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Semantic, Structured Authoring


Semantic, Structured Authoring is an important concept in writing content for the web.

Semantic authoring has been defined as "to compose information content semantically structured according to some ontology". (If you've never encountered the word ontology before, the dictionary defines it as "the branch of philosophy concerned with the nature of being".) A much better explanation of semantic authoring is "knowledge markup". Simple tags such as <policy> aren't the only way in which knowledge is categorised, indexed and labelled within XML. Tags can contain attributes (such as the id attribute in <section id="upg11">), and metadata can be stored in tags separate from the content itself (such as <author><firstname>Tony</firstname><surname>Self</surname></author>).

The most common semantic markup languages for documentation are DocBook and the Darwin Information Typing Architecture (DITA). DITA specifies a number of topic types, such as Task, Concept and Reference.

Within DITA, a Task topic is intended for a procedure describing how to accomplish a task; lists a series of steps that users follow to produce a specified outcome; identifies who does what, when, where and how . A Reference topic is for topics that describe command syntax, programming instructions, other reference material; usually detailed, factual material .

In Coherence Group��s business, writing structured content is important because we combine knoweldge, learning and software development in to performance support tools so that knowledge workers can avoid the integrative effort of putting this content together themselves.

Lean approaches to Software Development

This is a great little presentation on Lean Software development.  It clearly shows where  waste creeps into the development process and demonstrates how a lean approach can accelerate applications that meet customer requirements.

Knowledge Management Strategy

Making decisions about a knowledge management strategy that will deliver improved sales, innovation or delivery performance requires an appreciation of the value that can be created by this kind of improvement initiative.  Companies frequently diminish the value by arguing about what knowledge managment is or is not.  Knowledge sharing that produces business results is ineluctably tied to business process.  In fact, I would assert that knowledge management has no real relevance outside of business process.

To improve the performance of a process you need to understand the individual worksteps plus the information and skills that are required to be execute effectively.  Ask yourself: Is all the information required to do the job provisioned to the employee or do they have to do research in order to complete the task?  If research is required, are their job aids that can help them accomplish the task?  Is training available for people who don't have enough experience.  Knowledge Management seeks to provision the employee with all the information, content, perspective, and learning required to create value.  Mapping critical content to a business process enables knowledge workers to increase productivity and improve the quality of their work.

At Coherence Group we combine access to knowledge, learning and methods  to enable knowledge workers.  This requires adjustment to some business processes. It also requires an implementation of electronic support systems that help get employees find and apply the information they need to effectively execute their jobs.

Coherence Group Service Partners

I have created a new page on the site that highlights and links to the service partners that I work with to deliver high value solutions to clients.  Each of the firms has a unique service offering that complements the capabilities of Coherence Group and allows us to provide a broad range of services, from market research to bespoke software development.  The objective for these alliance relationships is to provide a process and technology platform for knowledge, learning, and methods in your company. 

Visualization of a Learning Community

Here is an unusually rich picture of a learning community which was presented in the Learning Circuts Blog. Click through for a larger image.


ELearning mind map

One of the biggest challenges in discussing elearning arises from different understandings of the field. Most often, we attach our experiences and career to our conversations, presenting an image of elearning that reflects what we have encountered. For an instructional designer, elearning often means courses or learning materials directed at meeting an objective within the larger scope of program development. A corporate trainer may view elearning as a combination of courses and knowledge management. No one perspective is symbolic of the whole industry.

[Edu RSS Search Results]

Why the sudden interest in Exec Ed programs, in particular for custom developed learning events? Overall, according to Business Week, business schools are reporting increases of 20 to 30% over the previous year. Some schools with strategy and leadership expertise are reporting an increase of 90 to 120%. What is it about the current business climate that is inspiring company executives to allocate resources to this type of learning program? What is motivating the change?

I really do want the help of the community here. Understanding the route cause will help me to propose learning solutons to my clients.

Thanks for your help

Usability Test Data Logger

This is a great set of materials and instructions for collecting data on usability. I am doing User Experience design now and will move on to testing soon. I'll try this tool and let people know the results.

Todd Zazelenchuk has developed a usability test data logger, a customised spreadsheet for recording and presenting the results of usability tests. To quote:

Most people use Microsoft Excel to analyse the results of usability tests, but did you know you can use it to collect the data too? This spreadsheet allows you to measure task completion rates, analyse questionnaire data, and summarise participant comments. It even includes a timer so you can measure time-on-task.

[Thanks to the eGovernment Resource Centre.]

[Column Two]

What is Workflow Learning?

In this article that appeared today in eLearn Magazine, I attempt to explain the concept of workflow learning. What is Workflow Learning? By Jay Cross, Managing Director, Workflow Institute A buff venture capitalist in a designer suit steps into my elevator. Soon she asks, “Workflow...

[Internet Time Blog]

Active Listening (and Reading)

I have been thinking a lot about active listening (and reading) and how it relates toLinda Stone's discussion of continuous partial attention. Jon Porcaro's recent post on the subject explains how he systematically reads blogs and follows up on conversations that emerge; noting his epithanies. Clearly, one of the most important things for me is to do the same, but to also time box the discovery process; it can be an incredible time waster. You must also need time to stop to think about the ideas that you have assimilated or ignored, reflecting on what patterns have emerged and how your interests have changed.

Some good advice about how to be more intentional and mindful in your information gathering and analysis. Apropos of that, let me point, once again, to Ellen Langer's excellent work on Mindfulness and The Power of Mindful Learning. You might also want to take a look at the late Don Schon's The Reflective Practitioner.

Active Listening (and Reading). Piers Young wrote a post called Listening and Anecdotes. Something he said made me realize that getting great advice is one thing, actively thinking about it and doing something with it is something else! He quotes one of the pieces... [John Porcaro: mktg@msft]

[McGee's Musings]

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