Don't Reinvent the Wheel: How to Repurpose Your Learning Content

August 11, 2022
Cropped image of a red bicycle wheel
Associations want to be considered thought leaders in their field and be the place learners go to for educational content, but they don’t have unlimited resources (or time!) to achieve this. Constantly developing new learning content is time consuming and can easily bust the budget, so it’s critical to find innovative ways to keep learning content fresh and available to as many members (or potential members) as possible.

Providing multiple pathways to experience learning content offers associations a way to stretch budgets and increase engagement. Presenting bite-sized curricula on social media or previewing it on a YouTube channel puts more learning opportunities in front of association members more often and can result in more members purchasing a course. It can even drive new membership.

Expanding engagement can also build trust in the community, as members increasingly look first to their association for learning opportunities. But it’s not as simple as bookending a course recording and calling it a podcast. Repurposing learning content involves a sustained process of evaluation to ensure association members are realizing value from the curriculum and achieving the desired learning outcomes.

How do you know if learning content is too old?

Associations serving everyone from structural engineers to vascular surgeons to food technologists all have existing curriculum libraries with content dating back years… and sometimes many years. They say age is just a number, and just because a course is a few years old doesn’t mean it’s not valuable.

There’s no hard-and-fast rule determining obsolescence that will be applicable to every organization. So before you set out to determine if a piece of learning content is old or not, first consider the following:

  • If you are an accredited association, what does your accrediting body say about whether the course subject matter complies with current standards?
  • Many associations have education committees that periodically review learning content. What are the opinions of those or other Subject Matter Experts (SMEs)? What looks fresh or not-so-fresh to them?
  • A lot of associations are subject to federal guidelines that curriculum must follow. Is the learning content being considered for repurpose in compliance with governing body regulations? Beyond that, are there industry trends to address and integrate with the educational content?
  • How do potential learners rate the freshness of the content? Their opinions of what needs updating can prove to be a valuable guide for how much updating is required.
  • What are your sales, marketing, and membership teams saying about the learning content? They are getting feedback from members on LinkedIn or Twitter, so it’s vital to create an information-sharing pipeline with those teams to help sustain routine evaluation of the curriculum.

Collecting this data is important, and so is putting it to good use. That’s why it’s important for associations to carefully document their findings.

Lean on your learning map.

Also known as a scope and sequence document, this resource serves as the single source of truth for your entire library. It tells you what educational content you have, where it exists, what accrediting body it falls under, and to whom it’s being taught. Frequent review of the learning map helps ensure that curriculum is current and relevant to association members.

With the scope and sequence document updated, you can evaluate what remains relevant and determine how it can be repurposed. For each course, start create a spreadsheet that measures key information about content against engagement metrics and learning objectives.

  • How old is the course?
  • Has it been updated to the most recent association branding?
  • When did a SME last update the content?
  • How many learners have engaged with the content in the last six months or year?
  • Is the level of engagement increasing or decreasing?
  • How are individual courses and modules being rated by learners?
Download our Scope & Sequence and Content Review Templates to help you get started.

The results of this evaluation process will help identify what content is still current and can be quickly and most easily repurposed.

We identified repurposable content. Now what?

When you set out to repurpose learning content, look at it through the lens of the learning outcomes. Courses usually have between three and five of them, and when finding new channels to engage learners, the repurposed content does not to have to focus on all of them at once.

Perhaps one module in a course can achieve the desired learning outcome if it’s published as a YouTube video or converted into an interactive eBook or skillfully edited into a 45-second marketing video. Curriculum evaluations often reveal that even dated learning content can contain components of value. This content can still drive engagement as an infographic, podcast topic, micro-learning course, or social media post.

Three content components you don’t want to lose track of.

Regardless of its new format, each piece of existing content you repurpose should retain these three elements. It will make the new content easier to produce and ensure it remains consistent with the overall learning strategy and association branding.

  1. If you are reusing interactive learning, be sure to repurpose the template. This preserves branding elements such as color and font, as well as the original navigation.
  2. For repurposing existing webinars, leverage the original transcript and handouts to create scripts and templates for new learning modules or short videos.
  3. In-person learning usually leaves less of a digital footprint, and is not as frequently considered ripe for repurposing, but the handouts used in face-to-face sessions can become the foundation for new learning content.
Rules of the road for repurposing content.

Association members don’t expect a never-ending assembly line of new courses or a regular overhaul of educational content. They also don’t want to have to pay for (or sit through) the same course twice just to glean a few new tidbits of information.

Being a thought leader and an industry destination for educational content is as much about trust building as anything. When you repurpose content, let your learners know you have updated the course. Tell them what has been updated and why. Most importantly, if it’s paid learning content, allow them to buy only the updated material.

To learn about repurposing learning content in more detail, watch our webinar.

About the Author
Dr. Kristen Wall, MA, EdD is the Director of Learning Strategy and Fractional Chief Learning Officer at Blue Sky eLearn. She started her career in education as a junior high teacher, then worked in higher education for 15 years working primarily with online adult learners. Her work focused on the professional development of faculty, providing learning opportunities for over 800 adjunct faculty teaching 2,600 courses per year. In 2018 she decided to leave higher education and started work as a consultant, ultimately landing full-time with Blue Sky eLearn and working as the Director of Learning Strategy. She consults with clients across the association space, working in diverse fields like medicine, health care quality, insurance, oil and gas, and state government.

Kristen completed both a master’s and doctorate in Adult Learning. Her areas of interest include effective assessment of learning and using qualitative research to understand how adults apply what they have learned. Outside of work, she enjoys hiking, travel, and reading detective novels.

You might also like these
related posts

Want to read some of our success stories? click here.
Blue Sky eLearn White Cloud Icon

Connect. Engage. Learn.

Path LMS is used by hundreds of organizations to deliver high-quality online learning, networking events, and conferences. Book a demo today!

Cookies Notice:
This site uses cookies to store information on your computer. Some are essential to make our site work; others help us improve the user experience. By using the site, you consent to the placement of these cookies.