RE: Technical Writing, QA, and Training

Subject: RE: Technical Writing, QA, and Training
From: david -dot- locke -at- amd -dot- com
To: "TECHWR-L" <techwr-l -at- lists -dot- raycomm -dot- com>
Date: Fri, 9 Mar 2001 16:33:35 -0600

One of the critical needs is to coordinate content production around a
deliberate content distributional strategy. In general, if more than 20% of
task performance is taught in a class, too much is being taught. So in the
train to validate vain, if you are validating, in class, 100% of the task
performance that you documented, you have put too much content in the
training, and you have probably put too much content in the manual as well.
The last 20% of content can be left to technical support.

But, this should be the result of a content distributional strategy created
at the executive level. Instead of allowing training, doc, and technical
support to document fully 100% of task performance, a distributional
strategy would let the executives decide how to allocate budget. Much would
be gained by using reference-based training, and cross references to
technical support content.

Usually, however, the organizations that do this work report to different
parts of the company, which makes coordination impossible. Combining
instructional design and doc does offer an organization the ability to
coordinate content. But, making everyone into stand-up trainers isn't the
best solution.

Again, when training is appropriately designed, it is impossible to
all the user manual content in one class regardless of the number of days
taken up by that class.

I realize that we are part of small organizations where roles have to
expand, and we find ourselves in a lot of roles. I know that I had a job
like that. It was great. But, if I needed a stand-up trainer, I would have
outsourced that job, or hired someone. Trainers have the ability to kill
companies. It's too important to be left to people without skills in that
area. If you have the skills that's one thing--and those skills go beyond
being able to present, or stand up in front of a classroom, we are talking
real teaching skills. But, if you don't, and don't have the desire to learn
them, then you don't belong in front of a classroom. People in the original
posters department don't want to do this, and by all rights, it is up to
them. Forcing them to do it would be detrimental to the customer and the

Been there. Not theory.




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