Minimizing Migration Migraines: Tips for Migrating Learning Content

The field of eLearning seems to be in a perpetual state of transition. Training manuals are repurposed as just-in-time training. Questions written in the late 90s for computer-based training drill-and-practice migrated their way online. eLearning developed ten years ago might now be considered flat and need to be re-created using modern tools for greater interaction. Then, there’s the mass of Flash-based courses out there that must be updated to work on those pesky mobile devices. Perhaps worst of all, there are source files for a course you spent thousands to develop that cannot be found, and all that remains is a published SCORM object. At some point, most training directors have to face the reality that a portion of their library needs to be refreshed and re-published.

In some cases, it is simply a matter of purchasing an up-to-date version of the original authoring tool, upgrading the source files, and making edits using the newer technology. But what about when, for one reason or another, you need to re-create courses in a new tool. How do you plan for that? How do you scope moving the content into a new tool? At Tribridge, we define any content that needs to be moved to a new authoring tool but doesn't require instructional design enhancements as a migration. And preparing for migrations doesn't have to be as complex as it might seem.

Let's assume that you have that worst-case scenario: no source files.

First, look at the obvious:

  • Count the numbers of screens. Are they text-heavy? Image-heavy?
  • How many voiceover segments are there? One per page? Are they synced with animations or simply play start to finish?
  • Check to see if there are videos that are embedded or links to videos outside the object.  
  • Is there an exam? How many questions are in the exam and are they all multiple-choice?

This analysis can easily be done just by viewing the published course through your LMS. The next step is a bit trickier if you only have the published SCO, but it can be done. You will need to explore the complexities of the course. If a course is non-linear (meaning that the user explores different areas at random instead of being forced from one page to the next page), you will be need to be certain that you have found all the hot spots and links to other areas. Don't forget to look for pop-ups and roll-overs that are triggered by areas on a graphic. Use-case scenarios (where the user can make choices and explore different paths) are especially hard to document. You'll need to be certain that you have followed each possible path in the scenario to get an accurate screen count.

If on any screen, you see an interaction, right-click on it to see if it is a Flash-based interaction. Anything Flash-based will need to be evaluated separately and added to the scope. Most Flash interactions that were developed can be replicated using hot spots, layers, and variables in modern authoring tools. However, if an elaborate Flash interaction was custom developed, you may need to have it re-developed in HTML5.

Once you know what is inside the course, select the right authoring tool to re-create it. Timeline-based courses, or those with intricate screen captures for systems training, are usually best done using Captivate or Camtasia. Screen-based courses with interactions or custom navigations are easier using Storyline or Claro. Side note: If you are going to have a lot of people reviewing these new versions, I highly recommend a cloud-based tool like Claro so that collaboration and review feedback can be easily consolidated. It makes the review process go so much faster.

Sooner or later, most of us will have to make decision about migrating old material into to a new tool. Scoping time and resources may be the most complex part of the project. Scope it accurately and you’ll know exactly how much you are undertaking from the start, as well as have realistic expectations.

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