Enterprise Software Training Curriculum and API inquiry

Hello Friends, 

I am the enablement manager for a start-up software company and I am responsible for creating all the training and support content. I’m struggling to discover and or find any resources in regards to best practices or stellar examples of software training done through Articulate 360.

 The idea is interactive, highly engaging and easy to digest information. The post that we currently have is about two years old so I figured I’d start a new one and see if we get any traction.

additionally, what are some of your experiences with API integration or what are the options. 

Any advice is genuinely appreciated 

 

taylor 

 

 

15 Replies
Holly MacDonald

Hi Taylor - I build software sims, and my approach is usually task-based vs feature based. One of my favorite examples is a super oldy, built in Storyline 1!  http://articulate.demos.s3.amazonaws.com/sales_orientation/story.html - I have always liked the way they approached the software part. Click on the "Sales Admin" job role and you'll see how they treated it. I also like Tom's http://blogs.articulate.com/rapid-elearning/create-interactive-course-using-single-image/ - not specifically for software, but I could easily see it working for some types of software. 

Best practices for software training - that's a good topic idea! Feel free to reach out and maybe we can collaborate on an article and do some research together?

Jane Lavineway

Thank you, Holly. I appreciate your help. I like the concept of creating
an interactive course with a single image. I had a similar idea in mind.
I tried to run the sales job course but was not able to select the Sales
Admin role. The only hotspot on the page was to turn off the lights. Is
there something I have to install to run this course?

Jane

Jane Lavineway

Thanks Allison,

Those are great examples of software courses. The task I am teaching is how
to integrate API calls into a C source code file. There is no graphical
user interface. It is based on C programming API function calls. There is
some overview information that has to be taught before the API workflow.
I'm trying to figure out how to make it interactive.

Jane

Jane Lavineway

Hi Allison,

I can't send a screencast, unfortunately. What I would capture and send,
if I could, would be source code for a sample application in an editor.
The user would then follow these steps:

1. Include 3 header files to the top of the file
2. Add new variables that will be used as API function parameters
3. Add code to assign values to the new variables
4. Decide where to add the API calls
5. Add API calls in a specific order
6. Possibly add code to handle errors (unless we decide to leave this
out for simplicity)

This would serve as a simple example, but actual user code could be much
more complex when they actually integrate our API.

Before the user can make the code change, they need to understand

- The service they are integrating
- what the API does
- use cases for using the API
- key concepts
- how the API fits into the architecture of the service

Holly MacDonald

Jane - here's how I would approach your course:

Use hotspots on where they'd enter the code (you could use whatever editor you like - notepad ++ or Atom or Sublime... When they click on the hotspot, then they can do a data entry field

If they enter the variables and code correctly, then they'd get confirmation feedback with context. If not, you could offer them a hint or other way to nudge them along.

You could then jump to a point where the API calls are already displayed (#5) and allow them to move the code into the right order, giving you a chance to give feedback.

You can also use multiple choice questions for #6. e.g "Now that we've got the API call set up, which code would you add to handle errors?"

You don't have to follow all the steps in a sim, you can do some data entry, and sprinkle in other things that give you an opportunity to add context and instructional feedback. 

Hope that helps, let me know if I can help further!

Taylor Goldsberry

Hey, this post picked up! 

So after a year of trial and error... lots of error. Here is what I /we have found the most effective for our training and KB content. 

Tool Kit:

  1. Camtasia - Training Videos and GIFs
  2. SnagIT - Image callouts, and standardized
  3. Articulate - Course and interactive content creation.
  4. Adobe Suite - High-end Visuals, Corporate Videos, Motion Graphics, Vector Art, marketing icons, etc.
  5. Google Suite - Document creation and hosting
  6. Zen Desk Support and Guide - Ticketing system and our Knowledge Base
  7. Amazon S3 - used as our LMS rather than paying someone else to do it.
  8. Document all application features and functions. Clear, quick, and zero fluff.
  9. PowerPoint  - Decks, Splash Screens, Titles, Shapes, Icons, etc
  10. Google Analytics

Process:

Goal: Self-service training structure to mitigate the need for additional support engagement and most importantly drive adoption. 

  1. Create a project charter to identify needs and priority.
  2. Establish a "review group," which is made up of team members from all departments.
  3. Create Style Guides for articles and visual content such as videos, graphics, GIFS, images.
  4. Create a Language Style guide. In my experience, I found that creating a document of common generic phrases my team can leverage rather than having to create original text for each article, which can lead to lack of consistency and missed information.
  5. Set realistic weekly goals to approve and publish content. We did ten articles per week.
  6. Publish Articles into KB. 
  7. Based on engagement metrics produced via GA we can see where our customers are searching, clicking, and engaging with the most. We then correlate that with the specific customer's usage metrics within the application itself, which allows us to address customer needs with data, rather than assumption. 
  8. Based on the needs assessment we create content to support.
    1. Videos: "tell the story." We use videos to tie everything we provide within the KB and through our training sessions. Think of best practices, pro-tips, Power User.
    2. GIFS: Multi-step functions.
    3. Numbered Graphics: Image with numbered callouts to indicate steps. e.g., access profile. If the feature/function has more than three (3) actions, we will use a GIF.
    4. Graphics: For clearly explaining workflows, hierarchies, processes.
  9. Rinse and Repeat. 

Tips:

  1. Always document which articles have visual content within them and keep that content in a backup folder.  If not you are SOL when there is a brand/product update resulting in an overhaul of the KB.
  2. For creating visual content, there must be three use cases for the time to be well spent. One-off content is a no-no and not scaleable.
  3. "I Don't like this" is not feedback.
  4. Don't reinvent the wheel. 
  5. Marathon, not a sprint.
  6. Developers will never think like a customer.
  7. Consistency is KEY.
  8. Well kept KB can act as both an internal and external training ground for new hires and new customers. 
  9. Keep it at a 3rd-grade reading level. I always ask "would my grandma understand this?"
  10. Always ask yourself, how would I want to learn this information?
  11. Words matter. Jargon is for the birds; knowledge articles and training are not a platform to showcase how brilliant we are. 
That is all the time I have for now, but I love this dialogue and happy to answer any questions directly. Please excuse any typos I am in the air (bored).
 
Taylor-Christian
Laura Middlesworth

Thank you, Taylor, for the OP and your recent follow up post with tools, processes and tips! I am a fan of transparency and sharing how we do things with one another. My favorite piece of wisdom from what you shared is: "knowledge articles and training are not a platform to showcase how brilliant we are." This is so true - and so important to keep in mind for those of us creating software / systems training.