“Some years ago we recognised that there would be a move from traditional methods of courseware delivery on printed manuals to digital versions, and we’re now calling the shift,” said Mal Shaw, CEO of DDLS. “Perhaps surprisingly, until recently the majority of training materials and technical content has been produced in hard copy, rather than prepared for digital delivery.”
“We’ve now reached a tipping point where, for many of our courses, over 50% are delivered with digital rather than printed courseware. Not only do students no longer have to carry around printed manuals, but with courseware now readily available online and accessible via the cloud students can login, view and, importantly, search the content anytime and from anywhere.”
With technology evolving at such a rapid rate, the lifecycles of product manuals and guides are reducing. The typical three-year lifecycle of technology change has collapsed as cloud-based solutions reduce the time between software releases. With numerous product updates, a printed manual would not be able to keep up. In this age of cloud, with manuals evolving over time, students could now have the most up-to-date information and resources at their fingertips. Digital content is increasingly expected by the new generation of employees, the digital natives, who are more accustomed to consuming content electronically.
“From our point of view, this is a very important change as it provides agility both for us as training providers and for the students. Product lifecycles are shortening and courses can now be updated appropriately. Technology vendors are publishing with digital and it means that we can keep our courseware as current as possible. Traditional printed courseware restricts agility due to finite layout, production and distribution limitations. Digital content provides more opportunity for the use of colour, rich-media and online collaboration. Cloud-delivered content enables agility and pace, as well as the obvious green benefits of not printing and distributing thousands of manuals.
“We are already delivering digital courseware across many technologies, such as Microsoft, Cisco, Citrix and VMware and are equipping our training facilities to best harness the new courseware. We have deployed Wi-Fi in our 50 classrooms in our six state capital facilities so students are enabled for use of their own devices.
“We are also upgrading our classroom infrastructure to widescreen monitors and in many cases dual monitors, so students can access digital courseware on one, and lab content on the other. Many digital manuals also allow personal annotations, which enables trainers to push training down to a particular manual and pre-prepare notes to specific modules that students can annotate directly to the manual. The move to digital courseware is a great step forward for training and development,” said Shaw.