5 tips to determine the starting level of your online training

Evie Schellens

It’s the superpower of your online training: meeting your users’ learning needs. Learning hubs contain useful tools which create specific learning paths for your users, as well as take in knowledge via different content formats. But somewhere in developing your online training, you get to a point where you have to determine your starting level for your target audience. Here are 6 tips to successfully overcome this stage of developing an online training.

1. Don't aim too high

Determine your target audience and don’t aim too high! Which means, the bigger or wider your target audience becomes, the harder it becomes to determine an average level for your user. 

It’s helpful to create an example user, in other words: a persona. Think of features such as:

  • Age
  • Home situation/external factors
  • Educational level
  • Ambitions
  • Interest areas
  • Online skills

By creating a profile you are one step closer to the ideal format for your online training. It nudges you to think about certain choices. For example: if my age group is 50+, how useful is it to show off fancy online features in your training? This is a fictional example to show you the importance of researching your target audience.


2. Set goals

Still thinking about reaching a wide audience? It might be good to separate your online training into three levels: junior, intermediate and advanced. Start off with the junior training, which is available and workable for your entire audience, then adjust, where necessary, to an intermediate and advanced level. Work together with colleagues to determine your crucial elements and define skills that are relevant to all three levels. By working with goals you get a clear reference point on what are important aspects of your training. So, work around your goals. Do not forget to communicate your set goals to your users. A user is able to estimate whether they are on level or possess the required skills to participate.


3. Get your users involved

An important aspect for a successful training is to present it to the user, your organisation. It is your area of expertise to build an online training, but if your user does not connect to the content of the training; it has failed. The online training must be relatable to the user and the business. So talk to your colleagues and users or, better yet, start a focus group.


4. Pre-selection

Test your online training, prior to the implementation. Based on the outcome and scores you’re able to advise on optimisations of your training. More depth, maybe an extra layer to your course or challenging users more within their level. This indicates that you find it important that users benefit from the training as much as possible.


5. Start slow

In order for your target audience to get along: always start your training with the easiest part and most compatible with the current level of your users. Then ease them up to higher levels. You want them to study more, not drop out. For example: part 1 is very explanatory, you clarify difficult terms, while in part 2 explanations are optional via a pop-up, then finally in part 3 difficult terms are unclarified as they are part of level 3.


6. Evaluate

The best part of working online is that you are alway able to edit and adjust where needed. One of the biggest assumptions, and pitfalls, is thinking that when you’ve gone live with your training, it won’t need any adjusting or optimising. Use this opportunity to do an interim evaluation of your training