Everything eLearning Pros Need To Know About Training Contracts
Joseph R. Codde first introduced the term “Learning Contract” in 1996, years before the term “eLearning” was even coined. However, it’s the perfect addition to online training programs that lack structure and learner motivation. Applied in a corporate setting, “training contracts” hold corporate learners accountable for their own L&D, while still giving them the support and resources they require. Thus, they are more likely to actively engage in the online training experience and receive the full benefits. Here are 8 tips to use training contracts in online training.
1. Let Corporate Learners Take The Lead
Corporate learners must be able to construct their own training contracts based on personal learning goals and objectives. If they need some help identifying areas for improvement, provide self-assessments that shed light on strengths and weaknesses. Training contracts should be as specific as possible so that corporate learners can focus their efforts, instead of trying to concentrate on a multitude of tasks or topics, which often leads to cognitive overwhelm.
2. Include A Detailed Timeline And List Of Goals
Training contracts should also contain a detailed timeline of when each milestone will be achieved. For example, the date by which the corporate learner must complete their compliance certification course and take the final exam, or a schedule that highlights when they’ll achieve incremental goals that support their primary goal. If there are multiple outcomes involved, encourage corporate learners to break them down into easier digestible tasks. Otherwise, they may lose their motivation and drive before they reach the finish line.
3. Outline Relevant Online Training Resources And Activities
Corporate learners need online training resources, tools, and activities to accomplish their training goals within the specified time frame. Once they’ve chosen their milestones and overall objectives, they should turn to the online instructor/facilitator for recommendations. In this case, the online instructor serves as a guide who helps corporate learners stay on track and provides them with the support they require. It’s best to create a list of relevant online training resources, such as online training courses or links to external tools. For instance, eLearning articles, online training tutorials, or videos that will benefit the corporate learner and help them bridge the gap.
4. Develop Clear Assessment Criteria
Success means something different for everyone. Thus, you need to clearly define the criteria corporate learners must use to evaluate their progress. For example, online training assessments or instructor-led evaluations that focus on their areas for improvement. You can even use online training simulations and branching scenarios to test their practical knowledge application. Ensure that your criteria are measurable and clarify expectations. Corporate learners should know exactly what they need to do in order to achieve each milestone. Once again, they must play an active role in the criteria development process.
5. Have A Feedback System In Place
How do corporate learners know when they are on track or need to adjust their online training course? The answer is receiving ongoing feedback from the online instructor or facilitator. You can also use peer-based feedback if the online instructors play a less active role. The key is to provide constructive input that corporate learners can use to guide their efforts. It’s also essential for them to offer their own feedback based on their personal experiences. For example, they would like more interactive or audio-based resources that cater to their learning preferences. The feedback system should be clearly outlined in the training contract, including how often it will be exchanged and through which outlets.
6. Schedule Regular Progress Checks
It’s wise to schedule regular meetings wherein the corporate learner and online instructor or manager can discuss how to move forward. As an example, the corporate learner is not achieving their milestones as expected. Thus, they may require additional online training resources or additional one-on-one support, such as a mentorship online training program. You may wish to set the date for each meeting in the original training contract, or simply schedule each meeting a week in advance. It all depends on each party’s personal preferences and agenda.
7. Re-Evaluate The Terms Periodically
Nothing is set in stone. A training contract that works well for a corporate learner now may not be suitable in months to come. This is why it’s essential to periodically review training contracts and make adjustments when necessary. Their objectives may have evolved over time. The milestones need to be adjusted if the corporate learner is struggling to keep up, or if they are advancing more rapidly than expected. It’s a good idea to schedule progress check meetings to ensure that everyone’s on the same page. This also gives you the opportunity to analyze the existing training contract item by item and verify that it still addresses areas for improvement. For instance, the corporate learner may have already bridged a skill gap that is covered later in the contract timeline.
8. Provide Online Support Resources
In addition to the regularly scheduled meetings and peer-based feedback, corporate learners should have access to online support resources, such as social media groups, online discussions, corporate eLearning blogs, and FAQs. In some cases, a question can be answered immediately, instead of having to set up a video conferencing session with the online instructor. Microlearning online training libraries are also an invaluable tool for remote learners. These online training repositories feature bite-sized online training resources that are quick and convenient. Another notable characteristic is distinct categories that allow for easy access. For example, the online training repository is broken down into skill-based sections or topics. You might even consider learner-generated microlearning online training libraries. Corporate learners have the chance to upload their own online training content or share links with their peers. Last but not least, consider an online mentorship program that provides one-on-one support.
Training contracts empower corporate learners to take charge of their own skill and knowledge development. You can use these 8 tips to create effective training contracts, as well as the framework that goes along with this learner-centered strategy. It’s also important to collect continual feedback from your audience in order to personalize your approach.
Do you know how to create online training courses that allow your employees to hone their talents and achieve professional growth? Read the article 8 Tips To Facilitate Professional Growth In Online Training to discover top tips to give your staff the support and online training resources they need to be their very best.