Sunday, June 01, 2014

Re-visiting previously created courses

There is a common saying, "If it ain't broken, don't fix it." When it comes to courses, most training teams prefer to follow this theory. That is, courses that have been in use for a long time are seldom re-visited. They are in use and there are no complaints, so why bother? This is understandable given that we are all hard pressed for time in this day and age of information overload and hyper-connectivity. But the reality is that technology evolves and there are always means to improve how courses are packaged and presented.

For our part, as the provider of the technology platform, sometimes we are way too focussed on what else can be added to the product that we forget how it was like in the past and how the long-time users of our system might still be using the legacy "brick and mortar" features. We experienced something similar when we were going to move a long-time client over to our newer platform. 

They were using series courses (a collection of courses) to accomplish employee certifications. Most of the series courses were having a considerably large number of sub courses (modules). Some were having as much as 40 odd sub courses. As an end user, you are supposed to go through each and every sub course, in sequence and then take a quiz at the end of it all in order to achieve your certification. 

Can you imagine yourself taking all those 40 courses and not getting certified at the end? Actually that would be reality if you take those courses in a random order (and not in a sequence). You would be asked to take the test again since it should be the last thing to do in order to consider the series as 'completed'.

Times had changed (on our side) and this process was simplified in our latest product versions. But we never knew someone was still following this old suit until we saw it ourselves. We felt that a helping hand was necessary and we suggested an improvement and they absolutely loved it!

What we first did was to go through their sub course contents and find out how we can unify those contents so as to reduce the overall course count. We found that most of these sub courses had simple PDFs and documents as their content and many of them had YouTube videos as contents.

So we used our course developing tool - Techniq Portfolio to assemble the contents within all those 40 subcourses - that would be PDFs, PPTs, Docs, Videos, YouTube Videos etc. and create one solid single course, with 40 pages in it and a quiz at the end, that too created with TP. The result? They no longer need to use even the concept of series to accomplish their goal. Now their employees have to take only one single course in one shot to get certifications.

Wait a minute. Did I mention that we could even put timers to individual pages so as to restrict users from moving on to other pages without spending sufficient time on the current page? In short, the course was cut down, the effort was cut down. We got a happy client and  above all we were satisfied to see first hand our product's evolution coming in handy for someone.

If you are course developer or training in-charge do re-visit your old courses, you might make your end-users experience a lot better!