When was the last time you took the time to conduct an inventory of your organization’s technical learning curriculum? How much of your learning and development content was developed years ago? Is it time to update your technical learning curriculum?
If the answer is “no,” then that’s great! If your answer was “yes,” then read on.
In the last few years, technology has drastically transformed. Mobile device use and video consumption has skyrocketed and society now expects high-resolution media. Add these trends to your organization’s frequent software updates and you have the recipe for outdated curriculum.
In the words of Arun Prakash, Chief Learning Strategist & EVP at Infopro Learning: modernize. “Companies need to search for ways to repurpose content across various learning programs,” he explains. “This will increase ROI and help increase engagement by modernizing the look and feel of courses to match changes in learner demographics.”
To accomplish this, Prakash recommends a 5-step process: Define, Inventory, Analyze, Develop and Deploy (DIADD).
Define the Project
First, define what success means by considering the budget constraints, the skills necessary to modernize content, and your technology needs and limitations. Second, examine the scope of the content by examining which content is no longer applicable, which content can be partially used and which content requires a complete overhaul. Third, create a plan for delivery so that the pace is quick and steady, with no interruptions. Long delays in any project can significantly impede progress and delivery.
Conduct a Content Inventory
Conduct an inventory by collecting as much information about existing content as possible. Be sure to note all stakeholder data and audience profiles.
Analyze the content inventory results by categorizing content, evaluating learner demographics and developing an update plan.
Content should be categorized by technology, content and design. Technology and design improvements may include making courses more engaging and appealing with new capabilities. Content changes include updating out-of-date information or removing inaccurate content, especially for applications that have had significant updates since the content was first developed.
Evaluating learner demographics is the opportunity to pinpoint learner traits, including age, workplace and business. For example, it is important to understand who your learners are (which generation are they from?), where they work (are they remote, in a cubicle or a road warrior?) and business characteristics (what are your turnover rates?).
Create a revised strategy that incorporates long-term and short-term plans. These plans may be separated into content developed in the last 1 to 3 years, 3 to 5 years ago and more than 5 years ago.
In general, content older than 5 years is most likely too old to use—unless it is repurposed. Content created 3 to 5 years ago may just need technological updates, and content from 1 to 3 years ago is most likely fine—as long as there are no content inaccuracies.
It also depends on what product or service the content was built for. Content built for products with short release cycles (3-12 updates per year) will likely be outdated, whereas content built for product with longer release cycles (1-2 updates every 1-2 years) will likely be in good shape. It all depends on the products or services that your training organization supports.
This stage entails creating scalable content, making content discoverable, maximizing learner engagement and perfecting content.
Scalable content can be used in different ways via design and screen templates, and technology frameworks. Create several templates for phones, tablets and computers.
Content should be searchable, logically organized and easy to find. This prevents learner disengagement and frustration.
To maximize learner engagement, develop several versions of your design templates and test them before implementing. Choose the design that works best for the largest number of learners.
In order to improve content, ensure all subject matter experts regularly review the content. Additionally, develop standards for the look, feel and navigation of all content. These are important in guiding the student experience.
This last step in the process focuses on content accessibility, deployment tools and security.
Strong content is only valuable if it is convenient for students to access. As a result, ensure all content is accessible—without needing to click through 10 screens to retrieve the desired information.
For easy updates and maintenance, try using deployment tools, such as online training software, content management systems and learning management systems.
Be mindful of your organization’s security policies when it comes to delivery methods. Your IT department can be very helpful in ensuring all content delivery adheres to security policies, while also providing easy access to students.
Training content decreases in value and effectiveness over time. As a result, it is very important for organizations to revamp existing content or develop new content for all learning programs. By doing this, organizations will increase ROI and engagement.