2 for 1: Using Agile Learning for Rapid Content Development

agile learning and rapid content development

There are a few different interpretations of the term rapid content development out there. But the most common is the quick creation of elearning content using authoring tools created for rapid design. 

The nature of rapid content development means Agile Learning aligns perfectly with the goal of rapid content creation and assembly. Combining the two concepts can increase your rate of course design.

What is rapid content development or rapid elearning? 

There are lots of different interpretations. But the common thread is speed, both in the creation and deployment of learning experiences.

eLearning Industry identifies a few common elements that define courses built with rapid elearning tools and techniques:

  • Development usually takes 2-3 weeks
  • Subject Matter Experts (SMEs) provide much of the content
  • L&D use rapid authoring tools to make the content course-ready
  • Instructional design expertise is not required to develop content or courses
  • Course template are commonly used to facilitate rapid development
  • Tools and software used often have “Easy Publish” features in common standards such as SCORM

When to use rapid content development?

Agile Learning is not always a suitable methodology for training project management. Similarly, rapid content development is best for specific situations.

Larger training project elements or brand new topics may require a more in-depth analysis. Likewise, complete overhauls of your training program or longterm shifts may require complex models and processes.

But there are scenarios where rapid content development can save training teams a large chunk of their time and resources:

Urgent training requests

A shift in regulations, new sales practices, or a system change can result in urgent training requests to L&D. Those requests could mean updates to existing material or brand new courses.

In these instances, rapid content development processes and tools help your training team to respond quickly.  

Heavy SME input required

Sticking to traditional instructional design models when the vast majority of your content is coming from SMEs is highly time-consuming, both for you and your SMEs.

Rapid content development’s use of course templates and content repositories can help you guide SMEs through course creation with minimal time investment and supervision from the training team.

Resources are strained

When budgets are tight and complex content development (external or otherwise) is off the table, rapid content development can help deliver “good enough” courses that do the job. This is especially valuable when the requirement is a course update rather than starting from scratch.  

How does it work with Agile?

Agile Learning incorporates traditional Agile philosophies into processes that are specific to the instructional design process. It helps training teams to respond quickly to change and keep up with demand in an increasingly dynamic business environment.

Agile helps training teams in much the same way as rapid content development:

  • Speed to market increases for courses
  • Training teams can respond in a timely manner to change
  • Efficient use of time and resources

But whereas rapid content development focuses on the course creation process itself, Agile Learning is often more about guiding the projects and ensuring iterative success. The application of Agile involves a shift in project team structures, roles and responsibilities, meeting schedules, and the organization of the project workload. 

Steps in rapid content development with Agile methodologies

Regardless of the Agile Learning methodology you use, here are some tips for ensuring a successful project using rapid content development:

Set clear training goals for your designer/SME

SMEs are not instructional designers. So while the content itself might be second nature to them as experts in their field, they need a lot of help and guidance on turning that knowledge into effective training materials.

One of the most important things to set out and guide your SMEs on is the goal of the training and the learning objective for those who will be taking the training. Templates with pre-set learning objectives and content guidance can go a long way towards helping SMEs to simply “data dump” their expert knowledge in the correct place.

Analyze the learning content

While blueprinting your training course or module, take the time to analyze the content and ensure it is fit for purpose. If it needs extra development, you’ll need to take this into account for your timelines. 

Select the right tools

Rapid authoring tools can help by providing pre-designed graphics, assets, templates, and easy design tools for designers to quickly develop their content. Popular examples include Articulate Storyline, Adobe Captivate, and Lectora Inspire.

Synapse can help rapid content development by helping training teams easily create course templates, develop training course blueprints, and collaborate with SMEs.

Use an Agile process

There are many versions of Agile out there, but the most important way they assist rapid content development is by providing structures that support quick turnarounds. Through a combination of processes, project team structures, prescribed meeting schedules and deadlines, and 

Learn more about speeding up your training creation with Agile Learning: Agile Learning: The Complete Guide

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