Big Blue Makes Professional Learning a Priority by Building on Adobe FrameMaker

by Stefan Gentz

posted on 08-21-2019

In the high-tech industry, there’s always something new to learn. As a global leader in technology for over a century, IBM understands the importance of professional development, lifelong learning, and skills training.

The IBM Learning Development team develops hundreds of courses each year to get employees and customers up to speed in artificial intelligence (AI) and IBM Watson, cloud, blockchain, mobile, analytics, security, and other emerging technologies. These courses impart valuable skills and best practices, often straight from the minds of subject matter experts working on the front lines of their respective fields.

As you might imagine, this requires enormous effort on the part of the IBM Learning Development team and the various subject matter experts who provide the content. Adobe FrameMaker has helped streamline this process for almost 20 years—providing a robust platform for managing long, complex documents.

Now, IBM has gone bigger and better with its course development capabilities, drawing from the core features of Adobe FrameMaker and Adobe Acrobat Pro DC with a custom-built solution called Class Author.

“The IBM Class Author solution, used in conjunction with Adobe FrameMaker and Microsoft PowerPoint, produces course material of the highest visual quality,” says Tom Reed, Education Development Manager, IBM Cloud. “In addition, using this product combination increases the productivity of the course developers.”

Professional coursework gets a lesson in productivity and automation

As a key part of the IBM Class Author Solution, Adobe FrameMaker boosts the productivity of course development teams by making crucial tasks easier and faster.

“By automating repetitive, time-consuming tasks with Adobe FrameMaker, IBM cut course content development time by up to 20%,” says Julian Cable, Courseware Tools Specialist and Technical Editor for IBM Learning Development. “Adobe FrameMaker frees course developers to spend more time on content quality and less time on routine formatting.”

For example, the team can generate multiple output formats from a single source of content—no need to maintain separate files for instructors’ guides, student booklets, online materials, and printed handouts.

The solution also centralizes and synchronizes metadata—information such as course descriptions, learning objectives, and agendas. For larger courses, it could take up to two days to update and cross-check this metadata manually, but with Class Author and FrameMaker, the process is largely automated.

Plus, the WYSIWYG editor in Adobe FrameMaker makes it easier to refresh course content. The IBM Learning Development team has extended the value of some courses for up to 10 years simply by updating the look and feel.

IBM can also easily meet accessibility requirements, including those set forth in Section 508 of the U.S. Rehabilitation Act. For instance, the Class Author solution automatically generates alternative text for images, making them accessible to the visually impaired through screen readers.

Building tomorrow’s knowledge base

Ultimately, an investment in faster, higher quality coursework is an investment in the future. As IBM delivers effective technology classes for customers and professional development opportunities for employees, it is building a knowledgeable, well-rounded workforce poised to drive the high-tech industry forward.

As a long-time user of Adobe Technical Communication Suite, including Adobe FrameMaker, IBM is driving tangible improvements on its learning development team. Read more.

Topics: Future of Work

Products: Framemaker