It's common for organizations to contact us with an urgent need to get learners up to speed right away. This is true now more than ever since the COVID-19 pandemic is forcing business leaders to rethink how they deliver learning. But the need to quickly deliver learning can occur for other reasons as well, such as:
- A mining company was about to start work building a new diamond mine. The problem? Legal compliance orders required the 500+ workers to complete safety training before they could break ground.
- A hospital acquired a new electronic record application for its patients and had to get all staff comfortable using it immediately.
- A training provider in the medical marijuana industry was overwhelmed with demand as regional legislation changed.
Given the scope of these initiatives, organizations needed an agile learning management system (LMS) to have any chance of meeting deadlines. So the stakeholders fast-tracked the selection process by quickly identifying a shortlist of systems through a Request for Information (RFI) questionnaire, scheduling demos and testing each system.
The stakeholders involved in selecting the LMS are often the same people responsible for content creation. So while the LMS evaluation, selection and implementation processes are taking place, these stakeholders also need to create content.
As the go-live date approaches, these organizations typically have a beautiful, branded LMS, skilled administrators and no content. This is like inviting 100 guests to a housewarming dinner party next Saturday to show off your new home, but you haven't yet bought furniture, dishes, a fridge or food.
If you find yourself with an urgent need to create learning content, here are some tips that may speed up the process:
- Keep it simple. Sure, courses with beautiful graphics, an original soundtrack, rich animations and cartoon characters that move their lips when they speak look fabulous. But they also take a long time to create.
- Keep an open mind when determining what constitutes a course. A course can include anything that gets your message across: videos, documents, quizzes, presentations, tasks, etc.
- Target the most important content first. Create a list of what your learners need to know. Now prioritize it. Start at the highest-priority topic on your list and work down. The nice-to-know stuff can come later.
- There's a lot of free options out there. You don't need to create everything from scratch. You can embed existing material from sites such as YouTube, Wikipedia, etc. Likewise, there are innumerable sites offering free photos, clip-art and more.
- Create opportunities for microlearning. The popularity of mobile devices has increased the need for short, bite-sized pieces of eLearning. So, you should create content that is easily consumed in short segments. If a lesson takes longer than five minutes to complete, ask yourself whether it could be broken into smaller chunks.
- First get it out there it, then make it better. If you can't release a piece of content until it's the most beautiful document/video/course/ etc. ever created, you'll never be able to meet your deadline. First get the content out. Once the rush has been met, start working on making it better to wow future learners.