Re: Documentation/Training

Subject: Re: Documentation/Training
From: Chuck Banks <chuck -at- ASL -dot- DL -dot- NEC -dot- COM>
Date: Mon, 6 Jun 1994 16:06:32 CDT

For Tim Pera, et al:

AT&T used a document structure and content similar to the
cited by Tim Pera in message 9406062038 -dot- AA27035 -at- telemann -dot- inoc -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
as the basis for the Task Oriented Practices (TOP) format described in
Bell System Information Publication IP 10260.

The TOP development procedure suggests documentation and
course development teams should work closely together. However, the
TOP structure and formats do not include training material such as
exercises in the documentation.

What Tim describes is a form of structured task-oriented
document. In TOP format, the sections are divided into modules that
the reader can easily replace when changed modules arrive and can
easily locate via a system of module numbers. The drawback most
often sited to this structure is the inherent page turning required
when following a procedure.

Regardless, the structure is a well-tested one.

One caveat, I have experienced resistance to task-oriented
documentation from reviewers and managers who are unfamiliar with
task orientation methods. Usually, they object to the titles, not
the content.

I have disguised "exercises" as "examples" in reference
documents. Again, because of reviewer objections.

One thing vendor training provides that such documents do
not is the opportunities for students to practice with both common
and catastrophic system problems. Keep in mind that most industrial
training is intended to give students skills and knowledge in a few
hours or days that they would receive over months or even years on
the job. If customers are to perform their own training, I recommend
"train-the-trainer" sessions with vendor instructors. The manual
itself is just not enough to make for successful training by
inexperienced instructors.

Best Regards!

Chuck Banks
__ ________ ______
|\\ | || // Chuck Banks
| \\ | ||_______ || Senior Technical Writer
| \\ | || || NEC America, Inc.
| \\| \\______ \\______ E-Mail: chuck -at- asl -dot- dl -dot- nec -dot- com
America, Incorporated CompuServe: 72520,411
STC Mail: cbanks -at- talkdallas -dot- com

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