Redefining the digital experience for creating and collaborating on learning content

By John Lewington

Posted by 08-17-2020

I have been inspired by educators all of my life and the use of technology to improve the ways people can learn, as both my parents are teachers, my wife is a teacher, and my three daughters are in K-12. With this sudden shift away from the classroom in the U.S. and many parts of the globe, those in and around education and learning and development (L&D) say the adoption of online learning may continue to persist post-pandemic. From my personal experience developing enterprise cybersecurity training for the Department of Defense and Homeland Security, balancing the right mix of in-person, online, and just-in-time training can be demanding on any team.

Above are just a few of the folks that contribute to making a successful L&D program. One of the biggest challenges for any L&D team, especially now that teams may be distributed and working remotely, is the ability to manage large digital training content by being able to quickly and efficiently author, edit, collaborate, store, search and retrieve it securely from any location. If this is the case, a learning content management system (LCMS) may help your organization overcome some of the challenges of creating and collaborating on learning content:

  1. Inadequate content sharing and collaboration: Training content is scattered among silos; collaboration is frequently limited to emails or meetings, making editing, story and searching difficult.
  2. No free flow of digital assets and data between enterprise systems and teams: Current solutions cannot be configured to work as needed by most agencies and to integrate with existing attribute-based access control (ABAC) systems to protect data and enable access to authorized users.
  3. Lack of asset discovery and management at scale: Digital training assets are scattered among department-level content silos and file sharing systems; metadata and tagging taxonomies don’t exist; and robust search capabilities are needed. Resource utilization and costs rise as existing content is re-created.
  4. Trying to fit a square peg into a round hole: There are more tools readily available for collaboration, storage, and management among other features; however, they may come at a high cost and complexity of stitching together disparate file-sharing, or team websites, tools, and inefficient workflows.

The rise of content management for learning systems

Adobe has a long history with L&D at both the authoring tool and learning management system (LMS) levels dating back to 1987. Each product in the figure below also offers rich standalone capabilities and is designed to work with third-party tools. However, stand-alone products cannot help organizations manage, curate, and collaborate on images, videos, documents, manuals, and audio clips in a web-based repository allowing for collaborative course development and dissemination.

However, combined with an LCMS, theses natively integrated products can share the content repository, user interface, media library, workflows, projects, user management and more. A Gartner and Forrester Leader, Adobe Experience Manager Asset’s biggest advantage over stitching together another collaboration, file-sharing, team website, and workflow tools is the ability to easily find, access, retrieve, version, and use all digital assets from one single point of entry. Built upon open standards and architecture, Adobe Experience Manager Assets is designed to accept all types of content, categorize that content using rich metadata structures, and present that content in a user-friendly interface based on those metadata structures. These categorizations can be automatically sorted and classified by taxonomies for further discovery, rapid access, and reuse.

Content can be loaded at the file or folder structure level, and Adobe can tie into existing large-scale repositories for content (e.g. SharePoint, Oracle databases, etc.). This capability allows our customers to implement a centralized LCMS without the need for lengthy content migrations and preserves their existing content generation business practices. Adobe Experience Manager Assets is also integrated with Creative Cloud (Photoshop, InDesign, Illustrator, Premiere Pro, and XD). The video below shows how Adobe Experience Manager Assets integrated with Creative Cloud can provide a centralized management and editing capability where changes made to content (acronyms, logos, content owners, etc.) can be configured to propagate to all published content.

Adobe Experience Manager Assets can leverage one master file to auto-generate and publish unlimited versions, changing size, format, resolution, crop, or effect, eliminating the need to pre-create and pre-store countless versions of the same asset for delivery across different screen sizes and devices. By automating this process, not only do content creators dramatically reduce the size (and cost) of their LCMS repository, but they also ensure a consistent, quality experience, regardless of what device or channel it is delivered to by ensuring the right size asset is always delivered to the right-sized experience — automatically. Additionally, other manual, tedious workflows required to deliver experiences can be optimized across devices with capabilities like Smart Crop for image and video, which leverages Adobe Sensei that uses artificial intelligence and machine learning to automatically detect the focal point of an image or video, and crop to that focal point across an unlimited amount of aspect ratios.

In addition to supporting fully on-premise server deployments, Adobe Experience Manager Assets is authorized at FedRAMP Moderate and Department of Defense Cloud Computing System Requirements Guide IL4, used in both the commercial and public sectors by content creators to securely share and collaborate on content using Attribute-Based Access Control (ABAC). When media or course material is ready to publish to an LMS such as Adobe’s Captivate Prime Learning Management System (LMS), content can be upload from Adobe Experience Manager Assets. Assets Share can be used to publish to other resources.

A modern, social learning experience

You may be wondering if I have an LCMS do, I need an LMS? The two are very different. The primary purpose of an LMS is to deliver learning content online, manage activities, and report learner information. In the age of social media, this has been a paradigm shift from strictly managing formal content to allows learners to share their expertise with peers — in the form of web-based or user-generated content posted on topic-based discussion boards. For example, with Captivate Prime LMS, learners interested in similar skills can follow these boards to learn and even contribute to the topic, akin to a social media platform. These interactions can be mined and “voted up” or “voted down” based on the learner’s value judgements of the materials. The system automatically keeps a check on the quality of learner content by approving only those that meet a certain quality score. This is achieved by intelligent scans on the content based on AI & ML algorithms that are powered by Adobe Sensei. Adobe Captivate Prime LMS has an embedded SCORM Engine that allows for both social learning and formal SCORM delivery and tracking. Adobe Experience Manager Assets can store your SCORM packages that are used by an LMS.

Upon turning this feature off, the content then goes through a manual moderation process. Assign subject matter experts as moderators, to review the content posted by learners. Moderators can approve or disapprove the content based on its appropriateness and only the approved ones enter the Social Learning ecosystem. You can also choose to turn off curation completely, opening up the system to all user content. Moderators are awarded points as incentives for acting upon review requests. Properly constructed workflows can allow curated content to become part of the knowledge base by updating and editing the formal training content within Adobe Experience Manager Assets.

Create once and easily publish training everywhere

Besides the online training, many organizations must create and publish training and technical documentation, and standard operating procedures (SOP’s). By using XML Documentation add-on to Adobe Experience Manager as a single source of information, the L&D and other teams can easily share content across guides, further reducing production time. XML Documentation can use the XML files to generate content in Adobe Experience Manager Sites, responsive HTML5, mobile apps, PDF files, EPUB files, Kindle file format, and more. Because Adobe Experience Manager is so flexible, the team can create any kind of site structure and navigation they want and explore new content strategies. L&D can deliver content in new formats as needed to provide customers with the best possible customer experience.

Consistency is very important to the design philosophy of the L&D teams. By making standard operating procedures and training documents, pages, and navigation consistent, the team can help the workforce and customers find the information that they need quickly. Templates in Adobe Experience Manager allow the team to easily maintain a consistent design and improve customer experience. The templates are also in-line with the main LMS, providing the workforce and customers with an even better experience.

Adobe’s commitment

COVID-19 is changing everything about life and work as we know it, and Adobe is committed to assisting customers with the COVID-19 national emergency by helping to enable L&D continuity for the workforce and making those solutions easily deployable. We’re helping organizations, especially those in the public sector, enable training and education for the remote workforce by using the breadth of available technology capabilities to fill service gaps and deliver exceptional content.

Topics: Government, Education, Digital government, Content Management, Content management for government

Products: Experience Manager, Creative Cloud,