resurrecting old contentIn honor of Halloween, I wanted to discuss a scary scenario. When the education department at your organization is you, it’s easy to let old content linger beyond its welcome. When you discover that your training materials or courses need upgrading, it can seem like you must start from scratch. But with what time and resources? The horror! Before you lay that old content to rest, consider sprucing it up a bit first. You can learn the dos and don’ts of resurrecting old content and training materials with a few tricks.

Do

  • Review everything first, and eliminate anything that’s:
    • No longer accurate.
    • Covered better somewhere else.
  • Consolidate, re-work, and streamline the remaining content.
  • Find any content gaps and fill them.
  • Start keeping assets (such as videos, graphics, etc.) organized, and, if possible, tagged somewhere they’re easily accessible, searchable, and ready for reuse.
    • It’s better to have your own assets saved somewhere for consistent reuse than having everyone run off to keep buying stock photos or copy-pasting from Google image search every time they make a presentation or course.
  • Make templates out of courses that went over well or formats you use often. That way making new courses, job aids, etc. is more a matter of filling in content then trying to figure out formatting and placement.
  • Consider breaking those longer courses into microlearning content. Remember, attention spans are not what they used to be. If a course can become shorter and more focused, it should become shorter and more focused.

Don’t

  • Take old content (PPTs, videos, courses, etc.) and slap them on a new platform, device, etc. and call it done. Your learners will notice, and not in a good way.
  • Forget about branding. If your logos or color palette have changed over the years, remember to update content to reflect the organization’s brand standards.
  • Release updated content on an old platform that doesn’t reflect how today’s learners access their content. If your content is great but your platform is horrible, there’s a good chance people won’t ever access your content. Consider a platform that allows for mobile delivery.

Ultimately, resurrecting old content isn’t just about reusing old courses, but about cobbling the best pieces together. Consider yourself Dr. Frankenstein, and unleash your resurrected creation upon your learners. If done correctly, your learners will put down their pitchforks and admire your work. If not, your courses will terrorize your learners. Follow our dos and don’ts list to avoid terror, when resurrecting old content.

*Credit to Jennifer Ritter for assisting in the creation of this dos and don’ts list. She’s a heck of a ghoul and a scary brilliant instructional designer.