Second hand shopping for elearning

Hand pushing virtual search bar

I have a passion for secondhand shopping. I often find useful, quality, beautiful items discarded by previous owners just waiting for me to breathe life back into them. The same goes with content that already exists in places like the internet.

Once the learning objectives for a course are sorted, I start hunting for what exists already so I don’t have to create everything from new. One of my favourite places to secondhand shop for content is YouTube. There are millions of videos on YouTube, most without copyright conditions, and some very high quality that would take hours to develop.

When I find relevant content this doesn’t mean my development and instructional design is done for me – I now need to think of how to utilise it. Is it pre-course work or a motivator? Will it be used to introduce a point, emphasise a point, tell a story, will it be used as an activity starter, or even as a summary? There are a multitude of ways to use already existing content.

When using ‘second hand’ content always keep copyright in mind. Check if the resource has copyright on it – most YouTube videos are fine but a few do have copyright or viewing conditions. Acknowledge the source, this may be as simple as making sure the original source can be tracked back. Look at the embedded videos later in this post you will see you can track them all back to YouTube where they were originally uploaded.

Below are a couple of examples of my latest secondhand content finds. For each of these videos I designed an activity around it that directly related to the learning objectives of the course. Imagine the time it would have taken to create each of these from scratch.

This video supported a learning objective about information overload:

This video supported a learning objective around advantages and disadvantages for ICT information sharing:

Do you partake in secondhand content shopping? What strategies do you use for re-purposing other people’s content?

You may also find these blog posts of interest or click follow to see more of my posts:

Writing learning objectives how to use them

No-one likes a cheat!

Writing learning objectives: knowing what to aim for


I’ve found that writing measurable learning objectives speeds up my instructional design process and makes elearning quicker to design and develop. I use measurable learning objectives to get agreement from the Subject Matter Expert on what successful behaviour change (learning) looks like and then use them to inform what content, practice activities, and assessment are included in the learning solution.

How do you write a measureable learning objective?

A clear measureable learning objective starts with an active verb (doing word) and is worded so that others can clearly detect if the objective has been achieved or not by the end of the training session. Examples of active verbs are: list, demonstrate, match, identify, record, describe, state, compare, and contrast. Blooms Taxonomy gives a list or verbs and different cognitive levels that are useful for writing learning objectives, here is a printable list you can use to help you.

Vague verbs such as “understand”, “know” or “learn about” should be avoided and replaced with the more specific verbs. For example, it is impossible to observe if a person has achieved “understanding”.

Measurable learning objectives include three components:
*  the behaviour that will be observed (verb),
*  the conditions in which this behaviour will occur and
*  the criteria or how well a learner must perform that behaviour to be judged competent.

For example, suppose a learning objective for this blog post is that you will be able to: write a learning objective on how to blow a bubble from gum which includes the three components of a measurable learning objective (the behaviour, conditions and criteria).

Can you recognise the three measurable components in the bubble blowing objective above?

So what could a measurable learning objective for blowing a bubble look like? How about this: blow a bubble with hubba bubba gum that is larger than a 50 cent coin in diameter and stays inflated for more than three seconds. Could you clearly observe success for this bubble blowing learning objective? What other measurable learning objectives could be written for how to blow a bubble?

I’ve only scratched the surface of learning objectives here and would love to hear what your thoughts are on writing measurable learning objectives?