7 Tips To Create An Effective Online Training Certification Program Christopher Pappas Published on October 24, 2016 Online training certifications can be used for just about every task, process, or compliance training course within your organization. They increase employee motivation and ensure that everyone meets uniform standards. In this article, I'll share 7 tips for creating an effective online training certification program for your corporate learners. An online training certificate is a mark of distinction. It shows that an employee has successfully completed specialized online training, and that they are now proficient in a specific task or skill. It can also serve as proof that they are up-to-date with current rules and regulations, as is the case for compliance online training certifications. In some cases, an online training certificate can even help them to advance within the organization and distinguish themselves from their peers. To create a winning online training certification program that provides all of these benefits, however, there are 7 top tips that you may want to follow. 1. Research your audience. Conducting thorough audience research is integral. To identify the benefits and applications you must first discover the problems or challenges that corporate learners commonly face. This will help you to pinpoint how you can address their needs and what should be included in your online training certification course. For instance, employees who are taking an advanced online training certification course must first complete the prerequisites. By studying these prerequisites you can identify what they already know, what they need to know, and how you can bridge the knowledge gap. Without surveys, interviews, focus groups, and observations you run the risk of creating redundant or extraneous online training content. 2. Be clear about the benefits and applications. Employees are more likely to actively engage in the online training certification process if they know what's in it for them. How is the online training certification course going to benefit them in the real world, and what are they going to be able to do with the skills or knowledge they acquire? It's important to be as specific as possible and to link every topic to a real world application. For example, the introduction to your safety online training certification course should highlight all of the main objectives. There shouldn't be any ambiguity or confusion about WHY employees need to take the online training certification course. 3. Create mobile-friendly modules for convenient access. Certification training isn't usually thought of as being fun and exciting, which means that employees tend to dread it. This is particularly the case with compliance online training certification programs. Creating mobile-friendly modules can help to increase the motivation and engagement, however, as it gives them the opportunity to access the material whenever it's most convenient. They don't have to stick to a strict schedule and can access the modules at any time. Bear in mind that mobile certification activities should be brief, easily digestible, and focus on one key idea or concept. For example, a 3-minute online scenario that centers on a specific task would be ideal. 4. Know the rules and regulations involved. Most compliance online training programs involve rules, regulations, and procedures that employees must follow. For instance, there may be statewide protocols that your HR department should know before they hire a new staff member or terminate employment. Otherwise, you run the risk of incurring fees, penalties, and potentially even lawsuits. This is why it's essential to know all of the details before you design your online training certification program. Do your research, consult with legal professionals, and hire a Subject Matter Expert to help you create an online training certification course that is "by the book". 5. Test their progress to identify gaps. Online training certification programs are all about proficiency. Corporate learners must be able to show that the can perform a specific task or have acquired a new skill in order to receive their certificate of completion. It's wise to periodically test their progress throughout the online training certification course so that you identify gaps early on and take the appropriate measures. In fact, you might even consider a pre-assessment in order to get a "baseline" reading that you can use for comparison. Corporate learners who are not progressing as expected may benefit from supplemental online training resources, such as eLearning videos or simulations that focus on targeted skills or processes. 6. Include stories and scenarios to boost engagement. Online training certification programs can be lively, engaging, and emotionally compelling if you use stories that create a connection. ELearning scenarios are yet another valuable tool, as they stress the real-world benefits and allow corporate learners to apply what they've learned. Make sure that your stories and branching scenarios are in-line with your goals and objectives, and that they feature characters and settings that are relatable. For example, a branching scenario that includes actual images from the workplace and challenges what employees face on a regular basis will be more effective than a generic online scenario. 7. Offer refresher online training courses to keep certificates current. It's always a good idea to put an expiration date on your online training certificates, as information needs to be refreshed every now and then. Remember that skills, tasks, and knowledge has a tendency to diminish over time, particularly when it isn't applied often. Thus, you should consider refresher courses that allow corporate learners to review, recap, and repeat the information at least once a year. Send them email reminders to let them know when an online training certificate is about to lapse and include links to the online training course or modules. Webinars or virtual training events are also a good option, as corporate learners receive all of the information they need in a condensed, interactive format. Online training certification programs don't have to be boring. In fact, you can use these 7 tips to increase employee motivation and get them excited about the online training certification process. Stressing the benefits up front, integrating emotionally-compelling stories, and offering continual training are the secrets to an effective online training certification strategy.