Saturday, March 17, 2007

IU IST Annual Conference

I gave a version of the presentation I gave at Masie's conferene at the annual IU IST conference a couple of weeks ago.

I want to talk a bit about the presentation. But first, a comment or two about the IU IST conference. This is a great conference at a tremendous value. I saw a great presentation by Darryl Sink on efficient learning content development. Andy Gibbons from BYU presented on different types of reserach (science and technology). I'm at Humana right now. I'm going to encourage my team to attend/present next year. I'm also getting active in the local ISP chapter and I'll see if I can get them involved as well. It's a beautiful 90-mile drive from L'ville to Bloomington. I think this conference can become a professional development highlight .

On to the presentation.

First of all, here are some additional resources:

Here's the original presentation page:

There you'll find an example that demonstrates the XML portion of the presenation that you can download and try.

I'm working on a paper based upon this presentation and the feedback I've received. Sections coming soon...

Briefly, here are some of the main points from the presentation:

Content should be authored, maintained, and delivered in one tool - preferably a tool that your SMEs use.
Word for textual content
Visio for process flows

Yes, I'm saying you should think twice about using a tool like Toolbook, Lectora, or the like for development. Use them only if you can import the content at runtime from XML output or web output from the program in which the content was authored.

"Why?" you ask. Because of the inefficiency resulting from moving the content into a tool your SMEs don't use. Other benefits: no content freezes, your SMEs can participate in authoring content throughout the entire development process, you will be more efficient in developing content.

It is better to have content used once quickly that never reused.
I misspent my youth chasing the dream of content reuse. Forget about it. Focus on developing the content quickly. The reuse that is going to happen as our tools and methods mature is functionality reuse and content reuse (with no additional effort) within the lifecycle of information use.

What does this mean? It means that a tool that displays multiple choice questions directly from a Word file (saved as XML) can be reused - but the questions probably will not be reused. A course where the content is tagged (concepts, facts, principles, procedures) will have content reused WITHIN the course. For example, the procedures can be presented and practiced throughout the course - then "reused" in a job-aid format at the end of the course.

Then there is the idea of Quickly. Information has a lifecycle. You get it from your SME one day and sometime the next week, it's no longer current (sure, some hyperbole here, but not much). Have you ever wondered why your SMEs chafe so much at content freezes? If you freeze the content for 3 weeks while you put the finishing touches on a course, I may not be accurate when you're finished.

Prospect, KY
Happy St. Patrick day

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