Best Practices for Moving from Live to Online Learning

By Katy Mullin, Director of Course Development at Scitent

Scitent has been helping clients shift from in-person to online learning for over 20 years and we’ve worked with clients that range from medical associations and nonprofits to start-ups and for-profit businesses. Over the years, we’ve learned a lot about successfully transitioning to an online learning environment – from getting the most out of subject matter experts to employing adaptive learning techniques.

Moving Content Online – the Basics

Many times, an organization’s first foray into online learning entails using an existing in-person PowerPoint-based training event to create an eLearning course. The challenge with this is filling in the “voice” behind the bullets in the presentation. After all, one of the keys to a successful PowerPoint presentation is brevity. But without details, it is difficult to create compelling content for the online environment.

Here are a few strategies for success that we’ve implemented:

  • Watch the subject matter expert present. Before transitioning the content online, it’s always a good idea for the content creator to attend the live training and hear the presentation firsthand. Take copious notes to ensure you have details of the presentation in the expert’s voice.
  • Use video or audio to make the content come to life. The human brain is hardwired to respond to conversation and video helps engage your learners. You might even be able to utilize the in-person expert in a video for your online course.
  • Use your subject matter expert as a mentor or avatar online. Avatars can guide your learners through the content, ask questions of your learners to gauge comprehension and help keep them engaged with your content.

The Next Phase: Performance-Based Learning Best Practices

Moving your content online is just one part of the equation. You also need to consider how to enable learners to best absorb your information in this new environment. This is where performance-based learning principles come into play.

As adults, performance – rather than simply the acquisition of knowledge – is critical. To influence a learner toward better performance, you can apply personalized and adaptive learning. This is an approach where the learner’s competency is measured through a series of assessments that are combined with integrated, corrective learning resources and feedback that appear within your content at just the right time for the learner.

After all, knowledge dissociated from its use context is not particularly helpful. It’s the application – knowing when and how to apply the knowledge – that counts. The goal here is 100% mastery of the content.

Important course development components to consider:

  • Personalized/adaptive learning through mastery performance
  • “Drip learning” – where smaller, digestible bits of information are sent to the learner over time to increase retention and promote recall
  • Learning communities that promote conversations about content, as well as ratings on content and suggested improvements

Learn More
To find out how transitioning your live content to an online learning environment and utilizing performance-based principles can help you inspire learners and build engagement – as well as revenue – please contact us.


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