Making ILT Onboarding Training A Stimulating eLearning Experience
The first few days on the job can be anxiety-inducing and extremely boring…simultaneously. New hires are still getting into the swing of things, so they will have stretches of time with nothing to do. Other times, they’ll be tossed head-first into a new task. They may be crippled by the dilemma of messing up and looking incompetent or asking for help—and looking incompetent. Adequate onboarding solves both problems. It keeps them busy in idle moments and equips them to perform well on unfamiliar tasks. How can you keep the courses immersive and convert your ILT sessions into online onboarding training experiences?
1. Interactive Vs. Print
In the pre-pandemic corporate world, many organizations still relied on printed manuals and physical workstations. You can still use guides as source material. For example, transform each chapter into an interactive resource. That safety manual for new warehouse employees can become an immersive simulation. Employees experience emergency situations firsthand to see how they react minus the real-world risks. Another option is to add interactive training elements to PDF guides and break them into bite-sized lessons. For instance, you can include supplemental links, pop quizzes, and resource recommendation lists.
2. Focus On Pictorials
This ILT onboarding training conversion doesn’t have to be complex. For example, a chapter of text can be repurposed as a comic strip. It can still be a printed document, but aesthetically pleasing pictures with speech bubbles are more engaging than plain words. They’re more memorable too, which is good for knowledge transfer and retention. So, at the end of every chapter in your onboarding print-out, summarize with a comic strip. You can also include infographics that sum up the key points, which can be used for follow-up support. For JIT situations, employees can even print out the summaries as their own supplementary document.
3. Host Virtual Events
Live online events deliver the best of both L&D worlds. Employees still get to interact with peers and instructors in real time. But they also forego all the safety risks associated with on-site ILT. Video conferencing fosters an emotional connection and builds a stronger team dynamic from day one. You can even host mini onboarding sessions to improve knowledge retention and active recall remotely. For example, the first virtual event can focus on the basics, such as job roles and responsibilities. The next can segue into company policy and compliance protocols instead of scheduling a day-long new hire training workshop that leads to cognitive overload. Plus, you’re able to record the live online event and add it to your onboarding training library for future reference.
4. Use VR Tools
Virtual Reality gear takes online training sessions to a whole new level. You can use VR goggles and gloves/joysticks with haptic feedback. They make for a fully immersive experience, especially in a quest-style simulation. Your instructor can literally walk the team through their onboarding process. However, this type of virtual excursion is expensive to design and implement. So, you can use cheaper options, like hosting an onboarding training scavenger hunt with the help of AR and mobile devices. It helps team cohesion and can develop soft skills, so it still counts as ILT onboarding training.
5. Opt For Pocket-Friendly Immersion
On the other hand, if you’re on a tight budget, go for noise-blocking headphones and ambient soundtracks. Just like in the movies and videogames, using the right sounds can heighten immersion and set the mood. If you’re unconvinced, go to YouTube and look up any popular movie trailer. Watch them with and without sound and note the difference in your emotional/psychological response. Once you’re persuaded for the conversion of your ILT onboarding training, invest in an LMS or authoring tool that has a solid sound editing booth. Or get free-standing, sound-mixing software that’s compatible with the online training tools available in your office.
6. Center On Practicality Over Visual Appeal
One of the most common mistakes organizations make when transforming ILT sessions into immersive online onboarding training is the “dazzle syndrome.” They want to boost the interactivity and aesthetic appeal, even if it comes at the cost of knowledge retention. New hires’ needs and gaps should never be put on the back burner. Develop employee training resources that facilitate practical application and focus on real-world challenges. Bear in mind that eLearning experiences should be quick and convenient to consume. For example, survey your new hires to identify areas for improvement, such as tasks they might struggle with on their first day on the job. Then create branching scenarios and online training tutorials that address their needs and personal preferences.
Effective onboarding training isn’t driven by the presence or absence of an instructor. It’s gauged on content quality and immersion, because the more involved new employees are, the more they absorb and remember. So how can you take a conventional instructor-led onboarding program and make it more immersive for new hires?
- Augment plain, printed text manuals with comic strip summaries.
- Use simulations and interactive infographics to prompt active involvement.
- Host virtual live events, even if they’re synchronized over multiple webcam screens.
- Employ Virtual Reality tools if you can afford them, and if not, use evocative soundtracks to draw learners in.
- Give them practical tools that allow them to bridge gaps autonomously instead of focusing solely on immersion and aesthetics.