Content Management Governance Policies
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Content Management Governance Policies

Content can be defined as the core of an LMS or, in simpler terms, it is the product (learning) by which the users access the Learning Management System. There are different types of content, like eLearning, videos, PDFs, Word documents, presentation decks, thought papers, webinars, podcasts, case studies, simulations, and Instructor-Led trainings.

It is extremely essential to manage the content effectively as it provides several benefits to the organization and the users (managers, instructors, admins, and learners). The key highlights of having an efficient governance mechanism for content management are listed below:

  • Enhanced User Experience: easy-to-use catalog, search, and content access
  • Learning management configuration: ensures effective content delivery
  • Facilitates tracking and reporting (i.e., timely, accurate information)
  • Easier access and more efficient administration

The below section talks about the key governance policies for "content" within an LMS under 4 key areas: naming conventions, content creation template, business curriculum and assessment, source code repository and audit.

1. Naming Conventions

Central to any content management system within an organization is the consistency of naming conventions. Naming standards need to be defined and documented for enterprise implementation. Adherence to clear naming conventions, structure, and standards ensures that learning objects, various types of courses, and materials are easily and efficiently identified, as it will provide consistent access to the right materials and courses for the learners.

It needs to be understood that the development of an enterprise-wide naming convention for use within an LMS requires a shared buy-in and commitment from business stakeholders, who direct the creation of learning content, as well as the LMS administrator, manager, and others.

The best practice within the naming convention involves having a user-friendly and descriptive title; it is recommended to avoid abbreviations, symbols, and acronyms. Every "learning content" should have version history, date, an audience for which it was created, and the content owner. In summary, the content should follow a uniform naming pattern across the organization with the inclusion of business units.

2. Content Creation Template

The consistency of metadata fields, which impacts learner search and reporting, needs to be supplied by business units requesting the training content creation so that we can have an optimized search and a well-maintained catalog. A uniform content creation template is recommended to be built and it should be accessible across the enterprise.

The course creation template can be a webform so that stakeholders are able to provide all necessary details of the learning content required in the LMS and learning catalog. The content creation template should have the following fields captured: title, description, duration, business domain, learning audience availability, course owner, business owner, course code, notification details, keywords, provider/vendor, test or evaluation, and business approval.

The process for a course to be made available to the learners needs to go through various stages:

  • Business unit requesting the course
  • Business unit completing the course creation template
  • Learning admin team receiving and reviewing the request
  • Learning admin team validating the course content in a QA environment
  • Learning admin team requesting the business owner to validate the course in QA and provide their approval
  • Business owner validating and providing approval
  • Learning admin team uploading the content in production and making it available for the learners

In summary, a well-defined content creation template will support search, access, monitor consumption, and the reporting of information regarding each learning object/course.

3. Business Curriculum And Assessment

In general, the users are required to take a combination of courses, learnings, and trainings in order for them to be certified; these become the business curriculums for an organization. When defining the governance around business curriculum, it is essential to include and document all the learning objects, pre-requisites, post requisites, equivalencies, the time period to complete, expiry and renewal dates, business rules, credits, notifications, audience availability, and providers.

The business units should create a request to the learning admin team to build these business curriculums and it should go through the process of validation in QA business approvals before pushed to the production environment.

Any learning needs to have an assessment process to measure the effectiveness and impact of the training material. Governance needs to be established to measure how the training was received by learners, as it can be used to improve the content, venue, presentation, and material for future events and training.

In summary, if it is online learning, we need to asses the value of training content and impact on learners; and, if it is Instructor-Led, then we need to focus on the value of training content, impact on learners, presentation by instructors, and the quality of the venue.

4. Source Code Repository And Audit

There should be a central repository for a learning source file as well as the completed “golden” packages. This will decrease the risk of loss of data and content integrity, as well as provide a well-maintained, curated content library.

With a central repository, business stakeholders are protected from data and content loss if a personal computer or shared resource become inaccessible. This decreases the risk and also provides proficient access for legal requests in case of litigation.

Once the course is live in production, it is important that business stakeholders and content owners edit and review their content annually or periodically. The audit review process becomes imperative as it impacts the integrity of the content. Governance needs to be established on the frequency of the audit process. Retire any content that is outdated and no longer needs to be made available to learners post review of content utilization/access.

In summary, a well-defined audit process will ensure versioning, retirement, and a clean content repository along with the golden copy of the content.

Conclusion

Content within an LMS is not just the responsibility of the content developers or creators, it is also the responsibility of the learning admin team, business stakeholders, managers, and testers as the governance policies revolve around everybody; everybody in the learning chain needs to take action for well-defined, operational content management within a Learning Management System. In summary, governance around content starts with the content name and ends with content audit, like the way the palindrome word "civic" starts with a C and ends with C; it's all about content.

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