How to train your team… and boost productivity!

Founders, COOs, marketing managers, and HR teams have been reaching out to us about training their teams. Typically someone from their team will start researching different platforms called Learning Management Systems (“LMS”) but ultimately the problem is content:

How are you going to create the content to supercharge your team’s productivity?

For a 1-2 hour course you should expect to invest at least 100 hours of your time to develop and host the content. The alternative would be to have us guide you through the process, or we can get on the driver’s seat for a more ‘white glove’ outsourced service.

But here we’re going to share a DIY step by step process to generate content and start building your own ‘corporate knowledge base’, all the way from scripting your lessons to producing your video and uploading it on a hosting platform like Teachable.

Step 1: Create an outline

You may be tempted to hire a videographer for a day (or use a tripod with an iphone) and start recording off the top of your head what you’d like to teach your team.  It seems faster and simpler.  But you’re going to face many challenges down the road, and ultimately your content may be un-usable.

The problem is that we’re all spoiled by the amount and quality of content that they consume every day. So if you watch a video that a) hasn’t been edited properly, and b) doesn’t communicate very clearly or has redundant information, you’re not going to engage.

The goal of creating training content is that your team will engage and absorb the content. But if the videos aren’t high quality your content is going to fall flat and the entire effort will be wasted.

That’s why it’s super-important to have your training fully scripted.  The benefit is two-fold:

  1. You will create high-quality content that doesn’t waste your team’s time, and
  2. It will be much more cost-effective to edit.

Because after you record your content, you need to sit down and edit it (or, more likely, hire an editor to comb through it and make it presentable). If your content isn’t scripted, the editing process is guaranteed to be a nightmare.

We’ve attempted to produce un-scripted long-form content and it just doesn’t work for online training. You will be hitting your head against a wall very soon, and ultimately scrap the entire project.  So just spend the time upfront to properly script your content.

The problem now is how to create the script – it sounds easier than it is when you’re starting at a blank sheet of paper.

That’s why all you have to do in this step is create a high-level outline. What would go in the introduction, what’s the motivation of the content you’re creating and why would someone want to watch it, then what are you going to teach and how do you break it down into steps… These are the key points you’ll cover in your training.

Another tip here is to think in terms of short modules of about 2 to 5 minutes each. That’s 300-750 words of text.  Short modules result in a much more effective course for 2 reasons:

a. Our attention spans are getting shorter and shorter, and your audience will get distracted at work sooner or later.

b. Your audience will feel more accomplished and want to come back for more once they see that they’re making progress. And it’s easier to grasp project when visually you’re knocking out modules fast.  It’s all psychological, but it works!

Step 2: Talk about it

Now that you have an outline, it’s time to populate it with real content. But instead of starting to type, you may find it much easier to talk about it. Especially if it’s not just your expertise but you want to distill knowledge from a few people in your organization.

Set up at least 1 hour in a conference room and talk with them about the key points from your outline. Don’t worry about editing or other aspects yet, just get all the content out there… and make sure you record it with an iphone.

Step 3: Transcribe the recording

Once you have the recording, you can upload the audio file to a service like Rev where they charge $1/minute and you’ll have your document back in a day or so.  So if you recorded 60 minutes of talking it would cost you $60 to get a text document back with everything that was said.

Don’t expect 100% accuracy but the clearer you speak and the more organized the discussion the better (which is why it helps to have an outline and only have 1 person speak at a time, with minimal interruptions from the group).

Step 4: Edit the transcript into a Script

Now that you have a document in front of you, you can edit and enhance it.  Take out anything that’s being repeated, add details where necessary, and even add new segments if something was missed before.

This is much easier to do when you have already captured the bulk of the content.  But even if you find the content too much and it’s overwhelming to go through it, the free-flow discussion was still very helpful because now you have all the content in your head and it’s easier to write about it.

Step 5: Create a deck

Every online training course needs to be delivered in the form of video.  Nobody is going to read through text or go through a presentation and actually learn anything.  But maybe you don’t want to be on camera, or it can be challenging to video record cost-effectively (due to lighting or noise issues, etc.), or you’re concerned that your audience will tune-out after a few minutes of a ‘talking head’ video – that’s what we call videos where all you see if a person talking to you (and yes, it’s easy to zone out after a while).

