Home > Converting ILT to eLearning: Prepare, Plan, Implement

Converting ILT to eLearning: Prepare, Plan, Implement

The recent trends show that the most effective companies are using eLearning to stay on top. Other businesses follow in their footsteps but switching from instructor-led training is complicated and carries significant risks. In this article, we will make a case for moving to eLearning, present a step-by-step plan on how to do it, and warn you about the common mistakes

Contents

How Belitsoft Can Help

We are ready to bring our eLearning experience to assist you. Here’s what we can do:

  • Consulting. Assessment of your current training program, selecting the best tools, designing gamification, and more.
  • Course development. Creation of quality eLearning content in any form, from text and videos to learning games and simulations.
  • LMS. We can provide you with a ready-made learning management system to host your new digital course or develop a new one from scratch.

What is Instructor-Led Training?

Instructor-led training (ILT) refers to all kinds of learning where knowledge is transferred from person to person: school classes, university lectures, tutoring, webinars, etc. This includes both group and one-on-one training.

In the recent decade, the use of ILT has been steadily declining, while all forms of purely digital learning grew. However, it still remains widespread: 94% of the companies use it in some form, while fully digital training is utilized by 77% of firms. This is due to a whole slew of factors:

  • Some practical skills (e.g. first aid) are better taught by an actual person.
  • Corporate inertia. People don’t switch from the models that are already working.
  • Learners’ preference for communication with other people.
  • Effectiveness. ILT still ranks pretty high in terms of knowledge retention

Why You Should Switch to eLearning

There is a reason why the most effective companies include eLearning methods in their learning and development (L&D) programs. A number of them, actually.

Benefits for Business

  • Low costs. There is a number of examples demonstrating higher return-on-investment (ROI) in eLearning compared to live ILT. A computer storage media company converted its live course for technicians into a digital format and saved about USD 1.5 million over the next three years, decreasing their costs by 47%.

    A large consulting company developed an eLearning course that ended up costing USD 106 per user, instead of USD 706 with live training. Over five years they saved USD 4.5 million.

    The fact of the matter is, eLearning is much cheaper than live training due to the lack of many expenses: teacher salaries and related costs (benefits, taxes, etc.), classrooms, and other factors.

  • Scalability. eLearning is much easier to scale than ILT - just have the extra people access the same materials. Live training, on the other hand, requires extra classrooms and teachers, which makes it less cost-effective.
  • New methods. eLearning is head and shoulders above traditional training when it comes to using the cutting-edge instructional design methods. Gamification, microlearning, on-demand training, and other new approaches have proven their effectiveness in both knowledge retention and motivation, bringing value to the companies that use them.

Benefits for the Learners

  • Convenience. eLearning allows employees to study whenever and wherever they want, as long as there is a device with an internet connection. The top programs allow on-the-job training, which helps both solve pressing problems the learners might have and improve their skills at the same time.
  • Effectiveness. As shown by a number of studies, eLearning leads to better knowledge retention. The exact numbers vary from one research paper to another, but the trend is definitely there. The only caveat here is that the improved effectiveness only holds true when the eLearning programs use the new teaching methods.
  • Less training time. On average, an eLearning course is shorter than its live counterpart by 40-60%. This means less time spent training and more time with the learners’ hobbies, families, and friends.

Converting ILT to VILT

Switching training methods takes time, money, and effort. Here’s how you should go about it to make your investments count.

1. Assess the Current Situation

As you are converting your live course into a digital one, you should try to preserve the benefits of what you already have and add some more on top. In addition, you might find out that your program is too hands-on to be digitized and should stay (a common situation in the Aerospace and Healthcare domains)

One of the good assessment methods is to simply compile the components of training experience with their results. For example:

  • The teacher writes down “2x2=?”
  • The students solve the problem
  • As a result, the students learn that “2x2=4”

The main thing is to describe the actions of everyone involved and the results they should get. This will show you which parts of your live course bring the most value and should be preserved, and which can and should be changed.

2. Set the Goals

Digitizing a course for its own sake is just pretending to be productive while wasting money. You need to define what you are trying to achieve by this, be it learning outcomes (“10% more people passing the test on the first try”) or business outcomes (“25% reduction in training costs”).

SMART is one of the good ways to set your goals:

  • Specific
  • Measurable
  • Achievable/Attainable
  • Realistic/Relevant
  • Timeframe

3. Define the Methods

Now that you know what you want to achieve, it’s time to think about the ways to achieve it.

