When building courses or media for online consumption, content creation and calibration takes the lions share of development. Depending upon the purpose of the content, its creation and calibration is both perilous and perpetual. Whether it’s a general blog post, video, or podcast, content creation and calibration tends to flow through the Alpha testing stage of development, given that its creator is satisfied with the outcome. The designer of the content most likely has a special affinity for it because he or she has lived with the content for several months; has worked with stakeholders and subject matter experts on the content for several days; and has bore the labor pains during the birthing and delivery of the content for several hours. Given this process of content creation and calibration, it is no surprise that the Beta testing stage of content development rarely happens in academic settings, perhaps because the content creator simply wants the consumer to consume.
Content is the lifeblood of a course, hence, “you want to create something you’re proud of” (Branson, 2018). This means that content worth pride needs to be created in the same place that babies are made. A healthy baby develops in 9 months, as a result of the romance of two. However, in most cases, content creators don’t have the luxury of nine months to develop healthy content. One might ask, what goes into content creation and how often should content be calibrated?
Monthly, I contribute content to ulimionline.com and thewordconsciousclassroom.com. As the old cliche goes, it’s both challenging and rewarding. To help me create content consistently, I used advise from Amy Porterfield. Amy suggested Mega-Batching content by doing the following:
- Brainstorm content ideas
- Break the content ideas down into six topics
- Based on the topic, what question is being answered for the audience
- List resources needed to create content for that topic
- Decide how the content will be shared (i.e., blog post, video, podcast)
Click here for a link to a planning tool that I created, based on Porterfield’s advice.
Once the content is published, that is not the end of the creation process. It is actually the beginning. Like the development and maturation of a child into an adult, content is constantly in need of calibration and recalibration as contexts and audiences change. It is almost always necessary to reuse, revise, remix, or repurpose content, thus the calibration and recalibration of content is constant. Borrowing from the principles of creative commons, below I define the four Rs for content calibration and recalibration:
- Reuse – content might have to be reused across different platforms, hence having an archiving system for content is important.
- Revise – content might have to be revised based on updated information or the needs of the audience. Hence, keeping raw content is important for future revisions.
- Remix – content may be combined with other material to create something new (e.g., incorporate the content into a mashup) (Wiley, 2018).
- Repurpose – content might have to be adapted for use in a different purpose. Hence, blog posts might be repurposed for a white paper or a book chapter.
In sum, content creation and calibration is a constant, and it doesn’t stop once it is published. In other words, in order to fulfill its purpose, content incessantly evolves. Like anxious parents wanting the world to see the beauty of their baby, content designers want users to see the beauty of their content and find purpose with it. To increase the chances of the world seeing their baby as beautiful, some parents might opt for acquiring a designer baby. While content designers may not have that option yet, to increase the chances of beautiful content, some designers might opt to create and calibrate content along with a their content audience, thus extending the romance of content making to its users.
Branson, R. (2018). Greatest Quotes. Business Blogs.Retrieved October 06, 2018, from https://www.businessblogshub.com/2012/09/richard-branson-greatest-quotes/
Wiley, D. (2018). Defining the “Open” in Open Content and Open Educational Resources. This material is based on original writing by David Wiley, which was published freely under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 license at http://opencontent.org/definition/.