Finding a content development provider that understands your brand, your requirements, your learners and your time and budget constraints isn’t always easy, but it is vital to successful content development.
What’s also important to find is a provider that understands you and your pressures, who will develop a solution that fits with your needs.
A good provider will add real value to a process and solution by applying the best of modern-day practices and the highest standards to your content.
You’ll get to choose from a range of different content types, approaches and final deliverables, with help and guidance along the way.
WHAT DO I NEED - TRADITIONAL eLEARNING?
Traditional SCORM eLearning courses are still relevant today and lend themselves well to certain requirements, particularly for when it comes to large topics where context and flow is important. It’s important that methods are employed to ensure these courses are as engaging as possible, content is well structured and designed, and is clearly in alignment with learning outcomes. There are many SCORM authoring tools to choose from, and the more modern tools have the ability to create a very pleasant and successful learning experience, accessible from mobile devices. Take the time to consider what will engage your learners most effectively when making this choice, and what really needs to be ‘tracked’ when it comes to training requirements.
The traditional waterfall development process (such as ADDIE) or whatever bespoke process a provider might devise, should be well defined and communicated. Your provider should accommodate you and your challenges when devising a process, so that your journey through your content development is a positive one.
WHAT DO I NEED - MODERN ASSETS AND RESOURCES?
The demise of the LMS, and the diminishing popularity of lengthy SCORM courses, has given rise to a more asset-driven approach to eLearning. The “resources not courses” argument seems to be winning out. Platforms and content are converging in new Learning Experience Platforms, that offer a more modern environment in which to access learning activities. Rather than trackable SCORM courses, these platforms offer up content in many forms, and are embracing microlearning principles with a variety of short learning nuggets. The millennials of today, and changing cultures in how we access information, are demanding change from Learning & Development at work. They want relevancy and variety, learning that they can access in the flow of work, and training that fits into their busy, hectic workstyles.
What to do with all the internal topics
An L&D head may be inundated with training requests, on top of all the training they’ve identified as being required. A business owner may have a long list of topics that he or she wants employees to know about. Very quickly, the list of necessary training topics is too big to source or develop affordably. So what goes to the top of the list? Compliance topics. What gets pushed down? The useful, short, relevant pieces of (often internally generated) content that boost employee performance. And this is because an organisation hasn’t found a mechanism for fast, easy development and deployment.
Commitment to compliance training is still a large consideration for most L&D departments. While the necessary rules and regulations have been written and signed off by the legal eagles, the rules and their practical applications need to be communicated to all employees in a way that they might be remembered.
How does an organisation avoid these important resources getting lost in a large LMS, or even on servers?
How can they be made easily accessible and, dare we say, engaging, for employees?
The benefits of developing microcontent are becoming clear, for both business and learner.
Developing short assets will help you respond more quickly to business needs.
These individual assets can live anywhere, be created and deployed quickly, and can be reused and updated with little effort.
Create focused, single-outcome activities that achieve what you want, when you want, and have control over their cost and scalability.
Create a few for some key messaging; create a series to cover a larger topic.
Give your busy learners variety, relevance and an enhanced user experience that could change the culture of learning within your organisation, and allow you to flourish as a provider of modern learning services.
USER EXPERIENCE STANDARDS
Today’s learners have high standards when it comes to online content. They are used to having quick, easy, immediate access to high quality, high definition resources that do exactly what they say they do, on all their mobile devices. Online social activity gives access to world experts delivering their chosen specialist subjects. Learners want a non-laborious process of accessing content on a range of devices and expect a variety of – appropriate – media types.
The technology now exists to deliver online content in all these forms and more. There is a move away from LMS completion criteria and towards creating a library of valuable assets that learners can dip in and out of based on need and self-direction. It’s reasonable therefore, that learners would expect a rich user experience in their online learning.
THE ART OF INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN IS CHANGING
Good instructional design is at the core of all content development. It’s easy to fall into the trap of believing that learning resources are effective because they look good (learning resources should always look great!) but nothing can make up for well-written, well-designed learning assets. Whatever your deliverables, a good instructional designer will:
Be clear on your needs and your learners’ needs
Add real value to the design of any resources
Always maintain high writing standards
Employ modern, best practice methods of teaching
Offer appropriate methods and tools for delivery
Ensure the structure, flow and pacing of content is such that the learner can progress with ease and fluency
Make UX paramount in design decisions
FROM ID TO LEARNING EXPERIENCE DESIGNER
With an asset-based approach, the ID role becomes ever more crucial in content development. A different set of ID challenges now exist, but they’re challenges that a competent instructional designer will relish.
It’s not enough now to list learning objectives and match well-presented slides to those objectives. With short, bite-sized learning assets requiring to be of a ‘single-outcome’ nature, often as part of suite of such learning resources, instructional design requires a thorough knowledge of the target audience and its competencies, and an in-depth understanding of what exactly needs to be remembered. The ability to teach is paramount. Microcontent is short by nature, so an ID has a limited ‘time’ to effectively convey each key learning outcome in a focused, concise way.
In addition, developing content for a full and pure microlearning programme, complete with adaptive learning and spaced repetition, requires inventive and smart planning of microcontent activities and their strategical deployment.
A full range of high-class ID skills is required:
ORGANISATION AND STRUCTURING
MODERN LEARNING METHODOLOGIES
MODERN TOOLS AND PLATFORM
TEACHING TIPS AND TRICKS
The modern instructional designer will have ideas and methods for asset development at his or her fingertips, and be jumping at the chance to create such effective and flexible resources.
Handing over the localisation of your content to a trusted and proven translation provider ensures a high level of quality and consistency across texts, video subtitling, voiceover artists and a multi-language rebuild of your learning resources. Finding a content provider that can also fulfil all your translation requirements is an added bonus, as it’s possible to receive cost and time benefits from integrating the translation step into the overall content development, as well as having the benefits of an already established relationship and their knowledge of you and your processes.
Read here about Logicearth’s strategic partnership with Comtec Translations.
WORKING WITH EXTERNAL PROVIDERS FOR SUCCESS
The nuances of good content development can be lost in the constraints of time, budget and available expertise. Developing the high-quality learning resources expected by learners can only be done by high quality content developers – there’s no easy way to shortcut this. The good news is that building a relationship with a good content development partner can, in the long run, save time and money, and greatly reduce some of the pressures on L&D personnel by becoming that safe pair of hands that is heavily invested in the success of the business.
Using an external content provider, you gain all of their skills, expertise and business acumen, and access to a range of the latest and greatest tools and methods.
Professionalism will be at the heart of all they do for you – products, services and process.
An outsourcing model will help to smooth out the peaks and trough of content demand, reducing stress and ensuring consistency in standards and quality.
You can expect your content partner to keep on top of current trends in the marketplace.
Your partner will offer tools and solutions on the forefront of today’s thinking around learning effectiveness.
You may have your own team of content developers, but a good provider can act as an extension of this team, assisting with peaks and troughs and adding to your expertise and skills. It will collaborate and share knowledge, and ultimately help establish your team in working independently to develop its own resources.
A competent, credible provider will de-risk your content development strategy. It will manage timelines, scope creep and multiple stakeholders. It will invest time at the beginning of a project to ensure it understands what’s needed and be the safe pair of hands you need to get the job done and make your hard efforts shine within your organisation.
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