Business Processes 3 of 6: Which Business Processes Exist in Educational Technology and Technical Communication Groups?

Business processes exist in organizations besides grocery stores—including educational technology and technical communication groups.

This section briefly describes the business processes used in these types of groups, including business processes for groups that:

  • Design and develop content (including instructional design, curriculum development, and technical communication groups)
  • Deliver content (including administering classroom training courses and supporting online learning)
  • Provide technology services (such as educational technology support groups)

Business Processes Used by Groups That Design and Develop Content

Groups that design and develop content typically develop instructional programs, documentation, and similar material.  Sometimes this content is intended for use within the organization, such as new employee orientation courses, policies and procedures guides, and employee news.  Sometimes, this content is intended for use outside of the organization, such as new product training programs, books and courses produced for sale, the help and other user assistance material shipped with products, and scientific and technical reports.

Despite the variety in the uses and topics of the content, as well as the audiences served, the processes for designing and developing content are remarkably similar throughout the industry as most follow a generic design process, which starts with some sort of analysis and conclude with the delivery of a finished product.

Specific business processes involved in designing and developing content include those in Table 1.  Note that, although the list is intended to be comprehensive, it is not necessarily exhaustive.  That is, it might overlook some processes followed in some organizations.

Table 1: Processes Used in Designing and Developing Content

Process Purpose Participants
Receiving the request for an assignment Meet with the executive stakeholders to learn about a proposed project and determine afterwards whom to assign and what deadlines to associate with it SponsorOmbudsperson

Manager (project or personnel, or both)

Starting an assignment The manager (project or personnel) transfers the details about the project to the primary designer(s) and communicator(s)s assigned to work on it so that work can start.   At the end of the process, the parties agree to  a Memorandum of Understanding or similar document that outlines the key details of the project such as its purpose, audience, not-to-exceed budget, drop-dead deadline, and other requirements. Manager (project or personnel, or both)Designer

Communicator

Editor

Others as needed

Conducting a needs assessment The designer(s) and communicator(s) working on the project collect information from stakeholders, published material, and other sources to define the problem that the completed project must address.  At the end of the process, the sponsor approves a report of the needs assessment prepared by designer(s) or communicator(s). Designer or communicatorProject manager

Ombudsperson

Subject Matter Expert(s) (SMEs)

Users (learners)

 

Designing the project The designer(s) or communicator(s) determines what to communicate, the order in which the content is communicated, strategies for doing so (called teaching strategies in instructional content), medium of delivery, and prepares sample sections.  In some instances, the designer(s) or communicator(s) solicit feedback from users and other stakeholders and revise designs to reflect that feedback.  At the end of the process, the sponsor approves formally documented design plans. Designer or communicatorGraphic designer

Project manager

Ombudsperson

SMEs

Users (learners)

 

Drafting the project The designer(s) or communicator(s) prepare the content, including writing passages and preparing illustrations.  At the end of the process, representatives of the sponsor receive a draft of the content to review. Designer or communicatorGraphic designer

Illustrator

Project manager

Ombudsperson

SME

 

Conducting reviews People check the draft content.  Representatives of the sponsor verify the completeness and accuracy of the content; editors and other content specialists check the clarity and conciseness of the content.  At the end of the process, the designer(s) or communicator(s) explain to these stakeholders how the comments will be addressed. Designer or communicatorEditor

Project manager

Ombudsperson

SMEs

Users (learners)

 

Revising the project Designer(s) or communicator(s) incorporate the promised changes into the draft and return it to stakeholders so they can verify that the changes have been made. At the end of the process, sponsors approve publishing the content. Designer or communicatorEditor

Graphic designer

Illustrator

Project manager

 

Managing changes during the project To minimize the impact and expense of unnecessary last-minute changes, many organizations have a formal process for requesting and approving such changes.
Producing the project After completing the last changes, designer(s) or communicator(s) prepare the content for publication.  Such preparations involve copyediting, producing video and audio sequences, preparing material for publication on the web, a mobile device, or in print, and applying for copyright (if needed).  Complete production processes often include formal processes for assuring the quality of the product and that no bad links or missing buttons exist.  At the end of the process, the content is ready for formal publication. Designer or communicatorEditor

Graphic designer

Project manager

Production personnel

 

Distributing the content The content is made available to its intended users.  In some instances, this involves printing materials and shipping them to users.  In other cases, it involves transferring content from a private web location to one that is accessible to all users. Project managerAdministrator

Designer or communicator

Keeping records during a project A design and development process produces countless documents, such as plans, drafts, reviews, and status reports.  This type of process specifies which documents to keep, how and where to store them, who has access to them, and when to destroy the records. Designer or communicatorProject manager
Concluding a project (also called a post-mortem) One of the best ways to prepare for future projects is by learning from recently completed ones.  This process formally documents how to end projects and learn lessons from them. All parties

Business Processes Used by Groups That Deliver Content

In addition to designing and developing content, many educational technologists, trainers, and technical communicators have responsibility for delivering the content to its intended users.

