Single-Source Workshop with Bryan Chapman and Xyleme Recap

October 18, 2012 Sarah Danzl

Bryan Chapman is renowned for teaching world-class organizations how to implement successful single-source learning development strategies. On September 12th, Bryan practiced what he has been preaching all along during a webinar attended by nearly 1000. He took his single-source workshop materials and using Xyleme LCMS technology, created a full course on the topic. His main focus: the idea that from a single-source, content can be output to any format: student guides, instructor guides, eLearning, tablet apps and smartphone apps, just to name a few.

What is single source?

Previously, Chapman had put his own content development process under the microscope. He wanted to make sure that is content was scalable and future proofed against the emergence of new delivery platforms. His solution? Single-Source.

Single source is a method of creating content in a modular (small nuggets of content) format so that it can be broken down by nugget and used in multiple pieces of learning material on multiple devices. This original content, or “instance,” is stored in a central repository, where users on any device can access it and create new versions and new material based off of the original.

In the webinar, Chapman explained how developers who use single source development can shorten time to market and increase productivity by reusing learning objects stored in a single source learning object repository, combine objects and reuse content to develop various different courses, and then publish it all to multiple outputs, such as instructor guides, eLearning courses, mobile platforms, etc.

Benefits of single-source

In Chapman’s experience, single-source content development more than delivers productivity gains.  Based on industry averages, he estimated the time to develop this course and all the outputs would have previously taken 804 hours and the cost would have been $42,000. However, using single source development, including reusing content objects, engaging in non-linear development and spiral project management, the entire course was produced in only 108 hours for a grand total of just under $6,000.

Cool! Where and How to Start?

During the workshop, Chapman shared some important notes when developing your own content for single sourcing. He advises:

  • Think modular, interactive, long term – once content is chunked, imported and mapped, single source becomes a staging mechanism for development, eliminating redundancy, enabling publication to multiple formats and simplifying continuous enrichment.
  • Explore templates early in the process for creative fuel and time savings.
  • Non-linear team development is key; it is so much more efficient than traditional linear development models. This allows graphic enhancement, video production, narrative recording and mobile development to happen simultaneously as the experts contribute content!
  • Get creative! Reusable objects and content enable unlimited new opportunities for easily creating new learning content! This includes: blended learning, linking learning objects to Website resources, licensing, packaging and selling.

This is all well and great but was the event even useful?

Considering more than half of the attendees were still on the webinar 15 minutes after it was scheduled to end, encouraging Bryan and Xyleme staff to continue answering questions, we would call this a successful event!

There were a considerable amount of responses to the survey, and some feedback of the presentation included comments like:

  • This was one of the BEST webinars I have attended in a long time; it was a great partnership and demonstration between SME, content and development tools.  NICE WORK!   Thank you!
  • “I really like the examples that show how a single source can be published for different devices.”
  • “Well done! I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect but I found the content informative.  My head is spinning with all sorts of ideas of how single sourcing our content could help make us more efficient and able to keep our content updated!  I really love that Bryan is making the content available for free and that we get to try the different formats for ourselves.  Thanks so much!”
  • “Wow!  Best webinar I have ever watched.  Thanks, guys!”
  • “This is really neat and is a great way for Instructional Designers to save time and money when designing materials for courses.”
  • “Chunking for cross use and reuse as well as glue to hold parts together.  Great concept. Ability to use single source for multiple outputs. I will be spreading this around my learning organization.
    Thank you.”

This is something you have to see for yourself! Download the webinar now at:

You can also access the slides via Slideshare at:

Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, Bryan Chapman has made his single source course (that he uses in his consulting business!) available for free, just to webinar registrants and attendees. Yes, really, and it is available in all different output formats (print, eLearning, tablet and smartphone apps). Please note that is all possible under Creative Commons licensing, so please be respectful.  The course and the outputs are available  on the Xyleme website at the following link:

Thank you to Bryan Chapman, and everyone who attended the webinar! Questions? Please direct them to Xyleme staff.

About the Author

Sarah Danzl

Sarah manages the public face of Xyleme, overseeing all PR and Customer Communication. She is a specialist in written communications, media relations and reputation management. One of her favorite aspects of her job at Xyleme is working with the customers on on joint initiatives, including award applications.

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