July 2, 2019
In today’s world, it should be easy to acquire the right content for an eLearning course. The internet has countless videos, articles, blog posts, and DIY tutorials available at our fingertips. With so much content to choose from, there comes an important question: how do you pick the best content for your course?
The answer is using these five guidelines to effectively evaluate your curated eLearning content.
Why You Need to Evaluate Potential Content
Carefully evaluating the content you want to use in your course will help prevent two main problems:
Inaccurate or Stale Content
The great thing about the internet is that nearly anyone can post anything they want. The downside is, anyone can post anything they want. Just because you find content on the internet doesn’t mean it’s true, or that it still holds up. There’s no expiration date on content, regardless of accuracy.
Too Much or Too Little Content
If you don’t spend time actually digging into the content you’ve chosen, you may falsely assume that it will hit your necessary points, when in fact it doesn’t. Inversely, it may be tempting to include all of the content you find, which may include unnecessary information and hit points that are irrelevant to the training your employees require.
It’s easy to say, “Ok, we need to vet all of our curated content”, but actually knowing what points to consider can be a little more challenging. To make your life easier, here are five guidelines which will help you effectively evaluate your curated eLearning content:
1. How Reliable is the Source?
Before the internet, research would require a trip to the library, or to your nearest friend with a complete set of encyclopedias. Once the internet came of age, we had the completely free Wikipedia at our fingertips. Imagine our surprise when we were told that we couldn’t use Wikipedia as a source.
This is because Wikipedia is not reliable, regardless of how well known it is. Wikipedia’s content is editable by anyone, meaning there’s no one vetting the information and checking for accuracy.
In much the same way, curated eLearning content should be approached with a healthy amount of skepticism. Just because a video, blog post, or other media is well-produced doesn’t mean the content within is worthwhile. Check that the source providing the information has a good reputation, and is regarded as credible within the community. Check forums for mentions, and see if the content has been cited in any other blog posts or research reports.
2. Is the Content Engaging?
Keeping learners engaged is no simple matter. There are four key factors which affect whether or not content will really connect with the users.
When the content is created with a certain type of person in mind, that person will be more likely to deeply engage with the content and understand the lesson. Look at demographics and also psychographics to understand your learners. Use this to help evaluate the curated content you’re considering.
Even if a learner starts with the best of intentions, it can be difficult to stay focused when the modules begin to bleed together. If all of your modules are the same format, it’s likely your users will grow bored and begin to mentally check out.
With such a wide variety of learning module types available, there’s really no excuse to have only a single format in your course. Between video tutorials, interactive scenarios, and gamified content, it’s possible to truly keep your learners on their toes and in the zone.
You need to make sure that your content, while varied and engaging, is also applicable to what the learner is trying to accomplish. If the learner can’t turn your course into real-world knowledge they can use on the job, there’s no value in it.
Keeping your content varied is great. Keeping your platforms just as varied takes it to the next level. If users can access your content from their computer, tablet, and phone, they will always have your lessons at their fingertips. Ease of access makes a much clearer path to learner engagement.
3. Is Your Tone Consistent?
You have a brand, and it’s taken you time to build it. With every business decision you make, you consider whether it’s in line with your brand and message. Your curated content should be no different.
While the plethora of available content means you have no shortage of resources, it also means that there are countless ways of accomplishing the same tasks. You need to evaluate the content to make sure the methods and practices being taught are compatible with your company’s policies and best practices. Keep the tone of your content on-brand at all times.
4. Is the Content Relevant and Objective-Based?
When a learner approaches an eLearning course, their intent is to learn something. For learners to get the most out of a course, they must be able to relate to the content – and it needs to help them achieve their goal. However, all learners are different.
Before you begin analyzing content, get information from your learners about their goals. Then analyze the results, and find the commonalities between them.
Use these surveys to find the baseline of your learners. Including information in the course that is unnecessary or too advanced will alienate your audience, and make them tune your content out.
5. Is the Content Evergreen?
No one wants to create an eLearning course only to have to recreate it every year. Your curated content should be made to last. As quickly as technology changes, it’s easy for content to get an aged, outdated feel.
The term evergreen is often used to describe content that will last years. Content that remains relevant for years after its creation means that you won’t have to update your course.
Avoiding trends and pop culture topics will also help stave off that dated feel. Old content that makes old references can take your learners out of the lesson. Trends also have a tendency to be disproven given enough time. Stick to tried and true methods to avoid having your lessons go from outdated to outright inaccurate.
Whether creating your course in house or using a third-party company, curated content can alleviate the stress around filling out your eLearning course. Using these five guidelines to properly evaluate your content will ensure that it’s accurate, engaging, and long-lasting, helping you truly maximize your investment.