Are Your Practices for Managing Content Catching Up To You?

I get calls to help clients figure out how to sort through their existing inventory of content – to decide what to keep as is, what to modify, and what to toss. As well as what to create in the first place – with nothing available currently – or with “lots of content” available currently. Managing content in the Instructional/Learning Space is like Product Management everywhere: it’s cradle to grave.

It’s never too late – I think and say – to get your act together. How to do this?

Is it quick and easy? Is it cheap?

The answer is yes to both questions – IF – you take a slash and burn approach sans data. Meaning – all decisions are quite arbitrary.

The right answer – most of the time – because: “as always, it depends” – is to anchor all content decisions back to a model of Performance – to the Performance Competence Requirements – to authentic/complete descriptions of what the learners/Performers need to be able to do – on the job.

My experience in doing this with my clients – 74 times since 1982 – via my Curriculum Architecture Design methods (CAD) – is that most clients have the enablers covered – but not the task applications of those enablers.

They have Communications, Problem Solving and Active Listening covered. They have Project Planning, Empowering Teams and Giving Feedback covered.

What’s missing from their collection of Modules is instructional Modules on “how to apply those” to the specific performance contexts of the target audiences. Too much trouble/too expensive most would say.

They are “unaware” of the data from research that only 15% of people can learn “out of context and apply it to another context” – in other words they can learn from instructional content (or stories) about somebody elses’ content – or from generic contexts – and then apply that “back at the ranch.” This is akin to the “authenticity” language in vogue today – more in vogue than “performance-based from back in the day.

And – as sometimes happens – when leaders figure out that that generic course needs to be more specific to their critical target audiences – in order to rally work – another version is created and added to inventory.

And as the original probably wasn’t designed for a “plug ‘n play” approach – to enable the easier swapping out of definitions, examples, demonstrations and exercises (dede) to make them authentic enough to actually work for the other 85% – another set of content is added – to be maintained over its life cycle. So far the shareholders have spent twice on this – once with a return and once with a negligible return (or negative return).

Doing Task number 6 below can lead to the achievement of the 7 Goals…

 And maybe that’s where you need to start – for your situation – for your context.

As always – it depends.

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