No one wants to find themselves staring at a blank page whilst waiting for inspiration to strike. Which is why so many businesses attempt to build their new e-Learning courses by repurposing their previous offering. However, referencing traditional training handouts or even adapting older online courses can generate its own pitfalls. The original source material may offer an emotional crutch, but it can also restrict the thought process and could discourage a more radical or effective approach.
At Cortexa we regularly have customers who provide us their old course content and ask us to recreate it in a shiny new e-Learning module. So, whether you are coming to us or attempting to do it in-house, here are some things to look out for.
- Rethink what you are trying to achieve.
Starting with existing content helps to guide future development but it can restrict your thinking. We would recommend taking time to review the project again but without the existing materials to hand. Take that liberating? step of starting with a blank sheet. Don’t try to rewrite what you’ve already seen, instead map out the key components of the message as you see it. Order the information in a way that tells the clearest story and write a summary of the key “takeaways” you want your audience to retain. Once you have done it your way, then reintroduce the old content to compare and blend.
- Consider your current audience
Audiences and their knowledge base changes. Take time to consider what your learners already know about the training topic. With ever decreasing attention spans, you don’t want to waste that scarce resource telling people what they already know. If your audience has a mixed knowledge foundation, then create two courses with alternative content and starting points.
- Don’t get carried away with e-Learning’s new technology
Modern e-Learning technology means that you can interweave your content with animations, images, videos, quizzes and sound effects. All these are very appealing and will help enhance the message and aid knowledge retention, but don’t over do it. The most impact will come from considered and careful use, not. bombarding your learner’s senses.
- Avoid text heavy content
When starting from traditional text heavy documents, it is all too easy to find yourself cutting and pasting paragraphs across. Avoid the temptation! Look instead to have only the core messages appear as text with narration providing the more in-depth detail. Illustration with images and graphs will also help to break up large blocks of remaining but essential text.
- Build for todays concentration span
Just because your original content spanned a 10 page document it doesn’t mean your e-Learning needs to cover it all within one module. Where possible look to split content into self-contained manageable chunks. Quick fire learning modules helps to maintain concentration, aids retention levels and encourages staff to engage with your content when they may have only a spare 10 minutes.
- Flex the content to match alternative audiences
The storyboard method of creating online courses ideally suits the process of duplication and change. Therefore, many of the same assets or scenes can be reutilised in alternative versions. That way you can offer a tailored experience that matches your learners’ needs and existing knowledge base.
- Test knowledge to increase retention
Many studies have shown that testing knowledge at the point of delivery increases retention. Quizzes have therefore become a staple part of modern learning methods. Not only does it increase the effectiveness, but it helps to build learner confidence in their understanding of newly acquired knowledge. Setting a pass level on a course can also help the business identify those who are struggling with a topic and provide more or alternative training assistance.
- Make it current
When repurposing existing content ensure that your new version is accurate and current. At times we all find ourselves creating courses on topics of which we have only limited knowledge. It is therefore important that we check to see if laws, policies or other crucial details have not changed since the last course was created. Look to engage with a topic expert either internally or externally to avoid costly errors.
- Incentivise & gamify
Great learner content is only ever useful if used by its intended audience. So to drive interest and consumption you should look to make it attractive to your audience. Many a modern Learning Management Systems (LMS) has the facility to offer a badge recognition scheme. These are awarded based on flexible criteria and can be displayed alongside a learner’s online profile. Different badges can be awarded based on a pass mark or when a learner completes a series of interconnected courses. This “gamification” system is becoming increasing popular in driving learner engagement and can be a useful extra incentive.
For further guidance why not give us a call 01933 227226 or use the contact form provided.
Original Article by Cortexa