Think about the last time your employer migrated to a new platform you weren’t familiar with. You probably spent some time looking around and playing with the features of your new online learning — not before feeling intimidated and hesitant. It felt foreign, and, let’s face it, you may have resisted the change at first.
This is the experience for many adult learners as companies adopt online training. Especially those who are less tech-savvy or are used to working out in the field instead of from a desk — like community health workers.
CHW training is essential for any community health program. But if you’re planning to transition to a remote learning environment for your CHW training, you’ll need to make the process as seamless as possible for your staff. Otherwise, you’ll have a hard time earning buy-in and keeping engagement (and spirits) high.
With that in mind, we put together the top features you’ll need to choose when preparing an online learning program for your health agency.
5 Essential Features for Online Learning Any CHW Program Needs
A User-friendly Interface
Any online learning program needs to consider the needs of its learners. Community health workers are used to in-person interaction and time out in the field. They don’t typically spend hours on computers. And considering the communities CHWs work with, many may not even have a computer or reliable internet at home.
Considering this, it’s important to make sure that your CHW training is easy to use. User experience is one of the most important features for online learning. If your users struggle with navigating through your LMS (learning management system), they’re less likely to complete them.
Choose a platform where users can easily access learning modules, assessments, resources, and forums. Bonus points if the learning interface is available in multiple languages to account for your staff’s diverse backgrounds. And create a resource library including the most common questions or difficulties your learners may face throughout the course, like login issues, uploading/downloading files, where to find documents, and how to engage in the forum (which we’ll cover next).
Now that you know your interface is user-friendly, you’ll want to make sure your CHWs know first why they’re taking the training.
You want to establish a clear connection between the training program and its benefits. Your learners need to know how exactly this effort will pay off. The benefit may be as simple as complying with local regulations or something more aspirational, like earning skills for a program expansion or a leadership role.
At the same time, learners need clear learning paths to understand what they will learn during each module. So it helps to have an outline of the training, much like you see in college programs where each subject has a purpose and builds up to the next. These features help them stay motivated and engaged in online learning.
An effective learning path should start with a brief introduction to the subject matter, followed by a series of lessons that build upon each other. This approach helps people learn at their own pace and gives them confidence as they move forward.
You can share this learning path as a pinned post in the forum for everyone to see as needed.
At CHWTraining, we designed learning subscriptions based on the top skills your community health workers need for a successful health program. All you have to do is subscribe to a learning track and enroll your staff. Learn more here.
Successful online training starts with engagement if you’re hosting a live (vs. self-paced) course. Communication features in your LMS, like the forum or discussion board, are priceless for online learning. They help spark conversation and share ideas like you would in in-person training. They’re also a great place to measure how your learners are doing with course materials and even with the logistics of the program.
You may also find private messaging or chat rooms, which can help learners connect with instructors or with one another.
We know you’re starting your online learning program with SMART goals. But those are only effective if you’re able to measure the impact of your course — which is why assessments and evaluations are crucial features for online learning success.
There are many types of evaluations to choose from. At the very least, we recommend a pre- and post-assessment, meaning an assessment to be completed before the start of the course, which you can use as a benchmark, and one completed at the end to evaluate your learners’ progress.
Other than pre- and post-assessments, you can include evaluations per module or per subject, depending on the length of your course.
However, you do need to choose an LMS that makes it easy to create and administer evaluations. Otherwise, you’ll have to get creative with how you manage them.
Learning analytics is one of the most important features for online learning. Analytics tools allow you to track how well your CHW training programs are performing. These tools will help you identify where your users struggle and provide suggestions for improvement.
A good learning analytics tool should provide detailed information about each learner’s performance. For example, it should tell you what percentage of learners completed each lesson, which lessons were skipped, and which sections were most difficult. In addition, it should allow you to see where learners struggled the most.
And you can complement your LMS’s analytics with a quick survey for learners to complete once the course is over. Ask them about what they struggled with, what they enjoyed or found helpful, and how they feel the overall learning experience went.
Your Online Learning Success Depends on Carefully Choosing the Right Features
Community health workers are on the ground and getting things done. So they won’t have countless hours to figure out a complicated system. They may even lack the tech knowledge to run complex tools. All of these are barriers to online learning success. So if you’re managing online learning, your choice of features will make or break the program. Make it easy for your CHW learners to gain the skills to serve your community. Book a consultation to learn about the benefits CHWTraining’s subscriptions.