After a course goes live... Maintaining your courses

So the focus in elearning development is often on getting a new course designed and implemented. But what do you do to maintain your existing library of courses to ensure that they still work properly?

I've been tasked with coming up with a policy/schedule to maintain a catalog of hundreds of online courses for a healthcare organisation. I'd like to create an update schedule plan, where I use feedback from users (gathered via end of course surveys) and usability/functionality testing to advise on updates and edits to existing content. I would send out a periodic report to the course owners/managers advising them that they need to make changes to their course. 

Does anyone have any tips or resources on this? Has anyone put together a plan for maintaining courses once they have gone live? 

The plan is to try and ensure that we don't end up with 5-year-old courses in our system, built in oldfashioned tools (e.g flash), and with outdated content and broken links.

Any tips/advice gratefully received.

Thanks!

4 Replies
Tristan Hunt

Hi Andrew,

I am facing a similar scenario at the moment. Having come into a health care organisation that is very new to e-learning.

Do you have a mechanism to capture changes to legislation and best practice? From what I have seen so far these can change regularly.

I think courses should be reviewed 6-12 monthly depending on how likely the content is to change but that updates shouldn't be limited to that review. If something important changes in the business their should be a trigger to capture and update the relevant learning material.

I will be interested to see what you come up with.

Cheers

 

 

Andrew Dunn

Hi Tristan

I've broken my courses into 4 blocks and scheduled each for attention on 31 March, 30 June, 30 Sept and 31 Dec (i.e. quarterly). This means each course will be reviewed annually. I've created a checklist for QA for each course (e.g. are there any broken links etc). My process is to run a report of student feedback for each course, go through it and make suggestions for the course owner, and then contact them to request an update. That's as far as I've got so far...

Bob S

Andrew,

With hundreds of courses to maintain you may want to pursue a two-tiered strategy...

1) Yes, set up a routine schedule for looking at each course. Perhaps that's annually, perhaps not. And breaking that up throughout the year is great.

2) But beyond that, you may want to set up a feedback rating schema that captures not only the suggestion/issue/need but also the criticality of it.  Basically, take each piece of feedback, including regulatory changes, SME requests, etc and assign a rating to it in terms of the "risk" involved with doing nothing right now.  A risk of 1 means it's a try nice-to-have item, risk 5 means bad bad things will happen if you don't prioritize fixing it right away (eg the law is changing shortly and it's serious).

The key is to break down the critically rating by individual suggestion/tweak/need independently. Only then do you look at the totality of items for any given course and make a decision to move it up, or back, in the update cycle.  For example.... If you've gotten only a few 1's on a course and it's up for review, then consider moving it back to the next quarter if you need the resources for other work.  Conversely, if you you've gotten a true 5 or several 3's for example, then maybe that course gets moved up to this cycle right now even if it wasn't due for touching until next time.  Make sense?

The other side benefit of this, is it gives you a tangible way to justify to stakeholders, regulators, SMEs, etc why a certain course may or may not have been updated.  When dealing with courses on the scale you have this can be an important consideration so you don't get pulled around in circles by every demand.

Hope this helps and good luck!