With increased popularity of e-learning in the corporate world, it is a good idea to build in the scope of repurposing content, especially when creating custom e-learning content. By creating a strategy that takes into account all available resources, we can reap the benefits of repurposing by improving the speed and quality of e-learning content development.
The top-most benefit of repurposing e-learning content is an increased speed of development in addition to consistency of content and assurance of interoperability. By utilizing learning objects: time is saved, production is increased as well as consistency of content and its delivery is maintained.
The most common type of content repurposing is large-scale transformation of content from one medium to another. This includes converting printed learning content or digital content such as presentations created in PowerPoint, into online courses. Alternatively, specific content objects within a course can also be reused like a corporate logo or an assessment, across e-learning content developed henceforth.
What makes repurposing a reality as well as a convenient path is the fact that e-learning content can be disassembled as individual learning objects, and then tagged and stored. These learning objects are then reused to create further learning content. Technology used to create and host e-learning content also supports repurposing. Authoring tools modify, tag, integrate and publish content objects into e-learning courses in ways that allow them to be used again. Integration and conversion tools, which enable repurposing from one format to another, such as PowerPoint to e-learning content, also support faster migration and development. Learning management systems (LMSs) store and host the e-learning content to facilitate the repurposing of content as well.
However, even with most e-learning technologies supporting content repurposing, here are still some hurdles to be crossed!
• The main hurdle in the way of repurposing content is the long and tedious nature of text-only content and PowerPoint presentations. Text-only content fails to take advantage of including multimedia such as videos, audio files, interactive exercises, games and simulations, which is the highlight of adopting e-learning. If the existing learning material is heavily text-based then it is necessary to rethink the content strategy of converting it into different media. For example, if your department trains salespeople how to sell their product to resale-dealers and uses a long text description of the market conditions, consider a video of actual sales personnel talking and explaining it to achieve the learning objective with more efficacy. Considering new ways to communicate learning concepts using multimedia makes even the most difficult topics more engaging.
• Similarly, PowerPoint presentations in instructor-led classroom training often serve as visual aids and lecture guides for the instructor, with majority of the content delivered verbally. Thus the presentation screens are only a fraction of the necessary content to be repurposed as e-learning, therefore it is clear that PowerPoint or slide presentations cannot be repurposed into e-learning content without significant reworking. As with text, presentations often lack the necessary interactivity to engage students when the training migrates from instructor-led to online. Simulations and interactivity can be built within the course to make the content align more to the e-learning advantage.
• Another important aspect of reusing individual learning objects is identifying what categories of objects are frequently re-purposed. Striving to save every single learning object will be a waste of time and effort towards tagging each object within the learning content. If the development team rarely repurposes a certain type of file or learning content it is evident that those need not be archived as it doesn’t fit the list of learning objects which are frequently repurposed.
• When reusing a particular learning object within the learning material, it is important to follow a methodology that ensures that content can be stored and retrieved quickly. Most of the reusable content within the learning content are graphic elements, such as photographs, illustrations, videos, corporate logos and animations. Parts of text can also be identified and shared as a reusable content by the content developer or the instructional designer.
Though a frequently adopted strategy, repurposing content requires effective management and strategy. Considering organisation specific issues as well as norms of the e-learning industry, it is possible to build a strong foundation for repurposing content and reap the benefits it offers.