Recycling content with an eye towards improving its effectiveness and design requires the application of modern instructional design techniques to select reusable pieces of content. By recycling existing content, time, effort, and budget are all conserved during the development process when compared to new program development. The three key success criteria for recycling training content are future reusability, content modularization, and content searchability.
Training content that can be reused and continually offered to learners for years into the future is an excellent investment. To future-proof training content, it should contain broad statistical trends rather than specific annual statistics, be published in interoperable formats, and contain timeless case studies and examples rather than current events and topical stories.
Using current annual statistics, figures, and reports in training content leads inevitably to future data inaccuracies and learner perceptions that training programs are outdated and irrelevant. Using mean statistical trends over a period of years paints a broader factual picture for learners, and will be much more useful as a reference for the future.
Properly recycled training content can be used in multiple contexts and platforms. Can instructor-led training manuals be used by trainers both in-person and virtually? Can e-learning courses be accessed from desktop computers and mobile devices alike? Ensure that recycled content can live where learners have a need to access it.
Five years from now, which leadership development example will have more cultural relevancy: Odysseus’ epic struggle to overcome a Cyclops, sirens, and Gods along with his own shortcomings as a man in the Odyssey, or the crude and Machiavellian rise of Snapchat CEO Evan Spiegel? Illustrate training concepts with timeless examples rather than current events which may or may not be recognizable to learners years from now.
Logically modularized training content ensures ease of access for learners that want to take a deeper dive into a particular subject area. In recycling legacy training programs, modularization should mostly be applied to formerly lengthy and unwieldy courses that were identified earlier during the Reduce stage of content conservation. Two instructional design frameworks that can be used in content modularization are microlearning and just- in-time training delivery:
Rather than e-learning courses that can drag on for 30 minutes to an hour at a time on a multitude of subjects, breaking e-learning content up into modules of no more than two minutes long each for specific subjects is a powerful exercise in content modularization.
Learners might want to reference training material on the job so they can learn key concepts just in the nick of time. If learning modules are laser-focused on specific subjects, just-in-time training delivery becomes a reality.
One of the most exciting ways to recycle training content is to ensure that learning assets are properly metatagged and stored in searchable databases like LMSs for learners and LCMSs for learning and development team members. The work of going back and adding metatags to old learning assets is not exciting, but it holds immense potential for ensuring that learners and L&D staff can access training content on-demand. To add relevant metatags to training content, sometimes the assistance of a subject-matter-expert is also required. However, in the age of Google when learners are accustomed to having information directly at their fingertips, ensuring training content searchability and ease of access is extremely important.
Recycle in Action
Recycle is how InfoPro Learning helped a Fortune 50 telecomunications company modernized their learning portfolio to be compatible with 40,000 new tablets to be used by remote employees. For more information on the Telecom company’s solution to compatiblity issues and how a large university updated their elearning for mobile devices, Download the Modernize ebook for Free!