Update and relaunch for ‘Effective Digital Content’
We’ve launched a new version of the Effective Digital Content, using stand-alone in-house videos, up-to-date with the latest legislation and research.
In 2017, we launched a pilot of our Effective Digital Content course, the training previously known as Writing for the Web.
Over the past few months, I’ve been busy looking at the feedback and designing an updated version that streamlines everything and takes into account the latest legislation and research.
So what’s changed?
There were three main drivers for updating the course:
- Lynda.com videos replacement
- Legislation and research update
- Sound and quality update
The initial pilot mixed in-house videos with resources from Lynda.com – there’s a great course on there that fits most, but not all of our needs. But it became apparent that this wasn’t really a tenable approach.
In part, that’s because of the constant switching back and forth – we can’t embed Lynda in Learn, so users had to go out separately to the Lynda course, and remember where they needed to come back to. It wasn’t very user friendly, with 38% of users regarding it as a problem.
However, the biggest issue was that Lynda isn’t accessible to University visitor accounts. It’s quite common across the University for staff to be taken on short term for web editing roles. A big issue with only providing in-person training was that it was sometimes hard for these staff to get a place on the course quickly enough, so they are a key audience for the online version. However, these staff weren’t able to access the Lynda videos, so were forced to read the video transcripts instead.
So now all the videos are in house, hosted on Media Hopper and embedded in Learn.
Stand alone videos
An advantage of this is that these short videos – almost all the videos are under 5 minutes – mostly stand alone, allowing staff to revisit certain issues.
- ‘Sourcing images’ is under 3 minutes long and can be rewatched when it’s time to add images to your content.
- ‘Web objectives’ is under 4 ½ minutes and can be shared with senior management when you’re starting to think about new content.
- If it’s been a while since you did the course, the 3 minute wrap-up video revisits the key points in a way that should jog your memory.
Last year, as everyone knows, there were fairly substantial updates to data protection law. Whilst the pilot course did know these changes were coming, and the advice was future-proofed, the new videos are specifically updated to quote new data management legislation.
We’ve also updated some of the research we quote in the course. This has been an interesting exercise; we always keep up to date with the latest research but were still quoting some fairly old studies.
We’ve updated and added to these references to reassure staff taking the course, but the truth is that the key messages of such research haven’t, at heart, really changed. This course isn’t about tech, it’s about human behaviour, behaviour that seems fairly hard wired.
- Attention spans have, if anything, reduced in recent years, which means the message about catering to the shortest attention span will always hold.
- Choice paralysis, and the randomness of human choices, are psychological phenomena pre-dating the internet.
- Plain English will always be the best way to make yourself clearly understood to a wide range of people.
The update has also given us a chance to redesign the look of the videos, record them in the new Audio Booth in Level D at Argyle House and make sure the subtitles are 100% accurate (a couple of errors has slipped through the pilot).
We haven’t had the resource to run the course in person for a while, so we’re also running a live version on 26 March.
Find the course
The new course simply replaces the old course on Learn, with the same pass criteria, and there’s no need to redo the training. If you or a colleague are new to the course, or you want to revisit parts of it, you can find it on Learn.