One of the biggest challenges of delivering courses is obsolescence: as soon as learners in your organization complete the courses you've worked so hard to build, the content is no longer relevant and you now find yourself having to start all over again.
According to eLearningIndustry, the average shelf life of a business skill has dropped from 30 years in 1984 to 5 years in 2014. And only continuous learners will succeed.
There are a few processes that today's L&D professional should have in place to ensure that the team deals with market realities -- ready to face any and all threats from potentially out-of-date or irrelevant learning content.
Course development cannot take place in a vacuum. Learning professionals should consider building courses based on needs expressed not only by managers but also by employees. Consider an internal crowdsourcing program, in which you can capture new ideas from employees directly. These employees may also be in a stronger position to give you an idea of the lifecycle for certain skills, as they be more in touch with what's applicable -- or marketable -- than can the management.
Research from Gallup published in Harvard Business Review notes that today's millennial employees place a greater emphasis on opportunities to learn and grow and opportunities for advancement.
In this manner, you can create an efficient, structured training request intake process that give you not only a clearer idea of what skills are in demand but also of the shelf life, which can inform the road map for courses you eventually build.
The main deterrent to re-creating courses is that it often takes so long to create the first one. The process to create and deliver that learning content does not need to be. A single platform can be set to take content and automatically create chapters, summaries, and quizzes or assessments -- while ensuring that timing is in line so that the course isn't too long or short for your learners' needs.
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Admittedly, off-the-shelf (OTS) courses are cheaper and faster to deliver to learners. But as knowledge becomes a company's secret weapon – and the need for employees to acquire that knowledge – OTS courses simply cannot deliver. Employees are also savvier these days; they can sense when a 'one-size-fits-all' course is put in front of them, rather than a purpose-built, role-specific experience is delivered.
Beyond the end-of-course assessment, two-way feedback loops should be present throughout course development and delivery. The ability to iterate and make changes on the fly -- based on feedback from learners -- is essential to creating courses that are relevant and deliver on their promise.
Indeed, technologies or skills may change in the the short time it takes to build a course, and an active feedback loop can ensure that the right content gets delivered.
Ultimately, your organization needs to establish and nurture a culture of learning, in which knowledge is part of the company's DNA. By embracing newer ideologies like a Learning Design Systems (LDS), you can combat obsolescence with crowdsourced ideas, rapid prototyping, and built-in feedback loops. Anyone can learn how to design training content – rapidly and at scale – that satisfies both your learners and your instructional design team.