No Time to Create Training Course Content? You Already Have Some!

At a recent content repurposing seminar at Liquid Interactive, I had an interesting conversation with a colleague, Linda Backo. We talked about repurposing existing content for marketing, but soon realized the same principles apply to training. Repurposing content for training just doesn’t receive as much attention as it does in marketing.

Companies reuse marketing content for a simple reason: time (or, more accurately, the lack of it). Finding new uses for existing content saves money and gets the message out faster. The same is true for training. Companies need to produce fast, cost-effective training, so it’s critical that they develop a methodology of reusing content.

The most common reason companies give for not doing this is “not enough dedicated resources.” The irony is that repurposing content is aimed at solving that very problem! If you don’t have enough training staff and resources, the BEST place to start is by repurposing content.

Linda shared some great insights on the notion of repurposing content for corporate learning – Imagine two scenarios:

  • You are outfitting your training room with new hardware.  Instead of installing built-in whiteboards, you purchase portable whiteboards with wheels.
  • You are tasked with printing notepads for a specific training event. Instead of printing the event title and date on the notepads, you include the instructor’s email or the helpdesk phone number.

What do these decisions have in common?  Reusability. A whiteboard on wheels can be reused in multiple rooms of the training center. The notepads can be reused for multiple events. Reusability saves on costs, and extends the lifecycle of each resource you create.

How does online learning fit into this equation?   Imagine all the documentation, presentations, and other media for a course on—let’s say—running electrical wire in a home.  The course covers safety concerns, wire types, tools of the trade, pulling wire, and ultimately wiring receptacles and other devices.  The course is long and comprehensive and achieves multiple learning outcomes.  Using the existing resources saves you time – you don’t need to start from scratch to create the content.   Your work is to apply a consistent look and feel.

Let’s dive deeper!  Think about breaking the wiring course into five distinct deliverables Safety Concerns for Wiring, Identifying Wire Types, Tools Used in Wiring, Pulling Wire – Best Practices, and Wiring Common Devices.  The deliverables can be traditional online training, interactions, activities, assessments, or online video segments.

Here are a few benefits:

  1. When the company decides to create a version for commercial buildings (as opposed to residential) most of the content can be reused.
  2. Short videos from the training – like selecting the correct tool for the job or wiring a specific device can be posted on a video host, such as YouTube for reference back on the job (mobile performance support).
  3. Students who have already wired commercial buildings may have already taken an equivalent course on the tools used in wiring and have the potential to test out of taking the course.

At Viddler, we have clients who are not dedicated video producers, but still want to create a video training experience for their employees. We encourage them to look at their current video content (training-related or not) and turn it into practice sessions. This way, you can jump-start your video training without a lot of original content.

Here are a few examples of “starter” content repurposed from other sources:

  • You may have an existing archive of knowledgebase or tutorial videos. (Sometimes knowledgebase content gets used only once per new employee or maybe once a year for compliance purposes.)
  • Product- or process-related videos, screen captures or documents
  • Recorded webinars or meetings

Putting it all together

Here’s a successful formula for easily creating a practice session: Reuse existing content for a new need, deliver examples to learners, assess their understanding, review the assignments and provide feedback.

Let’s paint an example: A company wants to make sure their sales team is presenting a new product in a valuable and consistent presentation so they start with a product brochure created by their marketing team. Using this brochure, the sales manager will create an iPhone recording of the new presentation and send it out to the sales team. The sales team will then view the video, complete a poll assessment from management and be directed to upload their version. The sales manager can now review the rep assignments to provide coaching and feedback.

Video was huge in corporate training back in the days of VHS tapes and DVDs. Now that is cycling back, but on a level that provides learners and managers more insight and data. The biggest growth area is employee-created content. By having an assignment to “document best practices” or something similar, employees can share their understanding of a skill. This also adds the helpful elements of collaboration as others can see, share and comment on the ideas.

Want to start your training course now? Have yourself, a manager or a proactive employee take a starting concept and any available materials and begin making that first assignment video.


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