I remember the first time I went out on a sales call. I was a young engineer and I really didn’t know much about sales. After the call, the VP of Sales I was with gave me a book called “Prospecting Your Way to Sales Success”. It was a great story about the discipline sales professionals need to be successful. Contrary to what many people believe, the best sales professionals are not “the slick salesman” or the “tell them what they want to hear to get the deal” type. The best sales people have a methodology and rigorously follow it. The most successful sales people will tell you that sales is a hard profession, and the key is making the hard things easier to do.
It’s the same with developing learning content. It’s about making the hard things easy to do. What are the hard things in developing learning content? Content changes, customization and reusing content. Most instructional designers can describe in detail how they initially create content, how the tools they use are easy and how they have their own standards for new content development. Ask them to go change the words “sales person” to “marketing professional” in all of the materials for an instructor-led course (instructor guide, student guide, handouts, PowerPoint slides, etc.) and you get that ‘pained expression” as they think about going into multiple files and making edits one file at a time.
How about an on-line course where the same content is shared by multiple locations, such as service centers or manufacturing plants? The scenario where 90% is the same but 10% is different. How would you handle this in your tool? Create a course for each location? Copy and paste?
At Xyleme, we have an XML publishing system that makes these hard things easy to do. Since everything is stored as native XML content, we have one source of content and can use “filters” to dynamically publish for each location. With Xyleme, you simply choose “publish for location 1”, “publish for location 2”, etc. and in a couple of minutes you can have all of the materials you need for each service center or manufacturing plant. With Xyleme, you simply choose “substitute marketing professional for sales person” and in a couple of minutes you have new materials for a new customer or partner. You don’t need to update multiple documents, courses, files, etc.
It’s about making the hard things easy.
It’s about Publishing Your Way to Content Success.