What’s Different About Training for Software Applications?

The custom development of training for software applications requires a specialized approach.

Such training can be delivered as an e-learning solution, as instructor-led, in a virtual classroom, or via some blend of all these approaches. A blended approach often works best, and many clients choose this route.

Instructor-led

If instructor-led is the alternative you think is best based on the number and distribution of the participants and other decision factors, we will design and create the course materials, including the presentation, instructor guide and the participant guide, based on the individual software application and the ultimate work product/activity needed. Envision will also provide an instructor as needed to teach the software application or provide a “Train the Trainer” session to enable your current training staff to deliver the materials.

E-learning

If e-learning is the way you choose, the possibilities get very interesting. Envision will create online modules and job aids to train the participants on the software application. There are a few ways to go about it, based on the importance of the software to the organization, its complexity, and your willingness to invest in interactivity.

Consider the following increasing levels of interactivity as the basis for the e-learning development:

  • The course would utilize explanatory text, application screenshots and field definitions, much like an online manual.
  • The course is an automated presentation, showing a run-through of how the application works.
  • The course presents automated simulations of the use of the application, showing actual screen captures of mouse movement and the steps needed to complete activities.
  • The course does all of the above and also allows the participant to actually practice using the application in simulation mode by being guided through the clicks and activities necessary to learn the software.

Webinar

When considering training for software applications, a virtual classroom approach is often the best way to go because it provides the best of both worlds. It allows you to exploit the full potential of the interactivity enabled by e-learning while gaining the benefits of having the learning session led by an instructor. A virtual instructor provides presence and a guide through the material and gives the participants someone with whom to interact, both during the presentation and after. We have found that phone call symposiums after a virtual classroom session provide a great way to follow up, so participants can ask questions and apply the knowledge they have gained to their particular situations.

And of course, if you really want a blended solution, nothing stops you from running a true instructor-led class with all the participants in the same room going through the same e-learning course at the same time. The combinations are endless and we are happy to work with you to find the right blend of technologies to get the job done within your allotted budget.

Making Webinars Successful

Webinars are a combination of pure e-learning and traditional instructor-led training. In a virtual classroom, the learning is instructor-led over the Web. Participants are not physically in one place, but they all are online at the same time as the instructor and also get the benefit of each other’s virtual presence. Virtual classrooms can provide the benefits of the traditional classroom to large numbers of people without incurring the usual costs (e.g., facilities, travel expenses, etc.) and logistical inconveniences.

However, for a virtual classroom solution to work, as much classroom interaction as possible should be replicated online. Instructors and participants should be able hear each other, via streaming of audio over the Web or via a phone hookup. Ideally, the instructor would also be seen (and even the participants if they so choose) via Webcam.

Participants should also be able to see the presentation and materials, and any live additions the instructor chooses to make. Instructors and participants should be able to communicate, either with public question and answer periods or with filtered questions via some form of chat (e.g., IM). Virtual classes are also easily recorded and can be viewed at any time and are not limited by the size of a physical class.

The opportunities are limitless, as are the alternative approaches to custom learning solutions. Of course any of these approaches can be blended in any way in a single learning solution, making the possibilities even more interesting!

As Envision works with you to assess your training needs and create a custom training solution, we will help you select the learning approach that gets you the best bang for your buck.