Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Building courses fast

There is more to speeding up the turn-around than using specific tools. The real key is to design the development process for fast turn-around. Several of our customers have used the "Content Factory" approach, and have been able to move from creating 50 courses per year to 450 without adding personnel.

The first step is to decide which courses are "traditional" and which are "rapid". Traditional course will have a longer shelf-life, so one can afford to include more high-production elements. These courses can take up to 2 months to create. Rapid courses are for fast-moving material. They can be created in a matter of hours. The key to the fast turn-around is to dispense with high-production elements like professional multimedia and voice overs.

Traditional course creation typically requires that the content/text people deliver their material to the graphic artists who then assemble the courses with high visual production costs/values.

The course production for rapid content separates the "visual" element, staffed by graphic designers and the "textual" or "content" portion. A tool like the ReadyGo Web Course Builder allows the subject matter experts or the "text" people to assemble the graphics with the content and output the course in a few hours. This way, instead of requiring 2 months for 2 people to create a course, one individual can create a course in a single day. Graphic elements are re-used. They surround the text, which contains the primary information. By implementing the primary content as text rather than graphics (e.g. Flash) the courses can be maintained and updated much more quickly.

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