What is a Resuable Learning Object?

resuable learning objects
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You’ve just heard someone mention “reusable learning object” (RLO) and you get the idea you should already know what it is, but you’re too embarrassed to ask anyone. Congratulations, this post is for you.

You already know that creating great content is why your audience keeps coming back for more and more, and it’s why they refer others to you. It is also the essential component for a reusable learning object.

The theory is, if you assemble learning in bite-sized units, rather than weave it into very complex and programs, you later re-purpose the learning video files and assessment pieces (reusable learning object) into other courses, where they can shine anew and in combination with newly created content.

The key to your RLO is the database. Whenever you create learning IP, it must be indexed in a way that lets you find and use it again (or differently), as needed.

Over the course of the past several years, I’ve repurposed 1000’s of video files and testing assessment pieces from one learning program into another. As essential component of that process was how the files we indexed.  With out the proper procedure and system it would have been very difficult to have re-configured them accordingly into new online courses and as reusable learning objects.

When you repurpose learning content, traditionally you split a large course into mini courses, or bundle mini courses into one larger course. No matter the original course of material or purpose, there is absolutely no one saying you can only use it once.

When you are looking at designing your courseware, do not script it with a chronological sequence. I can’t tell you how many times, I have had to look at content and the first thing said by the expert is this:

In this course X, this chapter will talk about y and the next chapter will help you with p. Or within the script of the content, the expert will say, ‘As you can see in this course x, we have demonstrated…’

This will create more work for you or your editing team. DON’T chronological your content. You can always add a buffer on the front and back, but create it with the mind set that you may re-purpose at a later date and use the files as reusable learning objects.

Spending some time thinking about the strategy of how you will use the content as a reusable learning object before you create it will save you time, resources and lots of money in the long run. 

I can recall having looked at content from sales expert and influencer Grant Cardone. Jarrod, (Grant’s President) and I were determining what content that they had already created that would match the core competency of best practices for communication. We could then use as reusable learning objects so we could architecture a course that would be best suited for approval for Certified Financial Planners for continuing education credits.

The Cardone team did a great job of understanding that the chapter video files could be used as reusable learning objects because they were ‘a stand online piece of content about one specific topic.’

We essentially took the one chapter from other courses designed around the topics of negotiation skills, cold calling, and follow up and created an entirely new course with the reusable learning objects.

I then submitted the newly configured online course to the Certified Financial Board and got approval for continuing education credits for CFPs.

I think you’d agree with me that we are living in a content creation world. It always astonishes me when I work with potential new clients and suggest to take sound bites from their already created online course content and re-purpose them for Instagram and Facebook stories or as 1 minute LinkedIn quick video’s that until I uttered the words, they’d never thought of it.

Grant really does a great of this and so does my good friend and long-time client Hall of Fame professional speaker and speech coach, Patricia Fripp.

Here’s an example of content I created for her recently using reusable learning objects from one of her presentation skills online courses in her FRIPPVT and a clip of video I helped her create a marketing strategy for specific to her Fripp Speech Model.

It’s so simple at the video edit production stage before the files become courses to create small 50 – 60 second sound bites that you can then push on social media.

Got old content? Think about adding an up to date front end ‘buffer (a quick sound bite of you to start the video) 

Marketing is key to the success of your brand, which includes products and services. Awareness is the name of the game.

Find absolutely everything you ever created in the past and find new ways to repurpose to drive more social media awareness to you and to your brand.

Remember, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel (but you can update it.) Reusable learning objects should always be part of your marketing strategy when you are creating new online course content.

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Lisa Patrick

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