A cheaper and more effective solution is to create a powerpoint presentation that enhances key points of your script.

The deck can be very simple. Some slides can have 3-4 bullet points with key points to remember. Other slides can have royalty-free photos you find on websites like Shutterstockdepositphotos or Pexels. You can add a key message in bold text on those and they can really break up your presentation so it’s more exciting and engaging for your viewers.

At the end, this presentation will become part of your training video. Your script will be the voice over, the deck will be the visual, and they will all sync together into a video file. That’s the ultimate deliverable that you’re working towards.

Step 6: Record the voice over

The next step is to actually record the voice over. The “budget” version would be to use your iphone, and it can give surprisingly good results!

Alternatively, you can invest $100 or more for a professional mic like the Blue Yeti microphone that’s popular with podcasters. However, it can actually be more challenging to get good sound from the Yeti if you don’t have the right setup.

For a more high-end solution, you’ll want to outsource this to a voice over pro.  You can find the right person on platforms like Voices123 but be prepared to pay in the order of $3-5,000 for a 30-minute recording. Here are some pricing guidelines published online.

Step 7: Create the video

Now you have your voice over recording, your presentation deck, and all you need is to create a video where the slides of the deck sync up to the voice over. To do that, you can use some free tools but the one we’ve used in the past and is very easy to use is TechSmith’s Camtasia.

You create a new project, start playing your audio recording, run your presentation full-screen, and start screencasting through Camtasia. Screencasting means that you’re recording everything that’s happening on your screen.  Then simply flip through the deck as the voice over plays.

When the screencast is over, Camtasia has recorded everything, and you can export into an MP4 video file. That’s the file that you will upload on your LMS platform as part of a learning module.

You will have 1 video for each module, and each video will be 2-5 minutes long. For a 1-2 hour course you’ll have ~20 modules on average and you should expect to spend ~100 hours on it.

Step 8: Host & publish

Once you have all your transcripts, presentation decks, and videos, you’re ready to create your course! You need a platform that will host all that material and is easy to use for your audience.

You can get lost in the myriads of LMS options out there… so we narrowed it down to just a couple of options. But if you search for LMS you can form your own opinion after a few hours of research.

Perhaps the simplest, most user-friendly and cost-effective platform is Teachable. It has a very easy dashboard to upload all your content, and you can incorporate quizzes and discussion forums. It has some more bells and whistles that are pertinent for course creators (people who make money by creating and selling their courses) but you can ignore those for your internal team’s purposes. For $399/yr you can host unlimited courses and videos, and have unlimited “students”.  It also includes basic quizzes (not grading), drip course content (you release the content in stages so someone can’t just binge-watch the entire course).

If you want to kick things up a notch, you can work with an authoring tool like Elucidat, which enables you to create highly customized scenario-based interactive lessons. Your lessons will be more engaging and have a wow factor.  But it will take a serious time commitment to develop them. Also, you’d have to host these on a more traditional LMS like Docebo, and the costs can quickly add up.  The authoring platform can cost $2,500-5,000 per designer per year, and the LMS can be $20-50 per student per year.

Do it for me!

Some people won’t have the time to develop and host the content, but realize that this content can be invaluable. You can train your team to be more productive and your salespeople to be more effective.  Imagine if you could ‘download’ your top marketer’s or sales person’s knowledge to the rest of your team… The value differential between an average and a great marketer can be upwards of $100,000 per year!

Here are 2 “do it for me” options we offer at this time:

OPTION A: You created the scripts and we video-record an actor delivering the content, add titles and transition slides, edit & produce the videos, and host them for you. The starting cost for 1-2 hours of content would be in the $15,000 range.

OPTION B: We have a kickoff call to create the outline, followed by extensive interviews to collect all the content, then we transcribe and edit, and produce the videos same as in Option A. The starting cost for 1-2 hours of content would be in the $25,000 range.

If you have any questions about the process above or would like access to more resources, we’d be more than happy to share our experiences and provide guidance/advice as you figure out your DIY solution. Simply fill out the form below and we’ll get back to you within 24 hours, or call us at 347-871-4453.