Redesign, Refresh, Reiterate: Improving the Online Training Experience



Last month, General Assembly’s Corporate Training Team relaunched a new iteration of our online training platform, The Essentials of Digital Marketing. While the platform’s digital marketing lessons are constantly refreshed to include the latest content, tools, and tactics, the platform itself is also frequently refreshed to reflect new understandings about our students’ learning behavior and preferences.

Below are a few examples of how we’ve updated the platform to improve the experience of learning online.

Keeping Online Education Relevant

In normal classrooms, instructors have to compete with the usual, classic distractions: whispering students, gazing out the window, exchanging text messages, etc. With online education, however, instructors are challenged by an infinite number of distractions with which to compete. In the blink of an eye, a separate tab can be opened, a Facebook message can arrive, or a pressing email can interrupt the student’s learning experience.

To compete with these distractions, our team of instructional designers focused on making our lessons as relevant and engaging as possible. Our biggest challenge with the relaunch of The Essentials of Digital Marketing was uncovering the type of content that would be both highly relevant and entertaining. While this is relatively easy for a lesson on social media campaigns, it can be rather challenging when creating a lesson on attribution modeling.

Our formula for increasing engagement with the platform followed, what we call, the three Rs of updating our online content: redesign, refresh, and reiterate.

Redesign: A New Look and Feel


The most obvious changes that we made were to our Learning Management System (LMS). Taking the feedback we have gotten from countless user interviews, our goal was simple- to maximize engagement by making the user interface as intuitive as possible.

New Organization


Due to the ever-changing digital marketing landscape, we adjusted how we organize the content on our platform. To quickly onboard those new to the digital marketing world, we introduced the Foundations topic area as the starting point for those with a limited digital marketing background. Additionally, since current trends in digital marketing show the importance of reaching consumers through multiple devices and experiences, we created a category for multi-channel marketing.

New Functionality


To keep users engaged from lesson to lesson, we have made it easier for our users to find their next recommended lessons. We have also made it easier for students to track overall progress within each lesson category.


To help our users set and maintain completion goals, we’ve also included a tracker feature. The tracker illustrates lesson completion over the course of the month and what students need to finish in order to hit their individual performance goals.


Considering that the platforms relaunch now includes over 50 lessons, we mitigated concerns that our students wouldn’t know which lessons they should take next by creating this “next lesson button.” Next lessons are determined by the user’s personalized learning path.


To help navigate users to additional content on our LMS, we have begun highlighting our recent blog posts and videos. This content, which is released weekly, is our way of updating our users on the latest news, trends, and viral campaigns.

Refresh: Staying Relevant and Up to Date

Never before have I designed a course on a topic that evolves as quickly as digital marketing. Lessons and examples can become obsolete in a matter of months. In order to provide the most up-to-date content, we have concentrated on systematically refreshing lessons based off of user feedback and constant monitoring of marketing case studies to make sure they still apply.

Additionally, we also create real-time content on our blog and in our weekly videos. Both of these resources aim to establish our platform as an all-around digital marketing resource, not only for learning the essentials, but also for catching up on what’s new and current.

Reiteration: What’s Next

As we look forward with this project and gather more data of how our corporate training clients interact with our platform, our focus is to keep testing new ways to push content to our users in order to drive engagement. Our lessons currently range from 10-20 min in length, but as we produce more types of content, we are testing how different lengths influence user engagement. As we establish a better understanding of the optimal user experience, we will work to refresh and update all lessons on the platform to meet the new style guidelines and to update content and examples as necessary.

In the meantime, we welcome you to try out the new version of the Essentials of Digital Marketing through a short, sample module!

Try a New Sample Module