Learning and Development teams create an enormous amount of learning content in digital format each year and lock them away in monolithic eLearning courses. The problem with this approach is that every time a learner wants to go back to refresh a concept, they are forced to re-launch the whole eLearning course again.
Although a count of returning learners (learners returning to an eLearning course at a later date after completing it) is not a metric that most L&D departments actively track, we are quite sure that the numbers would be poor across organisations.
What if we build eLearning in such a way that after the initial launch of the eLearning is completed, the conceptual components can be extracted, flipped and re-used in a variety of learning and performance management scenarios?
To achieve this, courseware designers need to keep the following design practices in mind:
- Do not create the content resources that you would like to re-purpose in the learning authoring tool such as Articulate Storyline and Lectora. Instead, develop the resources using tools that can publish to open standards like .mp4 and HTML5 and embed those in your eLearning using an authoring tool. We use a variety of tools to create content resources such as Videoscribe, GoAnimate, Prezi, Canva and Flash (exported to .mp4). The content resources do not necessarily need to be animations or videos; these can also be infographics, pdf documents, and just plain images.
- Be ready with an instructional strategy to flip the content resources and present them to learners. An excellent example of a learning environment that uses this strategy is ed.ted.com. I also like the instructional sequencing they offer for such content resources: Watch – Think – Dig Deeper – Discuss.Here is an example, we created using an already available video on Youtube – http://ed.ted.com/on/cqEpgVz7Remember, you do not need sophisticated tools to present these flipped content resources to learners. You can do this through emails, blogs, or through the intranet portal. This way you can provide a refresher on the key concepts covered in the eLearning. You can also provide spaced repetition of learning that is known to improve retention and performance.
Here is a diagram that explains this method of designing eLearning and learning resources.
We may never completely move away from courses to resources, however, by developing eLearning using the approach outlined here, we will have the ability to get the maximum mileage out of our learning content.
- Moving from courses to resources – http://learnpatch.com/2012/11/moving-from-courses-to-resources/
- From ‘Courses to Resources’ – how IPG Mediabrands and WillowDNA combined online communities and e-learning to tackle complex business challenges – http://www.trainingpressreleases.com/news/willowdna/2014/from-courses-to-resources-how-ipg-mediabrands-and-willowdna-combined-online-communities-and-e-learning-to-tackle-complex-business-challenges
- Spaced Repetition – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Spaced_repetition
- The Corporate Learning Guide to Spaced Repetition and Feedback Loops (Free Download) – http://www.theknowledgeguru.com/corporate-learning-guide-spaced-repetition-feedback-loops-free-download/