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You shouldn’t create every single learning assessment from scratch. 

In fact, learning assessments are prime candidates for something called content reuse.

You already have a library of content that supports your customers and personnel. That content should remain explicitly helpful to whoever’s looking for it. If it’s already there and you have a team of information developers keeping tabs on it, why not use that existing content to create learning assessments? That’s better than starting from square one.

Before we talk about the “how,” let’s ask why you should be doing this. An oft-heard mantra around here is: “An educated customer is a secure customer.”

The goal of your content is to help users become proficient at using your product. That’s why using your existing content to create learning assessments is doing your organization and users a huge favor. Learning assessments offer another, more focused method for improving the retention of relevant information. In addition to helping users, you will also learn where your own content gaps are.

 

Objective Oriented Learning Assessments

Content without goals is wasted space. The same is true of learning assessments.

Just like your content needing a purpose, your learning assessments must also have a purpose. Before you snicker at what seems an obvious point, this is harder than you think. The purpose of content and the purpose of learning assessments, while linked, aren’t always the same.

Generally speaking, the purpose of product content is to empower users, the purpose of learning assessments is to reinforce that content.

Here’s how to get started.

 

Base Initial Learning Assessments on FAQs, User Guides, and Support Docs

Ever look for your glasses and find them on your head? This is like that.

This content is already here and — hopefully — kept well up to date. Content sets like: 

    • FAQs
    • User guides
    • Support docs

These are the first places people will look for product help. Build your first learning assessments from this material and it won’t be as overwhelming as starting from nothing. These pieces of content should already offer answers to the most common user problems, so they work well in learning assessment formats.

The goal of your product is to be valuable to users. Recall the goal of content is to educate users and make them proficient? Here’s your chance to link the two objectives. Valuable product content will help create valuable learning content, which will go on to help users get better at using your product.

It’s a good place to start, but beware: the quality of learning assessments based on your existing content depends on the quality of your existing content.

 

User Guided Learning Assessments

User Experience, Customer Experience, Learning Experience, so many experiences. Your users, your customers aren’t voiceless vessels waiting to be filled with your content. They want clear, direct answers to their questions. So listen to them. 

    • Customer comments
    • Support tickets
    • Testimonials
    • Grumpy emails that identify pain points that make sense but could’ve been worded nicer
    • Social media mentions
    • Sales conversations

All of these are records of raw, unrefined content waiting to be formed into something valuable. Look for themes, common complaints, keywords, and repeated questions, then create learning content from them. You can imagine that if three people asked a similar question about your product, there are plenty more out there who kept it to themselves or searched and couldn’t find a solution.

Rely on your users to illuminate the content that will directly answer the questions they have. Few things are more annoying than asking a question and being sent to sift through a mountain of content to look for it yourself.

There are very convincing reasons that customer experience and learning content go hand in hand. Remember the overarching goal of product content and learning assessment.

Make people better at using your product; when people are good at something, they want to share it — which makes your job a whole lot easier.

 

How to Create a Learning Assessment in easyDITA

Ready to create your own learning content? Here’s how to do it in easyDITA. 

In your content library, navigate to a folder where you’d like to store your learning content and click Create New.

From there, you’ll have a few different options for creating learning topics: 

    • Learning Plan
    • Learning Overview
    • Learning Content 
    • Learning Summary
    • Learning Assessment

Each serves a different purpose and these specializations will help you structure your learning content. Since we’re just getting started, let’s just create a Learning Assessment by clicking that option. Name your learning assessment topic, then you can open and edit it in your folder as you see fit.

Stack your topics together, make a full curriculum, with learning topics, you can build whatever works best. Compared to creating viable learning content, structuring learning content is a breeze. Get that initial step right, then put it all together with easyDITA.

You can learn more about instructional content development in our documentation.

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Vivek Nanda
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