Specific business processes involved in delivering content include those in Table 2.  Note that, although the list is intended to be comprehensive, it is not necessarily exhaustive.  That is, it might overlook some processes followed in some organizations.

Table 2: Processes Used in Delivering Content

Process Purpose Participants
For educational technologists
Promoting curricula and courses Inform prospective learners and their managers about learning opportunities available to them, so that they enroll in courses and complete series of related courses.  Involves publication of catalogs,  websites and, perhaps, promotional applications, as well as other promotional activities, such as publishing press releases and advertisements. Personnel managerProject manager

Instructional designers

Instructors

Marketing specialists

Enrolling students in courses Through either face-to-face contact, telephone contact, chat, or self-service online facilities, add a person’s name to the student list for a class, accept payment, provide confirmation, and update the list of students in a course.  This process might also involve making travel, lodging, and ground transportation arrangements for visitors. AdministratorLearners
Preparing for a virtual or face-to-face class session Make sure that classrooms (virtual or face-to-face), instructors, and learners are ready for a class.  For instructor, this involves collecting room setup requirements, printing handouts, and ensuring that any pre-class setup for activities is handled.  For virtual class sessions, this usually includes a rehearsal with the instructor, too.  For learners, this involves sending confirmations, providing instructions on the class location and times, and providing students with pre-class readings and travel instructions (if needed) and sign-on instructions (for virtual sessions only). AdministratorInstructor

Learners

Operating a virtual or face-to-face class session Ensure that both the instructor and students have a satisfactory learning experience.  In terms of the instructor, this involves providing technical support for labs and virtual class sessions (if needed).  For learners, this involves providing technical support for virtual class sessions (if needed) as well concierge services for learners visiting from out of town. AdministratorInstructor

Information Technology

Completing a classroom session Update records about the class to indicate that learners have (or have not) completed the course and that the classroom is returned to its pre-class state. AdministratorInstructor
Supporting learners in an asynchronous course Provide learners with both the tutorial and technical support needed to complete an asynchronous online course.  Tutorial support involves answering questions about the course, and contacting learners to make sure that someone is aware that they have registered for the course and encourage them to complete it.  Technical support refers to problems with the operation of the course content. InstructorAdministrator

Tutor

Information Technology

Maintaining courses Make sure that course content remains up-to-date and free of errors.  This usually involves receiving feedback about technical and other errors or clarifications in particular passages, determining whether the proposed changes are appropriate, and updating the content.  In the end, this may require minor revisions to particular passages in the content, which are typically published immediately for online content and at the next scheduled printing of workbooks, and the next scheduled teaching of virtual and face-to-face courses. Project managerInstructional designer

Instructor

Learners

Promoting the services of the instructional group Inform current and prospective sponsors about the services provided in the past, and the capabilities of the future.  This is an ongoing effort to maintain the visibility of the instructional group to its sponsors and to influence the expectations of sponsors. Personnel managerProject manager

Ombudsperson

Executive sponsor

With assistance from instructional designers and instructors

Compiling evaluations Report the results of evaluations of instructional programs, such as reaction evaluations, learning assessments, and assessments of transfer.  Involves conducting evaluations (directly or through others), recording, compiling, and analyzing the results, preparing a report and distributing it to stakeholders. Personnel managerProject manager

Educational evaluator

Executive sponsor

Ombudsperson

For Technical Communicators
Distributing content Move content from the technical communicator to the user. If the content is available online, this primarily involves moving content from a test to a production server, and announcing its availability.  If the content is available in print or on disc, this involves duplicating and packaging the content and shipping it to users. In the end, the user can read or view the materials. Technical communicatorManager

Administrator

Information Technology staff

Vendors

Maintaining content Make sure that the content remains up-to-date and free of errors.  This usually involves receiving feedback about technical and other errors or clarifications in particular passages, determining whether the proposed changes are appropriate, and updating the content.  In the end, this may require minor revisions to particular passages in the content, which are typically published immediately for online content and at the next scheduled printing for content published in print or on disc. Technical communicatorUsers
Promoting the services of the organization Inform current and prospective sponsors about the services provided in the past, and the capabilities of the future.  This is an ongoing effort to maintain the visibility of the technical communication group to its sponsors and to influence the expectations of sponsors. Personnel managerProject manager