Start with brainstorming. The same idea could be implemented in a myriad of ways. Let’s get back to our simple math problem. Here are some examples of how it can be taught:

  • A video on multiplication methods
  • A learning game
  • An interactive test
  • A webinar

Research each of these to see which method would be the best for the type of knowledge or skills that you want to teach - some approaches show better results in certain knowledge areas.

4. Select the Tools

There is a variety of ways to deliver your digital learning nowadays. This stage is to pick the ones that fit your business the best.

Examples of what you might need include a learning management system (LMS) to host the courses, a separate eLearning platform, authoring tools for actually creating digital training content, etc.

Alternatively, you can select a vendor who will do the conversion for you.

5. Create the Plan

The plan for the conversion is pretty much the same as for any other project. It should include the following:

  • The goals;
  • The activities and their timeline;
  • The responsibilities of the people on your team and of the vendor (if you hire outside help);
  • The communication plan (meetings, their participants, communication methods, etc.)
  • Escalation plan (how to contact the superiors if the problem can’t be solved at the current level)

It is very likely that the timeline will shift due to miscalculations inherent in any estimating process and real life bringing unexpected circumstances - “Everyone has a plan until they get punched in the mouth” and all that. However, it is still important because it gives you a benchmark to measure your progress, as well as a structure for the work in general.

6. Convert and Test

Now that you know what you want to achieve, and how you are going to go about it, it’s time to put the planning to use. At this stage, you should already have a clear understanding of what you need and when so no sense in putting it away any longer.

The second part of this is user acceptance testing (UAT). Your predictions might turn out to be even partially untrue, so it is recommended to gather a group of people from the target audience of your course and actually test your new digital course on them. This will show the potential weak spots and areas of improvement, as well as the advantages of your new course.

Best Practices

Here’s what you should include in your conversion program:

  • Expert involvement. If you are training people to operate new coffee makers, for example, it would be best if an experienced barista is on board. They can give advice from personal experience and point out things that an outsider wouldn’t think about.
  • Content transformation. Don’t just blindly copy and paste content, even if it is good. Sometimes it can be improved by converting it to a different medium (e.g. text into video or audio).
  • Microlearning. Instead of having 10 hour-long lessons, have 40 ones that take 15 minutes each. Not only it will make training more convenient, but having more specific and condensed information on hand will improve learning outcomes.

Checklists

  • I’ve determined what’s working in the live program
  • I’ve determined what doesn’t work in the live program
  • I’ve determined the improvements I can make
  • I’ve rechecked the expected learning outcomes to fit with the new approach
  • I’ve determined whether the new program will be blended or fully automated
  • I’ve reviewed the material and picked the most important parts

Common Mistakes

These are the typical mistakes that companies make when switching from ILT:

  • Mindless conversion. Digitizing the live training program without making any changes is undermining yourself at best and a waste of time and money at worst. Many benefits of eLearning are realized only when the full extent of digital capabilities is used.
  • Not using the new approaches. Gamification, microlearning, story-based training, and other innovative teaching methods dramatically improve the efficiency of an eLearning program and are very cost-effective.
  • Trying to convert everything at once. Like any new endeavor, switching from ILT to eLearning carries risks. So it is wise to convert gradually, improving on things as you learn more about what works for you. The MVP approach would be helpful in this regard.

FAQ

What is the business case for ILT conversion?

The most common cases for this are increasing the effectiveness of an existing program, saving money on training, and updating the information along with empowering the course with innovations in instructional design.

What can be converted?

Some forms of content can be converted more easily than others. For example, you can just upload PowerPoint slides to an authoring tool and turn them into a video. Other training, like practical first aid exercises, can’t be digitized at all, although digital tracking of live exercises is possible.

Should you condense or expand content?

eLearning content tends to be more condensed than the one used in live training. However, the main thing you should do is restructure it to better fit the new delivery model. As we’ve mentioned before, microlearning approach works best.

Never miss a post! Share it!

Author
Written by
CTO / Department Head / Partner
I've been leading a department specializing in eLearning applications and Business Intelligence for 14 years.
5.0
1 review

Rate this article

Belitsoft Blog for Entrepreneurs
How to go about starting an online course business

With the advancements in technology, people are becoming more accepting of online training. For many of them sharing their knowledge...

How to Build an eLearning Platform for Selling Online Courses

Are you looking for how to build an elearning platform? Custom elearning development is the way for busineses who would...

What platform to choose for your eLearning course

In this article, we will explain what a learning platform is, which popular options are out there, and which alternatives...

