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3 steps to effective recycling of your training content

In an ever-changing world where the needs of businesses and learners are evolving rapidly, the need to recycle training resources is becoming imperative. Technological mutations, organisational changes and the emergence of new professions all require skills and knowledge to be constantly updated. However, creating new learning content from scratch can be time-consuming and costly.

This is where the recycling of training resources comes in. By reusing and intelligently adapting existing teaching materials, organisations can maximise their investment in training while responding effectively to emerging issues (changes in the labour market, updated business objectives, etc.). This approach also ensures the relevance and sustainability of training programmes, while promoting efficient use of available resources.

In this article, we propose a 3-step method for recycling your training resources.

Step 1: Start by centralising resources.

Before training resources and content can be recycled effectively, it is essential to have a clear picture of their condition and usefulness for training purposes.

The first stage often consists of gathering and listing existing resources. It generally starts on a small scale, with priority training or a prototype on a restricted perimeter. The resources can be diverse: written documents, presentations, videos, simulations, interactive exercises, software applications, questionnaires, existing e-learning content, etc. It is essential not to overlook existing resources that are not yet considered as training resources, as well as “resource” employees who can pass on knowledge or create useful documents.

The form of the “resource centre” can vary according to the company’s needs: it can start with a simple document listing resources, then evolve into a dedicated space, an online platform listing all available content, or any other suitable format.

This centralisation makes it easier to choose which resources to recycle in line with training needs. It also makes it easier to track changes and re-use resources for other training needs.

Step 2: Giving a second life to existing resources.

During their lifecycle, training resources are thought up, created, used, sometimes reused, and then lose their relevance over time. To avoid abandoning these resources and make the most of the initial investment, it is crucial to maintain and enhance them. Here are some ways of doing this:

Optimising access:

Easy, clear access to resources, whether via a dedicated “resource centre” or a specific organisation on a training platform, facilitates their use. What’s more, each piece of learning content must have a clearly defined purpose and meet a need for employees in order to guarantee optimal use.

Improving usability:

Targeted communication campaigns or spontaneous actions can highlight existing resources, highlighting the relevance of their use in real company contexts and informing learners when they are updated. Some valuable resources can quickly be overlooked or forgotten by employees if they are no longer promoted.

Avoid obsolescence of your resources:

Resources need to be constantly revised and updated to remain relevant. Regular review of training material is essential to ensure that it continues to meet the current needs of your learner audience.

Personalising the training experience:

Resources and training content can be customised according to target audiences, skill levels and specific feedback on their use.

Creative reuse:

By reusing existing resources, we can respond quickly to new needs:

– Improving form through technology can, for example, make content more relevant by adding an interactive or playful touch, with challenges between learners based on quizzes created from your existing resources. Written documents can also be converted into interactive presentations, videos can be broken down into shorter modules or made interactive, and exercises can be integrated into gamification applications.

– Transforming the use of a resource using pedagogical or narrative methods increases the transfer of knowledge and the development of skills; existing resources become the basis for flipped classes, collaborative activities, role-playing games for individual and team experimentation, etc.

– New training content and courses that select or combine existing resources can respond quickly to new training demands.

The recycling of resources relies mainly on the creative force of the training team. To optimise accessibility, organisation, review and communication, it needs a clear vision of the company’s many training needs. What’s more, to fully exercise its creativity, this team needs not only adequate resources, but also constantly updated expertise in the latest technologies and teaching methods.

Step 3: Create more sustainable resources from the outset.

The question of sustainability is now fundamental in order to optimise investment in training resources and avoid costly and potentially ineffective production. If resources can be recycled, it is even more efficient to design them to be sustainable from the outset. To last, the design must select sustainability criteria, while remaining flexible in the possible evolution of resources to maximise their life cycles.

Using agile principles for flexible design :

The use of agile principles aims to make the creation of resources more efficient by taking into account the life cycle of the resource, imagining several versions and continuously testing them to ensure their relevance:

  • Defining the minimum viable: It is essential to identify the key elements of the resource so that it is relevant and reusable in as many situations as possible.
  • Prototype and test: Iterative design allows the resource to be tested against its target audience, and to improve its quality very quickly.
  • Evaluate and improve: With each version of the resource, it is important to assess its impact using measurement tools and to adjust it accordingly to meet users’ real needs.

In design, the choice of format for the resource remains a decisive stage which is generally guided by the educational objective, the needs of the target audience and the training context. To design a more sustainable production, certain additional criteria need to be taken into account.

Important criteria for choosing the format :

  • Technical skills and content sovereignty: A simple format requires less technical skills, investment and time to create or modify a resource. In addition, it is advantageous if the trainer or the person in charge of the training has a good command of content creation tools so that it can be updated on a regular basis.
  • Educational effectiveness: A resource that effectively fulfils its educational objective will tend to be used for longer.
  • Stability of content: Stable information (which does not change regularly) requires less frequent updating, which has a positive impact on the sustainability of the resource.
  • Adaptability of content: A fine breakdown of content and unique objectives makes it easier to re-use the resource in a number of similar contexts.
  • Accessibility and usability of the resource: An accessible resource that meets the specific needs of employees (particularly those with disabilities) can be used to the full in their day-to-day work. The advanced search functions make it easier for your audience to find a resource on a given theme using keywords.
  • Saving resources: A low-key approach to digitisation that is consistent with training needs, the target audience and the company’s culture avoids unnecessary investment.

The choice of criteria varies from company to company. In addition, other criteria potentially need to be taken into account to create these sustainable resources. To maximise investment, the design must address sustainability components from the outset, pragmatically integrate the intervention of content experts and be supported by a training strategy and a commitment to sustainability.

How can we ensure the sustainability of this approach to recycling training content?

Recycling resources represents a pragmatic approach to avoiding reinventing what already exists, thereby contributing to economies of scale. Even as isolated actions, these initiatives can have a positive impact on a company’s finances.

It is possible to re-imagine the production of resources right from the design stage, but to ensure that this approach is sustainable, it must be integrated into a training strategy that itself has sustainability objectives to achieve. The training team must be able to work on the company’s immediate needs, but also define future needs and anticipate changes in skills.

With this in mind, collaboration between the training team and management is essential to define common objectives and align the training strategy with the company’s overall objectives. The process of creating resources must also include the training content experts as much as possible, to optimise each stage of the resource lifecycle and ensure that they are used and kept up to date.

In conclusion, by recycling resources, we can make the most of what already exists and reduce unnecessary investment. With a minimalist and holistic approach to resource creation, it is possible to have resources with a more impactful life cycle, whether in their creation, use, updating or recycling. This approach is also easily aligned with trends in micro-learning and automation using AI.

While recycling resources can have a positive impact, to achieve sustainability goals, the creation of new resources needs to be part of wider initiatives, such as aligning employee training needs with the company’s long-term sustainable objectives.