Your course goes live and you’re done right? Wrong…there are always changes and updates 🙁
I really don’t like spending tons of time “maintaining” course content. How can course updates be minimized?
Here are some ideas:
Speak in the Now – If you’re creating a course for something that will happen in the future why not talk about it as though it has already happened? Just explain what/how it is. That way once the product launches you won’t have to go back and change all of the text that has “this will…”.
Don’t Use People’s Names/Pictures – Employees change but typically titles and departments don’t. When possible just reference a department or job function instead of a person’s name.
Use Main Contact Numbers/Emails – Try and find “general” phone numbers and email addresses. (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Link to Resources – Don’t recreate existing online resources. If you are building a course on policies and procedures, then link to existing documents/pages within the P&P system. Whenever a policy is updated it will automatically be “linked” to the course. This also works well with product knowledge bases.
Be Cautious of System Simulations – Anytime you use system simulations and screen shots you are in danger of system changes. Most companies have multiple updates to systems and you may need to change the simulations each time. This could take tons of time.
Audio Might Hurt – Audio narration can be great in a course but it can also come back to bite you. Any changes that happen may impact your audio. Make sure you have access to the “voice” that was used before. If not you may have to re-record the entire course. Also it becomes difficult to do simple text changes if it affects the narration.
Beware of Quoting Pricing/Rates – If you are dealing with content that has exact pricing and/or rates, be aware that those may change frequently. It might be best to have a link in your course to a website that has up-to-date pricing/rates.
Vendors are Great…Sometimes – Was your course developed by a vendor? If so, did you budget for changes or do you expect to do it in-house? If you do maintenance in-house make sure that you have the software that was used to develop the content. (this is assuming that you got the source files from the vendor.) Also, does someone on your teams know how to make the updates? (Flash?)
Check for Errors – It is always difficult to jump into the middle of existing content and to start “tweaking and editing” text. Many times the sentences don’t make sense and spelling errors happen. Make sure that someone re-reads the pages to make sure that the edited content still makes sense.
Re-Publishing Takes Time – Once edits are complete you usually have to re-publish the course. Ensure that you have the correct publish settings. Sometimes these revert back to a default setting. Check the LMS settings and determine what it driving the completion of your course (test score, pages views, etc.). Also, remember that re-publishing takes time and then you also have to re-upload the course files to the server. Make sure that all of the edits are done and the errors are fixed before re-publishing. This will save you a bunch of time.