Why Do We Need a Content Modernization Strategy Now More than Ever Before?

To adapt to technology disruptions and meet the modern-day learners’ demands, many organizations are looking at modernizing their existing learning material. But sometimes, modernization could be mistaken purely as transformation from Flash to HTML5 and in an oversight; the bigger underlying opportunity could be overlooked. A broader definition of modernization and a bigger picture could help prevent this. Modernization should ideally be looked at as a transformational strategy to deliver business results by creating unique experiences for learners. It provides an opportunity for business leaders to align strategic objectives. L&D heads could use modernization to transition from a culture of training to a culture of learning and upskilling. And the modern-day learner could get required information in the flow of work.

Modernization can come with its fair share of challenges. A robust and proven modernization framework would help us sail towards successful implementation and logical conclusion of this initiative. We’ll talk about the framework in detail in an upcoming blog, for now, we’ll focus on the key factors which are driving the need for modernization in the modern-day workplace.

Technology Disruptions

In 1991, a web legend named Sir Tim Berners-Lee created HTML5. The WHATWG (Web Hypertext Application Technology Working Group) continued evolving it. One of the key objectives of developing HTML5 was to have a better alternative to Flash. More than two and a half decades, a plethora of devices, operating systems, and multiple browser combinations later, we have actually come to a point wherein Adobe is officially closing curtains on Flash. By December 2020, Adobe will stop supporting Flash; In fact, browsers like Chrome and Firefox have announced that they would stop supporting Flash from as early as July 2019.

This is just one example of technology disruption, there are multiple happening around us. The modernization strategy to counter this needs to be two fold; firstly, come abreast with major disruptions that have happened till now and secondly, have a mechanism to future-proof content. Today we live in the era of HTML5; a lot is being built around it. But tomorrow when HTML6 comes out, it shouldn’t call for a distinct modernization initiative. The strategy right now should account for future-proofing.

Skills Gap

The ‘skills gap’ across the globe, including the United States, is pretty serious. As per McKinsey’s reports, almost 40 percent of American employers say they cannot find people with the skills they need, even for entry-level jobs. As L&D stakeholders, we are tasked with the responsibility of making learning available for the modern-day learner to close on the skills gap and in turn, help our organization and employees grow together.

We also have to account for things which were not in our list till late. Owing to the new generation of learners and needs of modern-day workplace, new skill areas are popping up regularly. Diversity and inclusivity as soft-skills or block chain as a technical skill are appropriate examples of such new learning areas. The modernization strategy needs to account for all such needs. Closing on the skills gap and enabling employee growth should be one of the strategic themes of the modernization initiative.

The Modern-Day Learner

There is so much that has been written about the modern-day learner. Without being overtly critical about their learning habits, let’s acknowledge the fact that the evolution of the modern-day learner is happening because society, workplace, and technology, almost everything is evolving. The modern-day learner is just trying to keep pace with the ever increasing demands. We know their attention spans have reduced, they get distracted, and overwhelmed easily. They want learning to be made available in a timely manner, and in a format which is easy for them to consume. But the good news is that they have made their expectations loud and clear. It makes it so much easier for us to plan and deliver accordingly.

While we talk about the modern-day learner, we need to be mindful of the fact that while the modernization initiative should account for the needs of the modern-day learner, it should not be limited just to millennials and Gen Z. It should be more holistic, starting right from the baby boomers.

Maintenance

Brian Marick once quoted, ‘Development is maintenance’. This sounds so apt in our discussion for the need of a modernization strategy. As content owners, one of the key things is to ensure that we are able to maintain content that we are developing. For instance, a pharma company has to ensure that the content is updated as per latest FDA regulations.

The other aspect of maintenance is the variety of technology infrastructure that is being used to deliver content. Today you might have a SCORM LMS in place and you design and develop content for it, but tomorrow, if an xAPI compliant LMS comes into picture, the requirement would be to pass data into the Learning Record Store (LRS) of the LMS. The modernization strategy should account for such technology changes and make content available in a format which could be easily transitioned.

Business Re-Alignment

Enterprises are going through digital transformation. The manufacturing industry is talking about Industrial revolution 4.0. L&D stakeholders want to transform from a culture of training to a culture of learning. All this will eventually culminate into a new ecosystem. And a key component of that ecosystem would be the way people are learning or consuming content. It seems improbable that Boyle’s Law would get replaced but the way people would want to know about Boyle’s Law is definitely going to change.

Have you come across any other factors which might be driving the need for content modernization? You can write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com and we would be happy to have a conversation.

Five signs that indicate the need for a modernization initiative

Five Signs That Indicate ‘It is Time to Consider Modernization’

The modern day corporate worker’s profile is changing. Not just millennial, Gen Z seems to be getting into the workforce as well. These segments of the target audience have a very positive outlook on the value of eLearning but the way they want to consume content is very different from how it happened in the past.

If you too are sensing this profile shift, then probably it is time to take a stock of the situation and look for some additional signs listed ahead.

