Bootstrapping is a term usually used to describe a company in its infancy with little financial backing. The founders have to be creative with their limited resources to get the business off the ground. More recently, the phrase has expanded its use to describe a myriad of early business efforts in recruitment, marketing, and in my case, training.
In 2009, I was hired as a trainer with no prior e-Learning experience. I was the sole trainer in the company and was tasked with creating a training program. It was overwhelming. Where does one start? What area do you focus on first? From 2009-2013, the company grew from 150 to 200 employees. On top of that, our workforce was comprised of many recent college graduates with very short tenures at the company.
We needed to get something out there to train our employees and systemize the business processes.
In those initial weeks at my company I searched terms online like “corporate training” and “adult learning.” These keywords were broad topics. I could not find information on what was the first step that I needed to take. For the first few months I would set appointments with my new staff, meet online, and conduct a one-on-one training session. I would glance over at my rough outline to ensure that I had covered all the points. Sure, this worked, but it was not in the least bit efficient.
I knew I needed to create something where people could see my teachings in one place. I needed to get my employees on the same page, and pulling from the same pool of resources. I needed to be able to use the program with my novice training background. I had to find a way to stop repeating myself, and record my knowledge so that employees could, at any time, see exactly how to perform a task or learn a skill unique to our company.
I started recording small videos with Jing, a free software that allowed me to make short screencasts. I was distributing these videos through a word document, but found that I was constantly updating the video library and I had difficulty keeping all employees on the latest version of the word document, not to mention, I couldn’t track engagement.
Somehow, in the depths of Google, I found the solution to my problem: training software. There are many different options for training software, I tended to favor the systems that I could quickly understand how to add, create, and edit content. Using a simple, user-friendly system like Lessonly can provide a quick and easy way for new trainers to get content out to their teams.
Today, I am a huge advocate of bootstrapping eLearning. When it comes to building training for small businesses or individuals, don’t feel discouraged because you lack a full-time trainer or the funds for a complex learning management system (LMS). Know that you hold the most powerful ability within you already: the ability to start.