Instructional Design

Training Shelf Life: Redesign Your Digital Learning So it Doesn’t Go Stale

When we talk about training “shelf life,” we’re defining how long content stays fresh, engaging, and relevant without a redesign. Too often training is designed with the idea that it’ll be perpetually evergreen and always applicable. Of course, those who have taken a course with actors in bell bottoms and aviators can tell you that old, irrelevant content can be spotted a mile away.

It’s not just a matter of outdated content being funny. When learners perceive that information is outdated or irrelevant because of the way it’s packaged and delivered, they disengage and automatically see the course as useless for them personally.

Digital learning that has been repackaged and had a redesign so that it’s fresh can help connect learners to the material. Even if the content is the same, the way it’s delivered can have a huge bearing on its overall shelf life.

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One of the biggest missteps we see time and time again with an instructional design is well-meaning organizations using an instructional designer who lacks experience in user experience. A good learning designer doesn’t just take your content and work it into a new script but takes the time to understand the project from a learner’s perspective.

Where does the audience go for learning? How do they like to learn? Which areas are the most relevant? What type of multimedia speaks to learners the best? Taking the time to consider learning from these perspectives means creating modules and programs that provide a fresh take and better learner experience. It’s not just about what you say but how you say it, and a qualified learning designer can help you refine your delivery methods.

Prototypes and Pilots

Ask for feedback on your training and you’ll definitely get it. Learners are usually more than happy to share their ideas about what’s working and what’s not. If you keep hearing learners complain that the learning feels irrelevant to them, it goes too fast or too slow, or they’re bored, it’s time to redesign your learning. But don’t just cobble together or repackage the same old info into something new: create a pilot program and test your new ideas.

Prototyping gives you a chance to test without rolling out a new, expensive program. Instead, you can put together a beta training program, test, tweak, create, and redesign something that really works. Instead of just another storyboard, you and your learning designer can put together training that allows the learner to adjust speed, topics, and delivery for an individual experience. When learning becomes hyper-relevant to the individual, it never feels outdated or stale.

If you’re delivering the same information year after year, it can be tough to make it seem fresh and exciting. By teaming up with a qualified and visionary learning designer, you can look at your training through a new lens. With the right delivery methods, redesign, and multimedia, you can shake off the stale bits and increase the shelf life for any learning.