Why a Process for Transforming Information is an Efficient and Effective Solution
The most efficient and effective way to transfer critical information and content from the knowledge producers, the engineers, system analysts, and senior operators to the knowledge consumers, the end users, team members, and new hires … is to use a set of tools and a well-defined process to transform information and training problems into a set of internally consistent and pedagogically sound solutions.
This process starts with a needs assessment, defining the initial body of knowledge that needs to be conveyed to the learner. Then an analysis process is used to assess the information management structure, and its requirements for instructional design. This then results in a core repository, or knowledge-base, of the information that must be available and conveyed to the user. The final step is to create a set of information and training products that take that core knowledge and reconfigure it to the requirements of the delivery environment.
For instance, a core knowledge-base could be used to create a set of job aids to help a customer engineer in fixing printer problems. This same knowledge-base could also be used to create a participant’s guide in a workshop, or a self-paced computer-based tutorial. In this way, our process allows for the single creation of the core content, that can then be delivered in a variety of formats .
This process has several advantages over the traditional processes of information management and training development.
Cognitive structures: The knowledge base is designed to reflect the content information in cognitive-based structures, such as procedural knowledge. This facilitates the transformation of the knowledge into state-of-the-art delivery formats. Implemented in best practices: Each of the delivery formats has a set of models that reflect empirically supported and research-based strategies. Our reference aids, documentation layout, and instructional strategies all reflect the best practices available in these areas.
Multiple delivery formats: The ability to deliver the same core content in a variety of formats is one of the key value added features of the Princeton Center process. This advantage in further enhanced by having to create the knowledge-base only once, and then use it many times in a variety of formats.
Centralized development: This process will help an organization by creating all of the related training and information materials within a single process. In many organizations, workshops are created in one department, job aids in another, Web-based delivery in yet another. This often adds work, duplicates efforts, and reduces consistency across delivery environments. The Princeton Center process eliminates this redundancy by centralizing the development effort.
Facilitates maintenance: Much of the information in today’s workplace is temporal in nature. Applications, products and processes change at a breakneck pace. Whenever there is a change in the core information, all of the related information in the job aids, documentation, Web-based training and so on must also be changed. By capturing all of the core content in a structured database, the maintenance effort is reduced, and the assurance that the same knowledge will be changed in all of the related products is significantly increased.
Eliminates software debugging: Several of the potential products from this process are computer-based: the computer-based training, Web-delivery and the electronic reference systems. When creating materials for these formats, the developer defines the content and then makes choices as to how these materials will look. This completely eliminates the need for custom programming and software debugging, an extensive and time consuming process.
About the Author:
Peter J. Rizza, Jr., PhD. is he Founder of the Princeton Center for Education Services, and has spent his entire professional career working with learning strategies, knowledge transfer and authoring tools. As past president of the MidNJ Chapter of ASTD speaker at the Society for Applied Learning Technology, Dr. Rizza shares his lessons learned in improving the paradigms for training across several industries.