Published On: January 3, 2024By
How the Right LMS Helps Transform Training Business Content - Podcast 70 - Talented Learning

EPISODE 70: Revitalizing Training Business Content

Nora McCaffrey - Talented Learning Show Podcast Guest

Nora McCaffrey, Chief Academic Officer, Institute for Integrative Nutrition

Sooner or later, there’s one reality every online course provider must face. No matter how successful you are, your training business content will become stale. And because your livelihood depends on that content, you can’t afford to ignore it. But when and how should you revitalize your courses? And how can the right learning management system help?

Today, I’ve asked Nora McCaffrey to help us explore this issue. Nora is the Chief Academic Officer at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition (IIN). She recently spearheaded a full-scale content overhaul at IIN, which means she’s an ideal source of advice about how to navigate this process.

So, join us as we explore this topic on this episode of The Talented Learning Show


Revitalizing Training Business Content – KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Deciding when to overhaul training business content isn’t easy, but you don’t need to do it alone. Always look to users for cues. Feedback from site data, surveys and advisory boards can point you in the right direction.
  • Major content changes are complex, costly and time-consuming. Instead, focus on designing and structuring content to support a continuous, iterative update process.
  • Some learning platforms now include powerful authoring tools. Rather than relying on multiple platforms for training business content, you might find an all-in-one solution is more efficient and effective.


Revitalizing Training Business Content – Q&A HIGHLIGHTS

Welcome, Nora. For those who may not be familiar with the Institute for Integrative Nutrition, could you start with an overview?

Sure. The institute was founded in 1992 by Joshua Rosenthal. His vision and mission were to improve health and wellness by causing a ripple effect that transformed the world. And that’s still our mission today.

30 years ago, Joshua launched what we call the Health Coach Training Program, which began with weekly and weekend sessions in a New York City kitchen. Then in 2008, we put everything online. And what started as a few hundred students a year grew to a few thousand. And we continue to grow year over year.

Today, our community includes 160,000 members in over 121 countries around the globe.

In addition to our Health Coach Training Program, we now offer a catalog of other programs, including a pathway to third-party approval for health coach credentialing. We also offer niche concentrations in a variety of health topics.

And through our partnership Chopra Global, we offer wellness education and coaching that are helping us evolve into the world’s largest integrative wellness education platform.

Impressive! I know you’re an operations expert. How did that help you decide it was time to transform your training business content?

The field was growing significantly, and we wanted to be sure our students were getting the best education possible. So we started by evaluating our core content, which was a collection of 40 modules.

Essentially, it was a large catalog of assets. In other words, if you clicked on a module you would see learning objectives and a variety of related videos, worksheets and reading materials. So you’d find 15 to 18 pages of content, videos, or assets, followed by a quick quiz, discussions and assignments. And all 40 modules followed that same rhythm.


So first we looked at what was happening within the field of health coaching. There was a lot of growth happening at that time and continues to happen. So we benchmarked what we were doing from our curriculum and where the field was going. And that analysis revealed some gaps we needed to fill.

Also, our founder was in most of our content, but we wanted to include a broader variety of subject matter experts. So we analyzed that too.


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Makes sense…

We also considered input from our students. We looked at how they engaged with the content. We asked for feedback and gathered a lot of detail about what they were looking for in a better learning experience — what was working and what wasn’t.

We also established two advisory groups. One was a collection of subject matter experts in adult education and multiple dimensions of wellness. The other was an advisory panel of about 12 students and graduates from all over the world who shared feedback on our curriculum plans.

Interesting. So the feedback was generally good, but you saw a need to improve in several areas. What did you do? Did you decide to deal with all 40 modules at once?

Yes, it felt like we should go big. By addressing it all in one shot, everyone would have access to the best curriculum we could offer.

Also, it was critical to design and structure everything so that, whenever we need to iterate again, the overhaul won’t be as huge. This required us to organize, structure and build everything in our system in a way that will help us produce future updates more quickly at a lower cost, and get those updates to students in a more timely manner.

So we moved to a new platform that could help us change the content completely. Then we reorganized it and cataloged it within that system. And it worked.

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Excellent. So you outgrew your in-house solution. And instead of just being about content presentation or assembly, that new platform is more like an authoring tool?

After looking at a variety of vendors we landed on D2L Brightspace. We chose this for two reasons:

First, we ran a pilot project and found they have a strong product. Their partnership, collaboration and strategy for how to deliver on our content strategy was so powerful. They helped us see what we were trying to imagine and then put it into that platform.

In fact, we created two short-form courses we still offer today. They’re great courses that let us see how we could use the system effectively.

This D2L pilot also helped us build out a stronger plan for our flagship Health Coach Training Program. Throughout design and development they were amazing partners who incorporated dynamic elements out of the box. For example, we added tabbed interactions, accordions and interactives that let us include things like slides and hot spots, which we never had before.

Cool. So sample content is available on your website?

Yes, you can find the sample course right inside the Brightspace system. Just go to and log into the course, where we’ve assembled some great content so you can get a taste of the full program.

That’s great. This sounds like a complete solution…

As I mentioned, previously we had kind of a series of assets. Now we have 10 rich page designs that are mobile-friendly so students can more easily consume content. And we can see those course completions because we created dashboards that help us understand how students engage with courses.

It is a night-and-day comparison.

Excellent. So in retrospect, if you could have done anything differently, what would it be?…


…For complete answers to this question and more about how to transform training business content, listen to the full 30-minute podcast on Apple Podcasts, on Google Podcasts, on Spotify, or right here on our site.


Learn More:

Get to Know Brightspace LMS by D2L!
Want to find out about the platform that helped Nora and her team at IIN revitalize their training business content? Check out our D2L vendor profile, including our product review, other case studies and more in our Learning Systems Directory. Or visit the D2L website.


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About the Author: John Leh

John Leh is Founder, CEO and Lead Analyst at Talented Learning and the Talented Learning Center. John is a fiercely independent consultant, blogger, podcaster, speaker and educator who helps organizations select and implement learning technology strategies, primarily for extended enterprise applications. His advice is based upon more than 25+years of learning-tech industry experience, serving as a trusted LMS selection and sales adviser to hundreds of learning organizations with a total technology spend of more than $100+ million and growing. John would love to connect with you on Twitter or on LinkedIn.
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