If you opt to run a pilot session at any point in your workflow, you should include the least amount of content sensibly possible. The feedback you’ll receive from learners will soon indicate whether anything is vague or confusing in any way. Should this happen, identify those gaps and fill them in.
This is better than throwing in too much content, because not only does it bloat the course, it also encourages learners to be less specific with their feedback. You’re giving them too much scope for complaint, therefore giving yourself more work than is necessary when it comes to filtering out those collective replies. You could easily find yourself swamped with calls for this and calls for that, and need to canvass which ones really add value.
Cut, cut, cut
This isn’t to say you should start with the absolute bare bones. Just keep it simple. Look at your content, strip out what could be quantified as surplus and work with what’s left. Listen to SMEs even if they tell you that all of their material is mission critical. Illustrate where you believe this is not the case and don’t be afraid to stand your ground. If you leave something out against the wishes of an SME and your pilot group tell you they needed it, then you have an indicator for allowing it back in.
Don’t be afraid to speak with a handful of learners during the build stage too. Perhaps round up a group with different levels of responsibility and experience. Ask them what they’d like to see included and excluded. Don’t feel you need to go through this process for the entire course though – maybe stick to a few areas that you are unsure of or are causing bones of contention with your SME(s).
Refine and repeat
If you need to run a second pilot then do so. Even a third. Always be aware of your time frame though. And available resources.