Originally posted: Spring 2018, Updated: 11th March 2021
After the cold, dark and gloomy winter, spring is the perfect time of year to blow out the cobwebs; throw those windows open, let in the fresh air, and start the spring cleaning!
The same can be said when you spring clean your elearning. Assessing what to keep, what to let go of and what to repurpose, needs to be done with an invigorated and open outlook to help establish the usability of your courses.
When we think of spring, we think of words like rejuvenate, renew, refresh, revive, restore, regenerate and revitalise. Another word is reflect. Spring is a great time to reflect upon and review your elearning courses and their content to make sure they remain top notch and up-to-date.
In some cases, your learners may need to take the same course again at a later date for compliance purposes. Do you want them to see the same course over again, or can you buff it up and add a bit of finesse to increase engagement?
Once you have the courses in mind to review, think to yourself… What knowledge am I trying to impart? Does it still reflect the learning outcomes? Do I want to change behaviours? Is it a compliance issue? Have there been any major occurrences since the course was created and will it impact its relevance? Has the audience changed? Are there new features on my platform to explore that will improve my content?
These factors and more should influence your decisions when it comes to updating your legacy content. Here are five tips and ideas get you started when spring cleaning your elearning:
1. Inspect and polish
Take time to evaluate your course. Has there been anything that has changed since you last published and released it? Some things to consider are:
- Company structure – if you reference this in your course, is it up-to-date? If you use images or videos of your employees in your course, are they still in your organisation?
- Legislation – are there changes that may affect your course?
- Health and safety – has COVID-19 or other influences changed the protocols in your organisation that have impacts to your course?
- Regulations, laws and their amendments – have any been implemented in the last twelve months? Have any rulings or decisions affected the recommendations you make? Are they relevant to your learners? If so, how?
- Resources – if you have included links to websites, added documents and videos, make sure they are still working and correct
- Learning outcomes – have they changed for any reason? Make sure they are still relevant
- Research – are your examples of a high standard and up-to-date with facts and figures?
- Audience – will the course be undertaken by a new cohort? Take them into consideration as you may need to adjust it to suit a different audience
2. Cleanse and declutter
If it’s been a while since you looked at a course, why not go back to it, and with an objective eye, evaluate its clarity:
- Learning objectives – are they clear? Do you even have them?
- Learning outcomes – are they achievable and connected to the learning objectives?
- Assessment questions – are they connected to the learning objectives?
- Assessment feedback – do you have any that need implementing?
- Interactions – do they help the learner understand what they need to know better? Are they relevant to the learner and their experiences?
- Language – do the words need to be written differently to make an activity clearer? Is there too much text on the page?
- Engagement – do the interactions provide enough information for the learner?
- Content – is it worth editing it so it’s clearer and more punchy? Are you providing more information than the learner actually needs? Does the course need to be split out into shorter courses to improve engagement?
- Relevancy – is it still relevant? If not, don’t be afraid to remove it
3. Refurbish and revamp
Visuals help your learners soak up chunks of course content quickly and function as a memory aid. Cast a critical eye across your visuals and pay close attention to the details:
- Out-of-date – are the images you’ve used looking outdated, tired or even old-fashioned? Out with the old and in with the new!
- Stay on topic – perhaps the images were topical – once. A good tip is, if it doesn’t improve it, remove it (and find something that works)
- Design – people’s expectations of graphic design have increased in recent years – are yours as professional as you want them to be?
- Engagement – can you inject new imagery or multimedia onto existing bland pages? Think outside the box (but not so far that it doesn’t relate to the audience)
- Feedback – have you had any feedback on your designs that you want to implement now? It’s important for your audience to know you are listening and improving
- Layout – are the visuals overpowering? Remember less is more
- Branding – has your company had an update of colours or logos? Are all the courses across your organisation branded correctly? Synergy creates harmony, so make sure you’re always on brand
Here’s our useful article with 7 tips to make your elearning more visually engaging.
4. Clear it up
If you had any feedback about the structural design of your course, it’s important to follow that up:
- Instructions – are they clearly defined and can learners follow them easily?
- Comprehension – are all elements of your course easy to understand? Always think of your audience and their learning styles
- Information – is information coherent, clearly introduced, repeated, and then assessed?
- Flow – are all the topics and pages clearly laid out to aid distraction-free learning?
- Time – is it taking too long to complete in the time learners have been allocated for the task? Is it too short so learners are rushed through, thus affecting learning outcomes?
- Pace – is it so long it might become dull? Can it be split into bite-size (microlearning) courses?
5. A clean sweep!
Try not to clean a course for the sake of cleaning. If it doesn’t improve the key messages, outcomes and make it more effective for your audience, don’t waste time on changing it.
Before you release your refreshed elearning, give it the white glove test by asking a colleague or learner to review your shiny new or updated material before you officially launch it. Then make any further changes accordingly to ensure it sparkles.
A bit of cleaning goes a long way, but don’t leave it until next spring to clean up your courses; schedule in some time periodically throughout the year to evaluate them. Your time is precious, so doing a lite review little and often helps to eliminate the drudgery and procrastination of tackling a big refurbishment later on down the line.
We hope these suggestions have helped you to get motivated into spring cleaning your elearning! For super quick and easy course authoring, our authoring tool Nimble Author may be just the right solution for you.