Something all training departments should do but often don’t is review their existing courses regularly to ensure they’re up-to-date and functioning as expected.
There are a few common reasons this critical task is often overlooked:
- Launching a course is considered the last step in the process—reviewing and updating isn’t on anyone’s radar.
- Everyone’s focused on creating new courses.
- There are so many existing courses that maintaining them all seems daunting.
If you’re in the same boat, now is the time to make a change. After all, if your training courses are outdated or broken, it’s a waste of time for employees to take them. When you think about it like that, it really highlights the importance of making time for course maintenance.
To make the process feel more manageable, I’ve broken it down into four simple steps—and I’ve even included some tips for improving your courses while you’re at it. Let’s take a look!
1. Make a List
Start by compiling a list of your existing courses. Use Google Sheets, an Excel spreadsheet, or any other app you’re comfortable with to get organized. Here are some things you might want to include:
- Course title
- Date published
- Authoring app
- Published course URL
- Source file location
- Actions needed (e.g., republish, refresh, remove, or redesign—we’ll talk more about these options in the next section)
Here’s an example of what that could look like:
Like how I’ve set this up? Download my template to help you get started.
2. Review Your Courses
Once you’ve made a list, set aside some time to do a thorough review of your courses. Ensure your interactions, animations, and other course assets work as intended, that the content is still relevant, and the graphics are up-to-date. For a complete list of things to watch out for, use this handy resource: E-Learning Maintenance Checklist.
If you come across some things that are broken or out-of-date, decide whether it makes most sense to update the existing course or to rebuild it from scratch. If the choice isn’t immediately obvious, head over to this article to help make the call: Update or Rebuild: How To Know if an Old E-Learning Course Can Be Revived.
Then, update the spreadsheet you made in the previous section to include information about next steps.
3. Make a Plan
Before you start updating, sit down and make a plan. Look at your list and decide the order in which you should update the courses. Prioritize business-critical courses such as new employee onboarding, software training used by your frontliners, or training that’s urgently needed to support business goals.
Think about whether it’s something you can do on your own or if you’ll need to enlist the help of a coworker or a freelancer (via our job board, for example).
Decide whether to update the courses all at once or little by little. Put together a schedule for updates to keep the project on track and set up checkpoints (using calendar reminders, for example) to ensure it’s progressing.
4. Take Action
Once you’ve made a plan, you can start converting your content. Here’s how to update your courses based on your decision to republish, refresh, remove, or redesign.
Let’s say the course content and visuals are up-to-date but it’s not working anymore because it includes Flash content that’s no longer supported by most browsers. If you created the course in Storyline 1, Storyline 2, Studio ’09, or Studio ’13, just upgrade your course to Articulate 360 (which includes both Storyline 360 and Studio 360) or Storyline 3. Both options can do the hard work of converting older content for you, so in just minutes your legacy courses will work on modern browsers. We’ve made it super easy to upgrade. Just follow the steps outlined here:
- Upgrading Courses to Storyline 360
- Upgrading Courses to Storyline 3
- Upgrading Courses to Presenter 360
- Upgrading Quizzes to Quizmaker 360
- Upgrading Interactions to Engage 360
Go through and edit the course based on your notes during your review. This might include updating visuals, rewriting some content, or fixing minor technical issues.
And check out this article for some tips on how to quickly update the design of your older courses: 4 Fast & Easy Changes That Will Make Your Old Storyline Courses Look New Again.
Even if you no longer need a course, take a look at the slides and see if there’s anything you want to recycle—an image, a cool interaction, etc. If there is, and you’re using Storyline 360, you can save those slides as a Storyline template to import later or use Team Slides to easily share with your team. When you’re done reviewing, remove the file and move on.
If removing a course makes you a little nervous—even if you know it’s not needed—do what I do and keep a backup of the source file in case you want to revisit this content someday.
If your course’s source files are no longer available or if the content is really out-of-date, you may need to redesign the course.
From there, ask yourself questions like:
- What content changes need to be made?
- What new graphics are needed?
- Are there videos that need updating?
- Would this content be better broken up into smaller courses?
I hope these steps make it easier for you and your team to stay organized and keep your content up-to-date.
And in case you forgot to bookmark the helpful articles mentioned earlier in this article, here they are once again:
- E-Learning Maintenance Checklist
- Course Update Spreadsheet
- Refresh or Rebuild: How To Know if an Old E-Learning Course Can Be Revived
- 4 Fast & Easy Changes That Will Make Your Old Storyline Courses Look New Again
- 6 Ways to Quickly Update an Outdated E-Learning Design
- Rise 360 or Storyline 360: Which One Should You Use for Your Project?
And be sure to follow us on Twitter and come back to E-Learning Heroes regularly for more helpful advice on everything related to e-learning. If you have any questions, please share them in the comments.