Portfolio
Game-based eLearning Platform For Selling Math Training for Kids
Game-based eLearning Platform For Selling Math Training for Kids
We developed custom game-based learning platform for elementary mathematics, Dutch language and their exams for our customer - instructional designer from the Netherlands.
Game-based eLearning Platform For Selling Online Fast Typing Course
Game-based eLearning Platform For Selling Online Fast Typing Course
We developed custom game-based online typing course for our customer - instructional designer from the Netherlands.
Elearning Platform For Selling Driving Theory Online Course
Elearning Platform For Selling Driving Theory Online Course
How to build a driving theory online course business? How to create an automated sales machine with an online course? Where to begin?
Custom LMS Development For an Edtech Company
Custom LMS Development For an Edtech Company
Technologies and platforms: Joomla CMS, Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP, WEB2.0, Ajax, FlashMediaServer, Ioncube Effort: 320 man-months, ongoing

Testimonials

tichen

I expected and demanded a lot of you at Belitsoft company, but you exceeded my expectations. You acted pro-actively, challenged me at the right moments. Thanks!

Martin Beijer

CEO at Ticken B.V. (Netherlands)

EFI

We have been working for over 10 years and they have become our long-term technology partner. Any software development, programming, or design needs we have had, Belitsoft company has always been able to handle this for us.

Bjarne Mortensen

СEO at ElearningForce International (United States, Denmark)

Crimson

They use their knowledge and skills to program the product, and then completed a series of quality assurance tests. We were working in an agile way with them. Belitsoft performed very well throughout our project. We are definitely looking at Belitsoft as a long-term partner.

Eddie Nicholas

Service Delivery Director at Crimson (United Kingdom)

Berkeley

I highly recommend Belitsoft for website design and development. We were up against a tight deadline to launch the project. The work was delivered on time and within budget! I will continue working with Belitsoft as a valued partner for our web development!

Adrienne Herd

Program Administrator at UC Berkeley (United States)

Hathway

We have worked with Belitsoft team over the past few years on projects involving much customized programming work. They are knowledgeable and are able to complete tasks on schedule, meeting our technical requirements. We would recommend them to anyone who is in need of custom programming work.

Kevin M. Rice

Main Partner at Hathway Tech (United States)

Howcast

Belitsoft company is able to make changes instantly. One of our internal engineers has commented about how clean their code is. Belitsoft seems to know what they're doing, which I appreciate.

Darlene Liebman

Co-Founder at HOWCAST MEDIA (United States)

Fraunhofer

It was a great pleasure working with Belitsoft. Software Development Company. New requirements and adjustments were implemented fast and precisely. We can recommend Belitsoft and are looking forward to start a follow-up project.

Renè Reiners

Deputy Head of Division at Fraunhofer FIT (Germany)

Apollo Matrix

Belitsoft company has been able to provide senior developers with the skills to support back end, native mobile and web applications. We continue today to augment our existing staff with great developers from Belitsoft.

Pete Johnson

CEO at Apollo Matrix (United States)

Key2Know

Belitsoft company delivered dedicated development team for our products and technical specialists for our clients time to time custom development needs. We highly recommend that you use this company if you want the same benefits.

Bo Sejer Frandsen

Managing Director at Key2Know A/S in 2012 (Denmark)

Regen Med

We approached BelITsoft with a concept, and they were able to convert it into a multi-platform software solution. Their team members are skilled, agile and attached to their work, all of which paid dividends as our software grew in complexity.

Nicolas Tierney

COO at Regenerative Medicine LLC (United States)

Moblers

Having worked with Belitsoft as a service provider, I must say that I'm very pleased with the company's policy. Belitsoft guarantees first-class service through efficient management, great expertise, and a systematic approach to business.. I would strongly recommend Belitsoft's services to anyone wanting to get the right IT products in the right place at the right time.

Guy Doron

CEO at Moblers (Israel)

Showcast

If you are looking for a true partnership Belitsoft company might be the best choice for you. They have proven to be most reliable, polite and professional. The team managed to adapt to changing requirements and to provide me with best solutions. I strongly recommend Belisoft.

Ivo Downes

Director at ShowCast Limited (Germany)

Let's Talk Business
Do you have a software development project to implement? We have people to work on it. We will be glad to answer all your questions as well as estimate any project of yours. Use the form below to describe the project and we will get in touch with you within 1 business day.
Contact form
* Maximum file size is 20MB
to top