Not all companies understand that their employees should be their biggest investments, but those that do, tend to recruit with a view of the long-term potential in mind. But having potential doesn’t mean much if it’s never developed — and organisation-sourced training is the key to making that happen, turning aptitude into skills.
Read more about why elearning is the future of employee training here.
This is why more businesses every year are turning to elearning to help their employees grow; including small businesses. It’s hard to accurately chart progress without a robust system in place, and workers who aren’t properly incentivised will write training off as a time-consuming indulgence. This is the reason for the existence of employee Learning Management Systems. With an LMS, a company can keep its training schemes carefully tracked and controlled, ensuring that targets are met.
An elearning system is all about the content though.
An LMS is a shell, a structure to fill with great resources, so it’s entirely possible to set up a great training framework and fill it with ineffective course materials. Your course copy needs to be informative, and it needs to be engaging: anything less, and your trainees will mentally check out.
The better the course copywriting becomes, the more effective the course will be. It’s all part of a commitment to instructional design; every part has to be carefully crafted to best meet the needs of the learner. So how do you write copy to make your LMS more effective? Here are some core tips to follow:
Strike a supportive but motivational tone
Many of your employees may have grown to dislike training materials. They might see them as pointless, or dull, or uninformative, or some mixture of the three. And when you assign someone a training course, you might not have an opportunity to explain why they should invest their time in it. This is why the tone of your course copy is so important.
The introduction to your course copy should set out why it matters (more on that next) while the tone will significantly affect how much the reader actually wants to get involved. Consider the difference between, “in this training course, you’ll learn how to fulfil some basic web development tasks” and, “you can do web development; you just need some pointers. In this course, we’ll go through some simple steps to build up your skills. By the end, you’ll have built your own website!”
The first summary is dry and formal. The second is more relaxed, and makes a point of reassuring the reader — they can do it, and they will do it. That’s very motivational, and it gives them something to look forward to achieving. Even though learning is achieved in steps, it can seem quite intimidating at the start, so anything you can do to alleviate that will help. If you do everything you can to make it accessible but still encounter objections, you’ll need to decide whether you’ve made bad hires, and examine employee feedback more closely.
Nail your introductions and summaries
Moving between two topics or sections is a tough task because the end of one marks a sensible breakpoint. After a trainee completes one part, they may leave the course untouched, meaning that they may have forgotten what they were last looking at. Your job is to wrap up each section with an assessment and summary, then provide a solid transition into the next with a comparable introduction. You want to avoid employees abandoning courses early so that they can upskill quickly.
Read more about the ways you can increase course engagement and reduce drop-off rates.
You should have set up a clear goal for the entire course, so explain how the trainee is steadily getting closer to achieving that goal. You should have progression tracking at the side to show where that particular section stands in relation to the entire set, so they can be reminded of everything they’ve completed, as well as what they can look forward to next. It will also allow them to easily revisit old material for a refresher.
There should also be a clear and easily-accessible summary screen to allow a trainee to quickly review every aspect of their course. It should focus on achievements — gamification is an important part of modern training, so why not throw in some positive comparisons to other trainees? For instance, it might say “Your scored 14% higher than average on this test. Nice work!” By building this type of feedback system into your elearning platform, you can keep trainees motivated and help them track where they stand.
Be completely clear about the steps
An elearning course will do more than just set out information to be consumed. It will focus on providing interesting tasks that apply new concepts to example scenarios. These kinds of tasks can be built upon for instance, with the web development training example, one task could be writing the HTML code for a button, with a later task using that button to create an action, and yet another task using that action for a function on the in-progress website.
In many cases, the tasks can span the online and offline worlds. You might have a task to implement something outside of the training course which is then recorded in the elearning platform through xAPI. Blended learning is potent because it keeps changing things up, and it’s easier to engage with actions that require you to do more than sit at a computer or mobile device.
Your copy needs to not only introduce the tasks in a clear and concise way, but it also needs to ensure that trainees always know what’s expected of them and how they can get their training tasks done. Data validation is a great example. If there’s a task that requires a numerical answer to two decimal places, it needs to be made clear in the copy, or the trainee might get the right answer but be unable to get it accepted (this would be hugely frustrating).
Again, you’re trying to meet the needs of the learner, so it doesn’t only matter how clear you think a task is. If the people you’re targeting don’t know what they’re supposed to do, you need to massively rework your content until it’s as straightforward as you can make it.
Training courses take time and effort to create or complete, but the more time you spend on developing and polishing them, the more effective they’ll prove in upskilling your employees. Use these tips to improve your LMS copywriting, and the resulting copy will continue to return value well into the future.