Learning Content Strategy: Keep it “Brainless and Painless”

June 29, 2015 Ryan Campion

Despite the importance of developing talent in the face of increasing skills gaps, most learners can only dedicate 27 minutes per week on average to their own learning and training.

This means employees simply don’t have time to waste searching for content that helps them do their jobs. Consider a sales rep trying to find that nugget of info on how to beat a competitor, or a client support agent who needs to quickly find a technical resource document to resolve a customer service issue; they don’t need content at the time of need – they need it at the time of urgency.

But most organizations are ill-equipped to create content and deliver it in a way that makes it easy to find. Many limp along by using SharePoint, or storing content in emails or folders on a select few individuals’ desktops, or other information black holes.

It’s time to change this. As Cristine (Duckworth) Lipscomb discussed recently on our webinar, Learning Delivery: Meeting the Modern Learner Where They Are, Part 1, this problem can be addressed by creating a content strategy that’s so simple it makes searching and finding content “brainless and painless.”

So what exactly is a learning content strategy? Lipscomb defines it as a methodology to solve business goals through the systematic design, development, delivery, and maintenance of content. Notice the lack of fluff here – content strategy is all about the business. If you want to increase productivity, sales, or customer satisfaction, you need to be able to create consistent, relevant content and get it into the hands of your learners quickly.

Governance plays a huge role in the success of a content strategy. Now don’t think bureaucracy here – all we’re talking about is the need for a person or committee who will make critical decisions about content. What content is relevant for your learners’ jobs? Who is the audience? Where should it be stored? How can you make it easier to access? They will be responsible for ensuring accessing content is painless and brainless.

And certainly a content strategy’s success hinges upon the content itself. When developing content, Lipscomb offers 4 rules of thumb:

  1. Content is not a course
  2. Content is smart
  3. Content is shared
  4. Templates drive consistency

Remember, your learners don’t have time to search hour-long courses to find information. Content must be developed and made available in little pieces. A sales rep doesn’t need to sift through a guide on how to compete against your top 15 competitors if he’s only up against one in a deal.

Your content also needs to be smart and easily shareable. Smart content is highly re-useable and can be tagged so you know for which audience it is most relevant. It’s a good idea to leverage templates as much as you can. They ease the efficiency of content production and also increase learner effectiveness by providing a consistent development experience – because your learners recognize the format, they can dive right into the material and focus on the learning itself.

If you would like to learn more about how to leverage templates and workflows in your content strategy, as well as best practices to more effectively deliver it to your learners, register for Part 2 of our series with Cristine, coming up on July 15th.

Click here to register! 

 

 

About the Author

Ryan Campion

Ryan runs demand generation at Xyleme, which provides content management for learning and development. Xyleme helps organizations develop content faster, make it easy for learners to find it, and enables businesses to measure their content's actual use and effectiveness. Ryan is responsible for driving education and new interest in our products and services. His passions include writing, drawing, fitness, and the outdoors.

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