Editing your existing online training content is a cost-effective way to upgrade your online training materials. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as revamping the color scheme or breaking webinars into bite-size videos. This article features some repurposing pitfalls to avoid.
Repurposing eLearning Content: 8 pitfalls to avoid
Repurposing is a useful technique for sprucing up outdated eLearning content at no extra cost. It does take time though, time that you take away from other work activities. And since every hour can be evaluated on a wage basis, then that time costs money. Still, you spend less time and less money than buying a new online training course altogether or developing online training resources from scratch.
So, what’s the best way to recycle your eLearning content without spending too much time or money? More importantly what mistakes should you avoid when repurposing eLearning content to pass the quality check and keep your learners engaged?
1. Don’t infringe copyright
If the initial eLearning content was developed in-house, then you hold the rights to it. And if the team that developed your online training material has left, you can still include them in the ‘credits’. It’s polite and professional, you don’t want to burn corporate bridges. Besides, everyone wants to be acknowledged for their work.
The same applies if you’re repurposing eLearning content that is external. Be extra careful to avoid plagiarism or any appearance of it. Some online training resources require a mention of the original source and/or a link back to their site.
2. Don’t forget to review
Look at your current online training content and divide it into categories based on skill gaps, training objectives, and learning preferences. Be sure you have an overview of all existing online training material before repurposing eLearning content.
Then, edit materials in order to be concise, contextual, and aligned with your organization. Avoid information overload. As you review online training content, start to box it into easily searchable formats. This will be helpful for later stages of online training content development.
3. Don’t skip the outline
Now that all the material is laid out and sorted, make a table of contents. Design it from a learner-facing perspective, approaching it like they would. This may involve rearranging the order of chapters. Use eLearning storyboards, timelines, and sketches. If possible, make a physical, offline representation with cutouts. This makes it easier to shift things around.
You can also use PowerPoint or something similar because it’s easy to move slides. But first, get everyone involved so they can provide input early on: from your subject matter experts to team managers.
4. Don’t use excessive text
Repurposing eLearning content means you’ll probably need to do a lot of reformatting. Restructure chunks of text as audio or video clips. A good tactic is to summarize longer modules into bite-size online training activities or infographics. They’re great reference tools, both for exam revision, e.g.. in compliance online training courses, and JIT scenarios.
Don’t eliminate all the text, though. Some learners prefer to read the content. It sinks in better that way. Also, some people enjoy the written or typed word for its own sake.
5. Don’t overdo the razzle-dazzle
Multimedia elements can make online training courses fun. They enhance engagement and can be useful for learners with a disability. That said, use them with discretion. If you go too hi-tech and fancy, the ‘shiny toys’ could detract from your eLearning content. Accidentally, you may prioritize entertainment and engagement over knowledge transfer.
Use analytics to see how much is ‘too much’. They can show where the focus is, letting you shift it to the areas you want. Also, post-chapter quizzes will show you how much information trainees have retained.
6. Don’t lose the flow
Shift bits and pieces around to give a fresh feel to your resources when repurposing eLearning content. A little bit of ‘musical chairs’ paired with restructured online training materials is a good technique. For example, take a chapter of 2,000 words and reorganize it into a mix of text, video, audio, and static images.
After rearranging, review your eLearning content to be sure it still makes sense. Double-check your online training materials, both as individual chapters and in relation to the rest of the eLearning course. You don’t want to lose the cohesiveness or flow of your online training materials. Everything should reflect the same tone, brand image, and pacing.
7. Don’t omit appendices
Repackaging your online training course offers the perfect opportunity to create an online reference library. It can include how-to guides, definitions, infographics, and JIT modules. Classify everything as you go, so it’s easy for corporate learners to find exactly what they want.
Keyword search options, internal linking, and dedicated appendices are all useful ways to do this. You don’t want your employees fumbling through your LMS to look for a support tool when they’re in the middle of a sale.
8. Don’t underestimate the importance of a reliable authoring tool
An authoring tool gives you the power to transform your outdated training resources into interactive and engaging eLearning content. Look for the ones that feature templates and built-in graphics that can further enhance the design. For example, a rapid authoring tool with serious game or scenario templates that allow you to turn your module into a real-world activity.
Also, bear in mind that all your tools have to work in tandem when repurposing eLearning content. That means your new authoring tool must play nice with your LMS so there aren’t any formatting issues.
When you’re restructuring existing content, it’s crucial to seek eLearning feedback from your corporate learners. Find out what areas they want to be covered, and which ones are now irrelevant. Always give credits and don’t steal another content creator’s thunder.
Review your existing materials, reorganize them as needed, and develop a course outline. Break up massive chunks of text, but don’t overdo the multimedia flash and bang. Maintain your course flow and include a reference section at the end of the online training course. It should be easily searchable.
There are times when eLearning professionals must start from scratch and build their eLearning content from the ground up. Repurposing eLearning content can save money and time, but only when it’s done correctly. Read the article 7 Tips & Tricks For Repurposing eLearning Content to find out how to repurpose eLearning content for modern learners.
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