How are your learning management system and Pinterest alike? When I want a good recipe for an easy meal made in a Crockpot, my first instinct is to jump on Pinterest and find a great one with a pretty picture. I’m optimistic, and I tell myself that it will be a quick scan and I’ll find one quickly.
Cut to three hours later where I’ve learned how to sand my hardwood floors and planned my dream vacation to Greece. And… nothing cooking in the Crockpot.
Pinterest is chock-full of amazing things (one of them being pinterest.com/shawntaymichelle) and a seemingly endless supply of possibilities and shiny things that we can get sidetracked by pretty fast. Same goes for any social media platform. We can easily fall into a scrolling blackhole without consuming and using the content.
This can also be true for your training content in a Learning Management System, or LMS. You’ve got a ton of great stuff to share with your learners, but creating content and uploading to a learning management system is only half the battle.
You also want your learners to easily find and USE your trainings consistently with up-to-date information.
So how do you avoid a scrolling blackhole in your learning management system?
Review, review, review.
Create. Review. Rinse. Repeat.
So you’ve been tasked with creating a training. You make great learning objectives, interview a SME, and pump out a great product. You upload it to your LMS and learners consume the content while you move on to create the next training. Then the whole process starts over.
As you keep on truckin’ through your assignments, your training library will continue to grow. Over time, this library will become a rich source of knowledge, but another important step is to evaluate or review the content you create.
Learners might start devaluing your content because it’s out of date or no longer serves a purpose to those consuming it. Working a review cycle into your creation flow is also a way for your training content to stay up-to-date and useful to the learner.
It’s so frustrating to put your heart and soul into a training then see a big goose egg on the number of views and completions. Even worse, is to see the number of users of your LMS go down. These stats might be an indicator that something has gone wrong. Could it be the dreaded learning management system blackhole? So how do you avoid this blackhole?
Ask yourself these questions to get started and we’ll break down each one:
- How often does important content change?
- Is there technology or program updates you know are coming that will affect the training?
- How can learners provide feedback on the content?
- Who is in charge of reviewing LMS content?
- Who do you report updates to and how often?
Let’s talk through possible answers to each of these questions and how you can navigate through each one to make it work for you without falling into an LMS blackhole.
How often does important content change?
Depending on what kind of content you are producing and the type of learner you are serving will determine the timeline for reviews. If you know that content will not be changing very often, your review cycle might just need to happen on an annual basis.
If content will be changing often for learners, reviews might need to happen on a quarterly basis. For example, technology changes for sales tools used by field sales representatives might happen often.
This means your training might need to be short and sweet and easy to update quickly as changes are passed down. Old trainings can be archived with new, updated training content rolled out as seamless as possible.
Depending on the size of your training library, you can review sections annually in different quarters. Dedicating one quarter to the sales section and employee compliance training in another quarter, for example, will guarantee that each part of the library will be part of the review process and not be overlooked.
Is there technology or program updates you know are coming which will affect training?
If your company includes use of an online program or app for learners, there could be critical updates that happen on a regular basis. If you know these are coming, you can schedule reviews of existing training content ahead of updates.
This can allow you to update your training as soon as or close to the launch of the new tech update and archive old trainings that are no longer relevant. Having this expiration date will keep your library up to date and learners will trust you to keep them in the know.
How can learners provide feedback on the content?
As training creators, we can sometimes miss important learning barriers from the learner’s perspective. I know it seems scary to allow learners to provide feedback or critique your work, but it will provide you with important insight.
We sometimes get so focused on timelines and our own objectives that we can miss little pots of gold that would be helpful for learners. Surveys or course ratings are a great way to tap into the gold of creating and maintaining a great training library.
This insight can help you prioritize what course content should be updated and when. The highest priority should be given to the course that has erroneous content or the course that has the greatest impact on company objectives.
All course content should be reviewed at least one time per year.
Who is in charge of reviewing LMS content?
Reviewing LMS content might be done by one specific person or as a team effort. If you have a team, it might be easier to divide and conquer, but that might be tough if you are the team.
Another option is to involve the training requestor or the key stakeholders who requested the training be created. You may even need to involve the SMEs in the review to make sure the information is still up-to-date and accurate.
The best review teams are comprised of the training team, training requestors, and SMEs.
Regardless of who is in charge of the review, everyone needs to be on the same page when it comes to how the review should be carried out. Where will you put your review comments and feedback? A shareable spreadsheet or dashboard? Who is in charge of each section?
Who do you report updates to and how often?
As a part of reporting and tracking ROI on training resources, you’ll need to track the usage or number of views for courses. You might need to report usage results to a high level manager to show that your training library is being consumed by learners.
Reporting usage on a regular basis will not only help you track when training is being used and how much, but it will help you report valuable business outcomes on your trainings and the LMS.
Depending on your company structure, this report may track weekly and monthly usage and be used as a part of the review process. This keeps your manager in the loop and your LMS evaluation cycle on track.
Keeping the LMS up-to-date and valuable to learners with a trackable review process keeps the training content valuable to the company and prevents your Learning Management System from becoming a blackhole.
Now, what’s for dinner? Oh look, Pinterest.
My Facebook Group is a great place to add your questions and engage with other instructional designers on different topics related to instructional design, so jump on in and join the conversation.