Do your online resources have a long shelf life? Or do they go stale before they’ve warranted the investment? In this article, I’ll share 9 tips to create eLearning content that stands the test of time.
It takes a significant amount of time and resources to develop high-quality content. Specifically, eLearning content that connects with online learners and imparts the key takeaways. Unfortunately, all of that hard work may quickly become outdated, especially if it involves topics that have an “expiration date”. But have no fear, because here are 9 top tips to develop evergreen eLearning content.
Today’s online learners face some of the same obstacles and situations as online learners from a decade ago. Tech issues don’t fall into this category, but basic human challenges do. For example, employees may still encounter the same customer service issues, or sales hurdles that prevent them from hitting their monthly targets. Times have changed, but the roadblocks are still there to make life more difficult. For this reason, it’s best to focus on real-world challenges that online learners can relate to for the foreseeable future.
You may have a new group of online learners for every eLearning course. However, it’s still crucial to evaluate their needs to form a basis for your evergreen eLearning content. Their needs, expectations, goals, and experiences can help point you in the right direction. For example, surveys or eLearning assessments reveal that a majority of your audience lacks effective communication skills. Thus, you might consider evergreen eLearning content that centers on active listening, body language, and other related skill sets. Chances are, online learners will benefit from these online resources in the future.
The golden rule of evergreen eLearning content is to steer clear of topics that are time-sensitive. For instance, scientific data or theories that are likely to change in the near future based on new evidence. News events also fall into this category, unless you are using them as a frame of reference. As an example, you cite past events to provide real-world examples that tie into the subject matter.
In lieu of creating your own evergreen eLearning content, you also have the option to compile a list of curated eLearning content. It’s relatively easy to expand this database or remove online training resources that are no longer relevant. Better still, find online assets with a long shelf life to simplify your upkeep. This is also a great way to get online learners actively involved, as they can offer their own resource recommendations, or even develop their own learning materials and share them with peers.
Anecdotes, stories, and real-world examples that feature personal accounts never go out of style. Especially if you cover a universal topic that online learners can relate to, such as sharing your experiences as a customer service rep to emphasize the importance of building skills. Just make sure that you still maintain your professionalism and avoid divulging too many details. These stories should support the subject matter instead of becoming a distraction.
Online learners are always looking for tips and tricks that have been successful for others in the past. Thus, you may want to provide tried and true insights that can help your online learners overcome common obstacles. Give them a step-by-step walkthrough for how to apply the information in their own lives, as well as how they can apply the tips in different contexts. Another option is to invite online learners to share their own tried and true tips, as long as they have evidence to support their claim.
Social media allows you to provide consistent eLearning content to your audience. In addition, you can offer regular updates or amendments to past posts. For example, an online resource that you uploaded a year ago may need a fresh perspective. There are also a variety of other benefits associated with social media in eLearning. Social media groups, online discussions, and eLearning blogs can be a great outlet for your evergreen eLearning content, as they give you the power to engage your current audience members and attract new online learners in the process.
How-to guides, online training tutorials, and walkthroughs give online learners a detailed overview of involved tasks or topics. They use these online resources for reference time after time, even sharing them with online peers via social media. The key to creating evergreen guides is to avoid fads or processes that date the eLearning content. For example, an online training tutorial on how to complete a sales transaction using software that may be outdated within months, especially if the software is replaced by new and improved platforms. If you do need to include specific technologies, use a rapid eLearning authoring tool that makes it easy to make adjustments. For instance, you can quickly revise the interactive guide to include new work-related tools or software.
One of the most common uses for infographics is highlighting trends or statistical data. However, this can potentially date your eLearning content and you’ll have to update it eventually. That doesn’t mean you should avoid infographics altogether though. In fact, you can use these visually engaging tools to explore tasks and compliance topics that are unlikely to change over time, such as company policies that will remain in effect for years to come, or product spec sheets that highlight notable features and benefits. You can also create additional infographics to cover new products or processes.
Evergreen eLearning content can still explore topics that are relevant to modern learners, instead of generalizing the subject matter. The secret is to focus on real-world challenges that will remain relatable for years to come, as well as developing online training resources that are easy to update and maintain, such as expandable microlearning online training libraries.
Looking for ways to transform your existing eLearning content in order to make it fresh and engaging? Get your copy of Modernize for Engagement: 5-Steps for Breathing Life Back Into Stale Content.