#1 Killer of Effective Learning Development

When creating and delivering any type of learning, there is one thing that will surely kill your productivity 100% of the time. Many people, even outside of our community, suffer from this all-but-too-common trap which sucks the life out of your training and out of you. The sad part: this can be avoided by taking a few simple steps.

The #1 killer in learning development productivity? Rework.

The word alone makes me shiver. There is literally nothing worse than having to go back to a course, LMS data, PowerPoint slides, videos, audio (the list goes on) in order to make updates because something is not conveyed correctly. Once everything is packaged up and in a final version, reworking content usually results in hours, not minutes.

This is because once something is finalized, there are usually multiple inputs, source documents, etc. that need to be updated as well.

Let me give you an example.

I recently completed a training course for a software module. It was 6:30pm and everything was finally uploaded to the LMS – ready to go for delivery the next morning. Awesome right? Well, that’s what I thought, until upper management made a last minute decision to include a concept that was never discussed before.

Long story short, I inserted this new content into the course, which took approximately 4hrs (of rework) because of the following:
1. Taking down the previous version of the course
2. Updating the course
3. Updating the associated job aid
4. Taking down the software simulation
5. Re-uploading the simulation
6. Republishing the course
7. Testing the course, job aids, simulation, and other links
8. Re-Uploading the main course to the LMS on a slow connection
9. Testing Links again

By the end of that entire process, it was about midnight and I was spent (AND I had to miss “Pawn Stars” on the History Channel… my favorite show).  What’s more, I discovered the next day that I had made some minor errors, likely due to fatigue, that I wouldn’t have made otherwise.

The overall point here is that rework is the ultimate killer in development productivity. Looking back, we probably could have done a better job getting (and double checking) that all content was included in the training material prior to making the live course. If at all possible, try to ensure you have sign-off from all stakeholders before going live, it will surely save you the dreaded rework.

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About the Author:

Justin Ferriman is the co-founder and CEO of LearnDash, the WordPress LMS trusted by the world's leading organizations, such as the University of Michigan, Digital Marketer, WPEngine, and Infusionsoft. Justin has made a career as an elearning consultant where he has implemented large-scale training programs for Fortune 500 companies. Twitter | LinkedIn

3 Comments
  1. melissa

    I literally heard the words “We don’t do objectives/course reqs here” and “I don’t really need to sign off on this, do I?” every day.

    This is something my last employer could never really understand – hence why I no longer work there. Every time I touched a course…it impacted so many things and the potential for error was very high. When I started treating the experience like a consultant rather than an employee who reworked at the drop of a hat – this is when I had the epiphany that moving on was a good choice.

  2. Justin

    Hi Melissa, thank you for the comment. I can sympathize with the second statement (“I don’t need to sign off on this, do I?”)…

    It’s funny, I find that when people have to put their name to something and actually own it, they become flaky… yet everyone has something to say about what they DON’T like about training… but I digress 🙂

    props to you for changing your mindset to “consultant”. What you correctly did was realize that you are the expert in the field and you needed to advise them as to the best practices in the field – and that includes ways to limit rework, well done!

  3. Kate Casey

    Ooh nasty scenario. Missed your fave TV show too.

    I like the set up where I work. We sign off objectives and all development stages. If the client decides to lob in new objectives late in the dev process the re-work is considered out of scope. It’s them up to the PM to scope it and give the client the option of paying for the change. Seems to work well.

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