Blockers to Finishing Your Online Course

#4 Wrong Medium

You might expect me to argue that anything can be taught online. Well, it can’t – at least not effectively. My favourite example of this is learning to drive. You can only teach so much before someone needs to physically get in a vehicle and have that experience! Certainly if they’re not going to end up in a Channel Five documentary at some point, anyway …

But this is less about online courses as a delivery tool in general and more about thinking around how you can translate experiential exercises into an online environment. It can be a blocker if you know the subject matter very well as a face-to face offering – especially if you’ve been training it for a number of years. You may fall into the trap of trying to fit a square peg into a round hole.

Terry equipped to create and sellThe ability to think of a different form of delivery is hard – particularly when that delivery needs to work for a learner in isolation. It also needs to be engaging and with just the right level of challenge – too easy or too hard (in perception and practice) will result in it being skipped (unless you require some kind of formal assessment).

Imagine being told that you’re required to deliver your usual face-to-face course on a particular subject, but that there can be no group interaction, plus learners will be walking in and out at random points as well as probably doing something else such as checking their phones or listening to music!

That’s effectively how you need to think about online delivery. So if at this point you’re thinking, ‘Wow! Why would anyone bother trying to train online?!”, I understand! But really, it’s a question of going back to basics and thinking about the best way of getting your training across so the learning is effective, but delivered in a completely different way.

Here are some things to help you achieve this:


Only take a single chunk of learning at a time and consider how best to just get that across. If you had to explain it to someone over the telephone, what would you be saying to get the point over?


Think carefully about your visual aids. Slides are great, as long as you have regular visual stimulation i.e. something on the screen should ideally be moving at least every 30-60 seconds. There is a balance to be made – too much information distracts from what you’re saying, too little or too abstract (e.g. a pretty, but unrelated picture) and the minds will wander!


Consider exercises you would normally include as group work. Go back to basics with your learning objectives and think about how you might coach someone to reach the same conclusions as you get with the group work.


Depending on the method of hosting for your course, you might include more in the way of quizzes and tests to embed learning than perhaps you would include in a face-to-face version. Although many platforms still promote multiple choice as effective, increasingly better options for quizzing are being included. Search around for something a little more exciting to include if you can!


Don’t forget to keep an element of gamification in the way you deliver. Humans like reward – no matter how small or intangible. Sometimes the best results come from a simple well done, which is easily delivered online.


What other ways have you used to deliver something differently from a face-to-face version? Share below: