Vicious Cycle of Course Review

Jan 11, 2018


Wonder if anyone can share his/her experiences on how to get your teammate to limit # of reviews on his/her courses. "John" was letting the SMEs to review the courses at least 5 times. He was always complaining that the SMEs will always find something new (even just niche stuff) everytime they reviewed the courses. I suggested limiting the review cycles to 2 or 3 max. Any suggestions are welcome. Thanks in advance. 

7 Replies
Les Helyes

I feel your pain Ben.   With some SMEs, the more time you give them, the longer they seem to take.

We base development on a timeline, starting from the Go Live date and working backwards to develop the "Plan".

This is how we do:  (high level)

  1. Kick-off meeting to determine learning objectives; establish Go Live date
  2. Gather content from the SMEs and develop the content document
  3. Lock it down after 2 reviews
  4. Develop the design document (perhaps more than 1)
  5. Face-to-face meeting to discuss options; select 1
  6. Develop eLearning course/lesson(s)
  7. Lock it down after 2 reviews
  8. Publish and assign learners

Good luck.

Bob S

Hi Ben,

No worries and it's still a valid question as this issue can occur on both sides (as you've experienced).  This is why we often try to have a published review cycle that everyone agrees to up front. This probably sounds more formal than it often is; it can be as simple as a single slide/graphic explaining the process and then holding folks accountable to it.

At each stage of the review cycle, certain things are signed off (ie locked down) and changes  after the fact have an impact on timeline... even if it's an "easy" fix,  We found holding folks accountable for their sign offs and imposing a slight timeline slippage (even if artificial) actually improved the quality of the reviews and shortened the overall process.


Ben Kur

Hi Bob,

I really appreciate your input. We actually started doing what you and Les suggested. A plan with the timeline that we can hold everyone accountable. This way it was not like targeting someone specific. We did see some improvements but "John" always pushed back. We had let the manager know about the situation, and it is just unfortunate there was nothing really what we can say or do to help. 

Ray Cole

Good, cheap, fast: pick two. But remember, if you don't pick "good" as one of your two choices, you may as well not bother at all, since bad (meaning: ineffective) courses, while cheaper, are a 100% waste of money, no matter how fast you can grind them out.

While some end-dates are extremely important, others are just arbitrary markers for project management purposes. It is hard to know if "John's" behavior was detrimental or heroic without knowing what the impact of the missed deadline is in terms of course quality and effectiveness vs. the cost of continuing to work to improve the course.

Creating a mediocre, low-impact course "on time and on budget" doesn't do anyone any favors. It is absolutely the right thing to do--sometimes--to push back on an arbitrary deadline if it is forcing design and development compromises that significantly reduce course effectiveness. If you release an ineffective course "on time and on budget" you have wasted not only the money that went into the design and development of the ineffective course, but more importantly, the time of everyone who takes it. The overall cost in this case would be substantially lower to spend more (time and or money) to develop an effective course, because only an effective course is worth people's time to take. If the number of learners who will take a course is at all large, the cost of their time to take the course usually greatly exceeds the cost of designing and developing the training, even if you have to spend a little more on it to get the results you want.



michelle eames

I'm wondering if John has been 'burned' on a previous project that has knocked his confidence.  Or has worked for an organisation when 5 minutes before you roll out someone decides to  change the policy, realised your training has actually highlighted an issue / bugs/ problem with the process / lack of compliance.  Even worse 5 miniutes after, so you have to pull the course and look like an idiot when 350 call you to say the course is no longer there.   Never happened to me :-)

Joking aside, have you asked John why he needs to review so often?

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