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Arcitura Custom Courseware Methodology

Step 1. Client Customization Requirements Analysis

Throughout a series of initial phone calls, e-mail exchanges and/or on-site meetings, Arcitura performs a requirements analysis of the client’s courseware customization needs and goals. During this stage, the scope of the customization effort is defined, along with any required deliverables and target dates. A definition as to the nature of the required customization effort is further achieved in collaboration with the client. For example, any existing specifications or documents that the client would like to incorporate into the courseware or have positioned as supplements that are referenced from within existing course materials are identified. Should there be the need to develop custom content for a course from scratch, content is then defined separately and organized into its own courseware development project plan.

Step 2. Definition of Customization Project Deliverables Specification and Creation of Customization Project Plan

Based on the results produced by Step 1, the preferred scope of the customization project is defined in a Customization Project Deliverables Specification. Each new or augmented courseware-related document is listed and further accompanied by detailed descriptions of the identified new or changed content, including any interdependencies between existing or planned course documents. Arcitura works collaboratively with the client to determine which members of Arcitura or the client organization will be responsible for contributing to each deliverable. The division of responsibilities is clearly defined, along with time and cost estimates. This specification is concluded with a table that summarizes and prioritizes the deliverables, and provides sub-totals and a grand total of the time and cost of the project.

The information from the Project Deliverables Specification acts as input for the Customization Project Plan, which factors practical considerations, such as client training program scheduling and budgetary requirements, into the preferred deliverables and their respective priority ranking. Other factors include collaboration logistics, such as whether planned collaboration can occur remotely or whether on-site meetings between Arcitura and client staff are required. Additionally, if some of the deliverables being used or created are considered highly confidential, special clearance by Arcitura staff or separate non-disclosure agreements may need to be incorporated into the plan.

Depending on the client’s goals, the definition of a project plan for customization deliverables may result in the need to adjust the scope of the preferred customization deliverables, or to perhaps split the initial customization project into two or more phases. Furthermore, it may be necessary to assign stakeholders or signatories to approve and/or sign-off on deliverables upon completion.

Note that both documents (the Customization Project Deliverables Specification and the Customization Project Plan) will continue to be used subsequent to this step. The Customization Project Plan establishes the timeline, budgets, and detailed participant contribution schedules of individual deliverables. The Customization Project Plan refers back to the Project Deliverables Specification for the actual descriptions of the individual deliverables. Note also that adjustments to the project scope resulting from the definition of the Customization Project Plan can impact the description, contributor selection, and/or costs of the deliverables listed in the Project Deliverables Specification.

Step 3. Customization Project Commencement

The project can proceed once the Customization Project Deliverables Specification and Customization Project Plan have received the required approval and the necessary paperwork is in place. Further adjustments to the Project Deliverables Specification and Customization Project Plan may be made, especially if client schedules or priorities change or if some deliverables take more or less time to complete than originally estimated.

Step 4. Customized Deliverables Review and Approval Request

Upon completion of individual or sets of related customized courseware deliverables, formal review and approval by designated reviewers, stakeholders, and/or signatories is generally sought to ensure that the changed or new course documents fulfill all requirements and meet expectations. This step may occur a number of times within a given courseware customization project, depending on how the Customization Project Plan schedules the release of customized deliverables.

Step 5. Customized Deliverables Usage and Feedback

Each customized deliverable that has been successfully reviewed and approved becomes available for use within a training workshop. If the designated Certified Trainer for the workshop was not part of the customization development process, then one or more preparatory sessions are scheduled in advance of the workshop to allow the trainer to become intimately familiar with the changed or new materials and to provide the trainer with sufficient advance time to prepare the appropriate workshop delivery approach. Furthermore, all trainers who will be working with the customized deliverables are required to complete a dedicated feedback questionnaire subsequent to each workshop in order to document any comments or improvement suggestions based on their experience of using and teaching with the customized deliverables. A new feedback form (separate from the standard workshop feedback form) can also be distributed to the workshop participants to request further comments on the customized deliverables. This may be especially appropriate if participants are required to work hands on with the deliverables during the class (as opposed to deliverables that may be provided for general reference purposes).

Step 6. Feedback Assessment and Improvement Identification

Based on the feedback collected in the preceding step, Arcitura and client staff can assess whether any further enhancements are required to make the customized deliverables more effective in relation to the client’s requirements and goals. If significant changes are necessary, a given customized deliverable may need to undergo a repeat cycle of redevelopment, review, and approval. Any positive feedback that is collected can assist Arcitura and client staff in validating and rating the success of the Customization Project.

Step 7. Governance and Evolution of Customized Deliverables

Depending on the nature of the individually developed customized deliverables, it may be necessary to establish a system for the on-going maintenance of customized content. This may be of particular importance for customized deliverables that have interdependencies on each other, or for those that have direct dependencies on vanilla courseware. A governance and maintenance system can ensure continuous alignment of vanilla and customized content by providing maintenance steps that keep content in sync and current. The responsibilities that fall under this step are ideally assigned to an individual or group that is designated as the Customized Deliverables Custodian.