Ideas for a course that's about including the right details in your documentation?

Feb 26, 2015

This is for a course to teach folks how to be compliant with organizational standards for documenting project management decisions (leaving an auditable record).

The desired performance is essentially to include the correct things in the correct document, at the correct stage and the correct level of detail, without over or underspending time. They have a set of standards to reference so there's no memorizing required for performance. Most won't have read the standards though, so I want to use the course to get them to walk through parts of the standards. 

Having a hard time thinking of ideas for how to do this as an elearning exercise because the documents they'll be creating are fairly lengthy and the actual performance involves writing.

Any ideas or cool examples you can throw at me would be an awesome help!

9 Replies
Fiona Macelli

I can't send you the actual standards but they are pdf documents several pages in length. What we're teaching learners to create are also documents, Word format, 3 of them, each with 6-9 sections of text descriptions about their projects.  It is these documents that need to adhere to a set of standards (the pdfs I mentioned) for content and level of detail. 

Hope that's more clear?

Bob S


So reading your question a couple of times, I wonder what you are actually aiming for. Is it....

A) To get them to understand how to use the standard guidance that exists?

B) To get them to adhere to the standard guidance and understand the consequences  of not doing so?

The way to approach each of these may be different. For example, if it's the latter you might wish to employ things like storytelling to illustrate how Jane Doe went off the rails and look what happened to her. If it's the former, then you might consider things like challenge scenarios and guided choices to help the compare in-spec and out-of-spec writing examples.

In any case I might suggest that creating a couple of specific training objectives might help crystalize the options for you. Hope this helps!

Melanie Sobie

One time I had a job that began with an 8 week training course. The job activities were all based on federal and state regulations. The trainer for the course trained us to always do our case work so that anyone else could come behind us and pick up the case and know what was going on. It was a great learning experience in general that has always stuck with me, and I even now document my eLearning project files so that anyone else should be able to pick it up and continue working on it.

Perhaps you could teach many of the skills using scenarios,  Have the learner take the role of a new person in the office who has to take over a project. Show them excerpts of the project and ask them questions. If the excerpt of the project was documented correctly, they will be able to answer the question correctly. If the excerpt of the project was not documented correctly, they will need to identify what information is missing and how it should be correctly documented.


Amy Hagen

Hi Fiona,

I had to explain a legal document to participants one time. I took images of smaller sections and then created a video that used highlights and callouts to emphasize various sections and what the content should look like.

I then used interactions for knowledge checks. I would use the same sections and either do a drag and drop and have them drop the information into the right section or did some multiple choice and fill in the blank questions that related to to particular sections.

For parts that required more narrative, I set up examples and had them identify the best examples, as well as identify corrections for negative examples. I used small buttons (I think with a check mark) that participants clicked on to see the concerns and read the correct response. You could also do hidden buttons where they have to identify the mistakes themselves.

I don't know if those are helpful, our users and the SME's liked the different approaches to the same document because there were varying levels of difficulty within court report (demographic information, rating scales and narrative).

Fiona Macelli

Thanks Bob, my objective is definitely A. Specific training objectives are drafted as follows:


•What’s expected of you as a Project Manager or Project Sponsor
•How to produce the required documentation
•What actions to take and when
•Where to find templates and guidance

There are some areas where scenarios might work, but the objective is not really to show consequences of not following the standard.  I like the idea of comparing in-spec and out-of-spec writing examples though. Thanks for your help!!


Fiona Macelli

Great ideas Melanie, and your perspective of using a "if someone had to take over this project" is a helpful one.

I think showing excerpts and testing to see if they'd hold up under scrutiny is a good idea and quite feasible to do for this project (in this case, the scrutiny would be legal or media-related, most likely rather than from a new employee although that would be valid as well and the more likely/frequent scrutiny anyway).  Thanks!!!


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