Over time, L&D professionals accumulate significant inventories of legacy course materials. But as technology, techniques, and teaching strategies evolve, the legacy content becomes outdated. It fails to deliver engaging training or high-impact eLearning experiences.
Thankfully, when embarking on an eLearning course refresh cycle, not everything you have in your legacy eLearning content archives may need drastic upgrading.
In this article, I share tips, strategies, and ways to make this transition to convert your outdated eLearning content to highly engaging training more effective and efficient.
How Can L&D Professionals Leverage the Mandate of Converting Legacy/Outdated eLearning Content to Training that Engages Learners, Improves Performance, and Behavioral Change?
You can use the opportunity of updating legacy or outdated eLearning content to highly engaging training that can help change learner behavior and create the impact the business seeks.
In this transition, you can use several tips and strategies that will help you improve the following 4 aspects:
- Enhance learner engagement.
- Improved learner retention.
- Facilitate better application of acquired learning.
- Achieve higher levels of learning transference.
Enhanced Learner Engagement
When it comes to assignments, tests, and assessments, most legacy eLearning content focused on static learning, where “one and done” rules prevailed. Using the same scenario, test case, or case study repeatedly – or variants thereof – with modern learners is a recipe for disengagement.
Today, millennials as well as other profiles of multi-generational workforce, crave for more engaging, relevant, and immersive training. This should sync with their lifestyles and must be available within their workflow. It must be easily accessible and should be packaged to address their learning need or help them clear a challenge. The training should fit in their workday that is fraught with the challenge of inordinate number of “distractions” (many of them as a result of multitasking in a highly connected world – that learners face in the digital workplace today). These disruptions prevent them from carving out time for learning.
Tips: What can be done to enhance learner connect and engagement
- L&D teams must, therefore, repurpose eLearning content to deliver Mobile Learning that allows learners to pick it up on the go, between breaks/meetings, and even during commute. This should include formal learning as well as just-in-time learning aids (Performance Support Tools). Mobile Learning solutions can also be used to promote Social Learning as well as Self-Directed Learning.
- L&D teams can repurpose the current lengthy text-based or graphic-intensive content into Microlearning nuggets, including Microlearning Videos to stimulate learner engagement. The series of Microlearning nuggets can also be threaded into Personalized Learning paths to provide more relevant content to each learner profile.
Improved Learner Retention
Traditional approaches, whether paper-based or digitized, relied heavily on quizzes, essays, and oral/verbal elocution to foster learner retention. And while stand-alone True/False (T/F) questions, multiple choice (MC) assessments, or fill-in-the-blanks tests are still valuable teaching aids, today’s learners are looking for eLearning content beyond those approaches.
Tips: What can be done to improve learner retention
- One way to enhance learner retention is to repurpose legacy content into Scenario Based Learning. For instance, instead of simply porting legacy T/F or MC assessments into online HTML5 (or other newer web-based standards) web pages, consider framing learning objectives as learner-relatable scenarios. Applying T/F or MC quizzes to those scenarios helps deliver a more engaging context that aids learning and retention.
- Additionally, L&D teams can add Micro Challenges (Assessments that are designed in Microlearning formats) that helps them validate their learning. Learners can also use the formative feedback to review/practice and achieve higher retention.
Facilitate Higher Application of Learning
eLearning content refreshes are an ideal opportunity to repurpose existing content for higher learning applications. Instead of using static PPT slides or legacy Flash-based eLearning content to deliver “101-type” learning, L&D professionals could migrate those training assets to latest techniques. This would enable them to create more engaging training that not only creates sticky learning experiences but also facilitates the application of learning.
Tips: What can be done to facilitate better application of acquired learning
- You can now produce contextual, dynamic (changing) content; deliver interactivity; and create a higher, broader, and more engaging eLearning experience that support multi-device delivery. This gives learners the control to learn, practice (on the device of their choice), review, and increase the probability of application on the job.
- You can offer content in a series of Microlearning nuggets to offer a learning journey that has a combination of Learn, Practice, Apply, and Test. This will enable learners not only learn but also apply the acquired learning on the job.
Achieve Higher Levels of Learning Transference
The objective of training is to ensure that the learning transfers into measurable behavioral changes in the workplace. Unfortunately, while using a passive format legacy (Lectures and notes, PowerPoint slides, Spreadsheets, Word-based templates), training materials may help “teach” learners a new concept or theory but they do not guarantee that learners can successfully apply what they’ve learned to their work environments.
Tips: What can be done to achieve higher levels of learning transference
- The use of Branching Simulations is a great strategy to enhance decision-making capabilities among learners. You could use existing eLearning content, such as case studies and scenarios, and convert them into interactive decision-making experiences based on past work situations or potential future interactions employees are likely to encounter.
- L&D professionals should also consider moving to more interactive eLearning content, such as experiential learning One way to do that is to embrace Gamification techniques. L&D teams can leverage existing learning assets (including lecture notes, workbooks, policies, procedure manuals, and study guides) to gamify eLearning courses and deliver training experiences that more closely mimic the workplace. Another approach is using Storytorials (Story Based Learning) with real-life characters and situations to drive the message. This approach is a very effective way to bring in behavioral change and can be augmented by Video Based Learning for a higher impact.
Tips: To draw up a successful action plan
In this transition, you can maintain learning relevance by applying the 3R’s approach – Recycle, Repurpose, and Reuse – as you convert legacy eLearning content. The advantage of using the 3R’s is that it delivers significant benefits to all stakeholders:
- Learners become more engaged.
- L&D professionals save time when creating new learning modules.
- HCM teams can respond faster to changing training needs.
- Line managers can ensure that the staff continually have the most updated knowledge they need to function efficiently.
Do use the following tips as you draw up the action plan to transform your legacy eLearning content into content that delivers more engaging training to your audience:
Scope and Pre-requisites
- Create a detailed inventory of legacy content.
- Assess what’s relevant (salvageable) and what to discard.
- Decide on standards. Before converting legacy eLearning content, decide on standards, such as Backgrounds, Color schemes, Font, Pitch, etc. for Titles, Headings, and Sub-headings and Naming conventions for files, images, screens, assessments, tests, and quizzes.
- Make technology decisions early in the process. Your choice of technology may help maximize the amount of legacy content salvaged and shorten conversion time.
- Identify shortcomings and deficiencies in salvageable content (from 2), and quantify what’s required to fill the gaps.
- Plan the conversion carefully. Consider delivery options, including Mobile, Responsive design, Microlearning, and bandwidth limiters (video, graphic-intensive).
- Think about design features: Legacy courses might have mouse-click elements that are no longer relevant on mobile devices. Mouse-hover events may still be relevant on laptops and desktops, but not on smartphones.
Validate with the Target Users
- Create a wireframe (a blueprint of the upgraded course) and conduct a target user group testing to validate your assumptions.
I hope this article provides the tips and strategies that L&D professionals (with significant inventories of outdated learning materials) can use to quickly and effectively turn that eLearning content into highly engaging eLearning experiences for their learners.
The result would be more engaged learners, effective training that creates sticky learning, facilitated application on the job, and higher learning transference.
Meanwhile, if you have any specific queries, do contact me or leave a comment below.