Last summer ITIL 2011 was released. When a refresh to the ITIL material is released, the syllabi which the accredited training are based upon often change, which drives the need to update our courseware.
We took this opportunity to not only update our courseware to match the new syllabi, but we also decided to make some significant changes to make the ITIL courseware a more effective learning tool for students. This post describes some of those changes.
First, both the US and UK subject matter experts worked together to ensure that the content was aligned where appropriate and that each team produced content that was a fit for their respective markets. Training and the courseware used is never one size fits all. There are market differences, and as a provider in various markets, we respond to the different needs of those markets. This also allowed both the US and UK teams to benefit from each other’s expertise and to share content. We have a stronger set of products in both markets today because of this exercise.
Second, we decided on a consistent means to present the content required by the syllabus. If you attend one of our ITIL courses you see that we have a clear visual indication of which content is being discussed during the course, as well as exactly where we are within that content. We’ve done this using an innovative technique that both maximizes a limited set of slides, screen real estate, and student guide content, while remaining true to the official syllabus. This results in a clearer and more easily understood presentation of the material, which effectively shifts the learning to practical use of ITIL best practice in a way that supports effective exam preparation.
Third, we completely overhauled the exercises used in each of the courses. Previously we used a case study. The case study was somewhat nebulous, and according to some of the feedback we received, students didn’t feel this was the ideal type of exercise to prepare them for practical application or the exam. We listened, and we changed. The new courses contain very practical exercises that are designed to both reinforce the material while adequately preparing students for the exam. We already heard from some students that the new exercises significantly contributed to their ability to apply the material and prepare for the exam. That is a win-win scenario; while we want to prepare people for the exams, we also recognize that students need to be able to do something practical back at work with the knowledge that they learn.
Finally, one of the issues in general with ITIL is that it’s somewhat wordy. Looking at the various courseware available in the market, you often find PowerPoint slides that are extremely wordy. This wordiness is often distracting, and it impairs students’ ability to comprehend the material. We avoided this by regularly using relevant graphical elements throughout the content. This makes the courseware much easier to understand and ultimately apply. When considered in conjunction with the detail provided in the student guide, instructors are able to more consistently and clearly present the material, and students are able to make better use of the material to achieve their objectives.
Those of us that worked on the courseware project have been exposed over the years to good and bad examples of training materials. We strongly believe that this current version of the ITIL courseware is the best in the North American market.