elearning content modernization mistakes to avoid

Common Pitfalls To Avoid When Modernizing Your eLearning Content

From tech to fashion, people are constantly adapting to changes in trends. Your training content is no different. Content modernization means you’re delivering content to learners in the way they want to consume it, using the latest trends and technology to boost retention and outcomes and make learning more engaging. Unsurprisingly, there are some common pitfalls that organizations find themselves in when they’re modernizing their content. Here are a few common content modernization mistakes and, of course, some tips on how to avoid them.

3 Content Modernization Mistakes That Are Totally Avoidable

1. Reinventing The Wheel

Yes, things change and it is impossible to entirely future proof the content of your training. However, many organizations make the mistake of thinking they need to start from scratch when they have already invested in high quality training tools that could still provide value. Instead, audit your content. Start by reducing content that is no longer useful, which is part of the lifecycle of information, technology and even changes in business goals. Just as important, reuse content that is still useful. The average company reuses only 50% of its content, wasting a considerable investment they’ve already made in their training materials, whereas reusing and repurposing the content could save up to 65% in costs. Rather than starting over, a better approach allows you to retain what’s still useful and effective as a starting point for your new content.

2. Repeating Old Mistakes

So your content is dated – that’s okay! However, now that you have the opportunity to reinvigorate and rethink your content, there’s no better time to consider how you might structure your training to be easier to update in the future.  Let’s say your current training curriculum is not mobile-responsive. As you begin to update your content, you might want to consider options that are designed for mobile use, so that, in the future, you can eliminate the need to update that aspect of your training.  Lastly, consider your design choices. Interactivity is a key to engagement, so having long courses that are essentially a digital version of a book (or a presentation) don’t allow for learners to engage with the material. Similarly, forcing learners to travel a set linear path and not skip content can backfire, punishing advanced learners and causing learners to disengage with the material as they hit “next” hundreds of times to plow through content. Audio voiceover is meant to be a helpful tool for accessibility and audio-preferring learners – not a way to reiterate every word on the screen. Think about the holistic experience a learner goes through when interacting with the material and use visual and auditory learning appropriately where it will have a maximum impact, or allow for the audio to be toggled on and off by the learner.

Other questions to ask as you explore content modernization?

  • Does your content refer to a lot of current events or pop culture references that will become dated?
  • Are you focusing on specific statistics from a current year that will quickly become outdated?
  • Are you incorporating specific file formats that are not easily opened on different platforms or technology systems?
  • Is your content easily searchable or is it difficult to find necessary information?

Avoiding these missteps are small, easy ways to extend the lifetime of your content. 

3. Mistaking A Shift For A Trend

Some trends pass quickly, but shifts are more permanent. For example, our attention spans are getting shorter and we are using mobile devices more than ever before. When modernizing content, ensuring you are embracing aspects of the learning experience that are likely here to stay will help you to incorporate some future proofing into your content.  Tools like microlearning allow learners to engage with the material in small, bite-sized segments usually no more than 5-7 minutes long.  Social learning and gamification add elements that have a retention and engagement payoff, too. It might sound silly, but offering badges, prizes and some healthy peer competition can engage our minds in learning more deeply, continue engagement outside of the courses, and just make learning more fun. Don’t forget about video! Video has quickly become one of the most consumed information types (it’s estimated that, this year, 80% of internet traffic will be video!)  and it allows learners to use visual processing in their learning, increasing engagement and retention.

Do You Have A Content Modernization Strategy?

Content modernization is a perpetual process and developing a strategy means you’re constantly optimizing and honing in on the most effective content and delivery methods for your learners. While no learning content is entirely future proof, considering design elements, functionality, accessibility and where and when your learners like to learn can go a long way to lengthening the life of your content. To learn more about content modernization, explore our post on Four Critical Concept Bolstering Effective Training Programs.