in an organization contributed more to eLPs in this, and other ways?  The sky's the limit...! ;)

My best eLearning work has almost always come from collaborations with others in different departments or sections, where opportunities for conversion increase significantly. :)

Christy Tucker

Video can be used for modeling physical skills. If you think about different physical skills, then search YouTube, my guess is that you'll find demos for many of them. Watching a model complete a task can increase self-efficacy (see Bandura's research on the four sources of self-efficacy).

Depending on the skill you're training and your budget, you might also consider simulations. EdHeads just moved to a paid membership model, but you can still see a few free examples like this virtual hip surgery. It starts with a few multiple choice questions, but then you get to simulating using the scalpel and other tools.

If you're really bleeding edge, physical skills might be a place for using motion detecting cameras or alternate reality games.

Tabatha Dimas

I actually have this exact project. A 2 hour ILT from a veteran employee (40+ years) that is retiring soon. Since he won't be doing the class any more (it ALWAYS books full when he holds it) I have been tasked with changing it elearning and putting it on our LMS for anyone to view at any time. I was fortunate enough to have been able to video the instructor which allowed for capturing Q&A (great for ancillary topics and info), notes and scribbles he did on a board and flip chart (what a wealth of knowledge not in the presentation PPT) and of course the PPT which he's always used but has quite a lot of outdated info. I'm in the middle of deconstructing the course, and identifying how to chunk the info into shorter learning segments that can be watched together or independently based on topic. Since it's not critical learning it's a filler project that I'm having lots of fun with to stretch my skill at delivery and interactions.

Ulises Musseb

Here's where all those metrics and training evaluations come in handy. That information provides a lot of feedback about how a new version of the course will look like. And yes, it is a new version of the course that you are creating.

That said, consider the fact that what used to be a nice group exercise in a live session, not it may become some kind of game or interactive activity that the user will do alone. Think of what you are giving up that made the course successful and what would be the electronic equivalent (in terms of maintaining the same level of engagement and quality teaching).

Do not just convert some PowerPoint slides into electronic format. Adapt the content for a medium where there isn't any networking, socializing, group exercises (even if there are group activities in the e-learning).

And very important, test and obtain feedback (and listed  to the feedback your testers will give you) before publishing. You don't want your great class to be hindered by a poorly published course or by having an interaction that only you get.

2Training Loan

Interesting discussion. To convert something that is ( presumably ) classroom based on the required interactivity, equipment level and number of participants that can be handled in each class, is not an easy e-learning ROI business case. But if we put that aside the thread here is full of part best practices that we can learn from. Thanks for sharing this wealth of experience with everyone. 

I would personally look into virtual classroom technology to reach more people with the same people led /instructor led sessions. But that was not the premise for this thread.