Supporting Virtual Learners

person-thinkingMany people believe that the success of an online training program all comes down to the content.

If the content is well packaged and delivered then the learning objectives can easily be met.

This is only part of the success equation.

The other is how well you support learners who take your online courses.

The reality is that at some point there will be questions about the content no matter how good it is. It is at this point that your program will need appropriate avenues for support.

I suppose the most basic way to do this is to provide a contact email address. Almost every time I see this the email address is some “catch all” address which is pretty impersonal. It’s not even clear if it’s monitored.

In many ways elearning already is impersonal so why not put in the extra effort to make learners feel like you care about their experience?

One of the easiest ways to do this is to setup a help center where you can include a variety of articles, frequently asked questions, and contact information around the course(s) in your program.

It won’t take you long to discover that there are thousands of ways to do this.

Probably the easiest is to use a hosted program like HelpScout, UserVoice, ZenDesk, or something similar.

The nice thing about these programs is that they allow you to create a place for documentation (perfect for self-service) but also give the ability for your users to submit tickets in a more personal manner.

As you field similar questions, you can easily turn a response into a “FAQ” article in your help center (often with the click of a button).

If you are offering online courses to the public or internally make sure you have a system in place for supporting your learners. It doesn’t have to be any of the programs I mentioned, it just needs to be something more than an email address.


Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by Fortune 500 companies, major universities, training organizations, and entrepreneurs worldwide for creating (and selling) their online courses. Twitter | LinkedIn

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