Ombudsperson

Executive sponsor

With assistance from technical communicators

Compiling evaluations Report the results of evaluations of content, such as usability tests and web analytics.  Involves conducting evaluations (directly or through others), recording, compiling, and analyzing the results, preparing a report and distributing it to stakeholders. Personnel managerProject manager

Usability expert or similar evaluation expert

Executive sponsor

Ombudsperson

Business Processes Used by Groups That Provide Technology Services

Educational technology groups that provide technology services generally assist staff with buying and using technology, and are responsible for resolving problems that arise when using technology.

Despite the variety in the uses and topics of the content, as well as the audiences served, the processes for designing and developing content are remarkably similar throughout the industry as most follow a generic design process, which starts with some sort of analysis and conclude with the delivery of a finished product.

Specific business processes involved in providing technology services include those in Table 3.  Note that, although the list is intended to be comprehensive, it is not necessarily exhaustive.  That is, it might overlook some processes followed in some organizations.

Table 3: Processes Used in Providing Technology Services

Process Purpose Participants
Providing ongoing support for software Help users chose and use the software that addresses their needs with a minimum of challenges.  Involves consulting with users, recommending software, helping users install and customize the software, helping users become more efficient and effective using the software, addressing problems that arise while using the software, recommending upgrades, and making sure that the software is properly licensed and backed up.  This is an ongoing process. Technology coordinatorTechnology assistant (if any)

Administrators

Managers

Staff (teachers, instructional designers, and others)

Software publishers or suppliers

Purchasing agent from within the organization (if any)

Providing ongoing support for audiovisual equipment Help users chose and use the audiovisual equipment that addresses their needs with a minimum of challenges.  Involves consulting with users, recommending equipment, providing a means for users to reserve equipment and pick it up, helping users set up and operate the equipment, and addressing problems that arise while using the equipment.  Also involves storing and performing regular maintenance on the equipment, and protecting it from theft. This is an ongoing process. Technology coordinatorTechnology assistant (if any)

Administrators

Managers

Staff (teachers, instructional designers, and others)

Software publishers or suppliers

Purchasing agent from within the organization (if any)

Providing ongoing support for computer hardware and mobile devices Help users chose and use the devices that addresses their needs with a minimum of challenges.  Involves consulting with users, recommending devices, helping users install and customize the devices, helping users become more efficient and effective using the devices, and addressing problems that arise while using the devices.  Also involves interactions with any service providers (such as mobile telephone companies) and negotiating contracts.   This is an ongoing process. Technology coordinatorTechnology assistant (if any)

Administrators

Managers

Staff (teachers, instructional designers, and others)

Software publishers or suppliers

Purchasing agent from within the organization (if any)

Inventorying equipment and software Keeping track of all equipment and software owned by the organization.  Involves logging in new equipment and software and recording serial numbers for each, assigning it permanently or temporarily to workers in the group, making sure that equipment and software is where it’s supposed to be, and collecting equipment and software when it is no longer needed, appropriately disposing of it, and recording the change in status.   The process results in a complete, accurate and timely record of all equipment and software owned by the organization. Technology coordinatorTechnology assistant (if any)

Administrators

Managers

Purchasing agent from within the organization (if any)

Recommending purchases  Working with administrators, management, and other workers to research and recommend purchases of equipment, including providing budgets.  The process results in a purchasing recommendation. Technology coordinatorAdministrators

Managers

Staff (teachers, instructional designers, and others)

Software publishers or suppliers

Purchasing agent from within the organization (if any)

Training users Helping users develop the skills needed to integrate the technology into their work, such as integrating technology into teaching.  The process results in the use of the technology within the context of work. Technology coordinatorStaff (teachers, instructional designers, and others)

 

For guidance in planning one of these or other business processes, see the Template for Planning or Improving a Business Process elsewhere in this website.

© Copyright 2012. Saul Carliner. All rights reserved.  If sharing or excerpting, should be properly cited.

Advertisements

About idmodelsandprocesses

Exploring, reporting, teaching, and advising on learning and communication for the workplace and consumers. saulcarliner.wordpress.com
This entry was posted in Business Basics. Bookmark the permalink.

Please add to the conversation.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s