Repurposing Courses: How to create microlearning lessons from existing content

Concurrent Session 4

Session Materials

Brief Abstract

Can you apply microlearning to training content that, while still relevant, is outdated? This express workshop provides hands-on microlearning design by recycling an existing course. Participants, working in small groups, review content for relevance, make recommendations on repurposing material, and develop a process to apply to their own courses.


Sharon Calvin has been crafting learning scenarios at Dynamic Works Institute for the past eight years. With over 17 years experience as an instructional designer, Sharon is driven to understand how individuals learn, or essentially, how the brain works: 'It’s like melding art and science into a cohesive whole that is the same but different for each of us because of our past experiences and the unique perspectives and biases we all carry around with us.'

Extended Abstract

In this workshop, participants will dissect an old online course looking for ways to reuse the content by applying current design concepts. Scripts from the original course will be used in concert with checklists, assorted media resources, and guidelines to help direct their efforts. Each participant will walk away with actionable ideas they can then apply to their own course catalogs.

The session will begin with a short demonstration of the original online course followed by several examples of possible outcomes they might want to explore. Participants will break into small work groups to tackle the redesign. Each group will receive handouts of the original scripts and objectives used in the course, blank storyboard forms, lists and placeholder cards of potential media resources they might want to use (infographics, images, videos, graphs, job aids), cards depicting different design elements (scenarios, quizzes, branching, microlearning, facilitated workshops), and detailed directions to get them started. Because each participant has diverse experiences and backgrounds, they will be encouraged to share and learn from each other.

While each group will have guidelines, they can decide what material to keep, if additional content is needed, and what the best method of knowledge transfer might be. Ideas like microlearning, including video, blended learning using facilitated workshops, online lessons, and job aids should all be explored. Creativity and the exchange of ideas within and between groups will be encouraged.

Participants will explore creative ways to engage end-users in the learning process. When does it make sense to inform, test, and or support their efforts? What is more important, to support the query at the moment of need, or to give users what they need before they need it? Can you do both? How? Cards representing design elements (like quizzes, scenarios, and branching) and media (videos, images, and graphs) can be used on the storyboards to quickly flesh out the potential new course.

While it is not realistic to expect anyone to redesign a course, especially one they have no experience with, in the short span of one workshop, each participant should leave with new ideas and a new way of looking at an old problem. With that in mind, at the end of the session, each participant will receive checklists, a list of resources, and new ideas to help them apply what they’ve learned from the workshop. The goal is not to provide answers so much as to get everyone to begin thinking of new ways to tackle their own dated courses. How to relearn and repurpose with a new direction.