The Balancing Act: What Should Your Education Strategy be Today?
In a previous two-part blog we addressed the workforce today and investment in education along with a look at content development and delivery methods. With this blog, we address effective strategy for education. For years my mom said, “do it right the first time so you don’t have to go back and do things all over again” – this applies as well to having the best education programs in place by defining an effective strategy with principles presented here.
It’s important to ask the following questions when thinking about strategy for education in your company:
- What are the education programs in place at your organization – both formal and informal?
- What is the infrastructure to support the programs – is it up to the latest technology standards and practices?
- Is the education developed with solid processes such as single-sourcing, Agile development, and XML-DITA standards?
- Will your organization support the change management needed to implement effective education strategies?
Given the questions above, let’s discuss some of the key principles for your education strategy:
- Education Programs – No Single Solution – even with the hype of technology-based education such as support for learning on tablets, video casts, podcasts, and more, there is still a strong requirement for formal education. It is important to balance the use of new technologies with solid content rather than simply adding technology fluff to the experience. For example, define the learning objectives and integrate formal learning of instructor-led with informal learning such as a podcast and job aid.
- Infrastructure is Key – without a solid infrastructure to support education, there will be limited effectiveness in the development and deployment of the learning. This includes the library/repository of content, development/authoring tools, learning management system (LMS), collaboration and social platforms, and of course, the project management that brings everything together.
- Authoring – Single Sourcing – effective content and learning requires the excellence of achieving single sourcing of content. The vast majority of companies today do not ‘do things right here’. Instead, they jump into content development without developing a single source content development plan. The ability to author in a single tool and store source in a single format (usually xml) pays dividends in translation costs, in flexibility in meeting demands for new output types, in the ability to use a central repository for your global workforce, and in the reuse of content between deliverables. Companies today achieve far greater results with single sourcing – from quality to consistency in deliverables.
- Culture of Change – organizations must embrace collaboration, ensure that people know their roles, and assign people with the right skills for their role across the company. The goal is to embrace the change needed to increase performance results across your organization. The performance results are achieved within companies that implement and support effective education strategies.
Posted by Louise Keppel, Vice President, Epicor University