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Selecting the Right Approach: Documentation, Training, or Both?

Contiem | April 13, 2022

When a company recognizes the need for some kind of documentation or training—perhaps certain jobs require specific knowledge or skills, new products have been developed, technical support calls have increased, regulations have changed, new software or tools are being implemented, or organizational changes are planned—it can be a challenge to determine the best documentation and training solution. Such decisions should include weighing key factors: goals, users, information type, industry, and circumstances.

Contiem works with companies to devise the most effective approach.

Documentation and Training are complementary tools that work together. The right solution might be a combination of documentation and training to address the goals and challenges of the situation.

Documentation is appropriate for providing on-demand, task-based information to which people can refer whenever they need immediate help getting something done, such as running a report. Intended to provide facts that answer specific questions, individual chunks of information are best kept small for ease of use. The developer can configure topics to provide options for users to navigate on their own to find information they need efficiently. Documentation is utilized as an encyclopedia, textbook, or search engine might be used, and it should be available all the time.

Training is appropriate for building knowledge and skills, particularly around transitional times, such as during platform upgrades, organizational changes, onboarding, or skill advancement. It is intended to promote measurable learning that improves capabilities, providing context to answer when and why tasks should be performed. Training programs might use chunks of documentation, but the context is clarified by adding a focus on concepts and relationships among tasks. Well-designed training includes knowledge checks, assessments, and feedback to ensure learners are comprehending the material and receiving validation of learning success. Training is developed with a specific starting point, follows a specific path, and is used during a specific time period.

It is a best practice to establish suitable documentation before exploring training options, but keep in mind that documentation and training should be complementary tools working together. The right solution might be a combination of documentation and training to address the goals and challenges of the situation.

At Contiem, content development and content management is what we do. We take the time to engage with our clients’ stakeholders and subject matter experts to understand their business needs. We ask questions, listen, learn, and explore options that make sense for our clients. Our solution architects, technical writers, courseware developers, technical illustrators, and project managers have worked across many industries, approaches, and tools. From software platforms to industrial processes to consumer products to financial applications (and everything in-between) we have developed effective documentation and training that meets our clients’ needs, often while reducing costs.

Contact us to find out how we can design a solution that makes sense for your business.