5 Myths Of Learning Content Creation

smiling man wearing headphones working on a laptopMarch is a month rich with mythology: it’s named for the Roman god of war, contains the ill-fated Ides of March, and the last three days are said to be extra stormy because they were borrowed from April in a deal gone wrong.

We love myths because, like trying to catch a leprechaun and find his pot of gold, they’re fun. But there are some myths you shouldn’t tolerate. This month, Litmos is doing some myth-busting. First up: myths about creation — content creation.

What is content creation?

Content creation refers to any learning materials you build in-house. If you’re building a course, putting together a video, or even making handouts for an in-person lecture, that’s content creation, and it’s invaluable to your team.

Developing personalized learning for your organization helps build and retain the skills you want your specific workforce to have. Unfortunately, there are many misconceptions about content authoring. Below are five of the most common:

Myth 1: Online learning is just a series of quizzes

We’ve all sat though dull-as-dishwater online modules that are just slides and quizzes. They’re not terribly engaging, but that doesn’t mean your course has to be anything like that content.

It’s important to use the content and the medium to create learning that works well for the skills you’re trying to teach. Think outside the box and examine the components available to you in your course authoring tool. Yes, sometimes slides and quizzes can be the best fit for the module you’re building, but examine your options to find the most engaging tools for your content.

Myth 2: Online courses can’t be used to teach real-world skills

Online courses can’t be used to teach hands-on skills, like changing a tire or preparing food, can they? Interestingly, they can. There’s a tendency to think of online and in-person as two completely different realms, but that ignores the fact that people learn real-world skills online all the time. Anyone who has ever watched a cooking show or used YouTube to learn yoga has learned a hands-on skill online. You can do the same with your eLearning content by using the interactive components in your course authoring tool to digitally simulate a skill or process.

Take the example of a pizza chain. The chain needed to teach new employees exactly how to make a pizza using online learning. Litmos’ team used specific instructional tools to teach pizza-making:

  • The sequence component was used so  learners could practice the order in which pizza ingredients are added.
  • The matching component was used so learners could practice recalling what ingredient measurements were required for each pizza size.

Myth 3: There is no instructor in an online course

A common misconception is that all online courses are lonely digital wastelands: it’s just the learner and their device. There’s no interaction with an instructor or classmates. That’s not true. Online content can be interactive. Virtual Instructor-Led Training (VILT), for example, is an online, synchronous form of learning in which learners are able to interact with each other and the instructor.

Asynchronous learning can be interactive as well. Let’s go back to the example of the pizza chain. After learning about ingredients and recipes, the employee had to demonstrate their ability to actually make pizza.

Litmos’ team used the video assessment tool for this module. The employee recorded themselves making a medium pizza. The organization’s learning team then reviewed the video and offered performance feedback. This allowed the learner to practice in a low-risk setting, rather than making their first pizza on the job.

To learn more about the pizza chain use case, check out the course LitmosLabs Instructional Design for Non-Designers Part 2.

Myth 4: You can just transfer all your ILT materials to an online format

This is an old myth, one that harkens back to the early days of online and virtual learning. In the beginning, L&D professionals felt they could simply transfer in-person course materials and lectures to an online format. Although most L&D pros know that doesn’t work, there are still some managers and company leaders who need to be convinced that what works in person doesn’t always work in a virtual setting.

The reverse is also true. Some lessons are better online than in person. Play to the strength of the training modality you’re using when you’re designing learning materials. You want to use interactive tools to increase engagement and learner retention.

Myth 5: Online learning replaces all other types of learning

Look, we love a company that goes all in on online learning, but it’s important to realize that when you implement an online learning strategy, you don’t have to replace all of your training with online modules. Online learning is meant to complement your existing training, and it’s not always suited to the type of training you’re delivering.

What works best is a blended learning experience. Tie eLearning to ILT sessions and real-life experiences. Often, it’s best to use eLearning content as a prerequisite or primer, followed by  hands-on training and application opportunities. Blended learning experiences engage learners in many ways, helping them to retain the information you’re teaching them.

Next up in our March myth-busting? The myths of content curation. Stay tuned…