  1. Need for Standardized Content

Your content is the most valuable asset your company has. If you have a large volume of legacy content sitting idle, or if your employees or customers are facing issues in courses because of the content being stuck in old formats, then it definitely indicates the need for change. Furthermore, if you can’t make important edits to your courses because the content is in legacy format or created using different tools, then you know modernization is the right way to proceed. It will help you to upgrade your content in accordance with the latest tools and technologies. Modernization can also help you convert your content to one standardized format which is widely accessible and future-ready – for instance, a format like HTML5, which standardizes everything and in-turn brings efficiencies for future.

 

  1. New Tool Adoption

An organization, when it uses a tool for a long period of time, develops a significant level of comfort with it, and it becomes difficult to get out of that zone. But with the rapid advancements in technology, many new tools evolve into the market. These tools generally possess better capabilities than the one(s) already being used. For example, there are several tools in the market that allow creation of content in interactive video format instead of tools using simple text and images. When you use such a tool, the learning experience can change for good.

 

So if you, as the content owner, come across many such new technologies and tools but cannot take the plunge due to comfort issues, it is time to consider modernization. Modernization can smoothly facilitate new tool adoption process.

 

  1. Learning in Employee Preferred Formats

An infographic by ‘Bersin by Delloite’ states that 67% of the modern day workers learn on mobile devices, only 42% learn at their office desk, rest access learning at their convenience, interestingly 27% of people learn on the way to and from work. Apart from the statistics and preferences listed above, each of these learners has different learning styles. Meeting these expectations through different learning formats is quite difficult as that would imply much more content production. Then how do we handle this situation? Modernization practice can help put together a solution which can use artificial intelligence, natural language processing and voice-enabled technologies to make the same content available in various formats.

  1. Complying with Regulations and Industry Standards

With the recent enforcement of new regulations that demand support for accessibility and standards-compliance, accessible content is now a must-have. If you are looking at re-using any of your non WCAG 2.0 compliant legacy courses, you need to modernize them. But just taking an old course and trying to make it compliant is not sufficient. It may technically get some of the compliance checkboxes ticked, but it doesn’t ensure 100% accessibility. For instance, your compliance checklist might not take care of font readability and color choices. Unless you are confident that someone with special abilities can fully make use of your content, it is just a battle half won.

 

To ensure that differently-abled learners find value in your courses, it is important to redesign them. A well thought out modernization approach that aims at making your legacy content fully accessible by making use of automation, is your best bet here.

 

  1. Accelerated Time-to-Market with New Product Offerings and Upgrades

If you are looking to do something new for your customers with a faster time-to-market, there are two things you could consider – launch newer products or take old products and refurbish them with newer design and experience. At the speed with which technology is changing, it is critical that your product (course) design is resilient yet flexible. A well-defined modernization approach helps you achieve the same. And when coupled with automation, it can help you roll out newer courses or newer versions of old courses out in the market rapidly. This helps strengthen your course catalog portfolio.

If you are reading any of the above signs, then the time is just right to contemplate a modernization initiative to cater to your organization’s and customers’ evolving learning needs. In case you would like to have a discussion on this, or if you are looking for an experienced and reliable partner who can help design your modernization roadmap, write to us at info@harbingerlearning.com.

Legacy Content Modernization Journey – Getting the Right Start

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The time is always right to do what is right

You must be wondering how these words from Martin Luther King Jr. are relevant to our discussion today. Well, with Flash officially slated for sunset in 2020, should you really wait on the sidelines and hope to jump on the last bus that would take you out of this situation? I think the answer would be no from majority of us. This is an important business decision, and all perspectives need to be analyzed before taking it, but the time to take this decision is now. In this blog, let’s explore various situations playing on your mind while making the right choice about modernization.

The first thing would be to identify the courses that need to go through the modernization process. Your organization may have a huge library of flash courses and not every course needs to be modernized. The decision on retiring or retaining a course needs to be framed on the basis of the following factors:

  1. Relevance of the course content today
  2. Current market requirement for each course
  3. User enrollment analysis for each course
  4. Feedback given by users after taking the course

Most of these factors will eventually boil down to adding to the bottom line. If a course performs adversely on the above parameters, consider retiring it.

Once the course inventory is shortlisted, the other piece of puzzle is to decide who is going to do this job. Is it your internal development team, should you bring in a third party vendor or should it be a combination of both? Some guiding factors that would help you make this decision are:

  1. What is more important for your existing internal teams, working on new product development and servicing existing customers or modernizing legacy courses?
  2. Do you have the relevant skill-set in your in-house team for this job?
  3. Are you willing to ramp up your internal team temporarily for this task?
  4. Should you bring in a third-party supplier with the appropriate skill-set to help you with modernization?
  5. If you intend to bring in a third-party supplier, what should be criteria to bring them onboard? Of course a supplier housing a team with the right technical skill-set is the one you should shortlist, but you also need to give some emphasis on what values this supplier brings on the table. Do you want to onboard just a vendor or you need a partner who is with you in this important business decision? Read this blog – “You need a partner not a vendor”, that shares information on the ideal behaviors to notice while partner selection.

Well, the fact is that you might get lucky in hopping on the last bus when it comes to planning the modernization project, but is it worth the risk? The time is now to make the right decision, so it is ideal to plan things right away. To know more about some of these guiding factors, drop us a line at info@harbingerlearning.com. We would be happy to share our experiences with you.