Content Strategy

Getting Started with Content Strategy

Content Wrangling Workflow, like a periodic table of content strategy activities.
Content Wrangling Workflow, like a periodic table of content strategy activities.

Last week, Megan & I were at DevLearn in Las Vegas. We intend to post a bit more about it because, for anyone following the Experience API (and us) it was a pretty incredible showcase of what’s happening with adoption that goes far beyond vendors checking the box and putting an LRS in their LMS.

We were happy to host the xAPI in Practice track as well as the xAPI Hyperdrive competition (more on those in other posts). We presented a session on content strategy called Content Wrangling: Applying Content Strategy & Information Architecture. The last few months have been incredibly busy for us (YAYCAKE, to borrow from Trish Uhl) and while there’s been pretty much no activity on our site or blog, we’ve been busy working with vendors and organizations on a variety of projects about which we’re only starting to be able to show and tell. 🙂

Since Megan presented on content strategy in January, we’ve learned a whole lot with more opportunities to put our ideas into practice. A few organizations we’re working with who are getting started with strategically using the Experience API are trying to move from pushing assigned courses to enabling employees to pull content at the moment of need. When your organization is sitting on years and years of eLearning content, there’s a lot to sift through and make sense of.

In July, I presented to the NextGen LMS conference on Continuous Improvement — specifically about the idea of workflows vs. processes. Content Strategy, in our opinion, is a set of workflows — one for baselining and initiating your content strategy from wherever you are now; the other to continuously improve both content and delivery.

Getting through the first workflow, no bones about it, is a tough slog. A content audit isn’t fun but it’s absolutely necessary — but that might be the toughest and slowest part of the workflow. There are other activities that are both meaningful and, if both head and heart are in it, kinda fun (in a librarian sense of fun). Once it’s baselined, if you’re following our lead here, you’re doing continuous improvement the way we practice it with MakingBetter: “LEAN Learning.

We’re still testing a hypothesis Megan and I had in the creation of the Experience API. We’re finding that the key to understanding xAPI is in figuring out what one needs as a designer to design better, asking that question, and then testing for it in what people do inside the learning (with xAPI) and what they do in work (business result). That applies to content as much as anything else about the learning experience that can be designed. Questions like “How can we make navigation better?” “How can we make searching faster?” “How can we make this content just the right size?” are things we can test for.

Once you start testing the links between what one does with the content and what business results you look to correlate with that experience, you’re practicing hypothesis-based design. This helps us as designers, as leaders and (frankly) as vendors produce better content and better delivery mechanisms for it.

Please enjoy the slides and, if you would, let us know how we can make them better? 🙂


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