Cherryleaf’s technical writing online training course has been re-accredited by the ISTC

Cherryleaf’s technical author basic/induction training course has been accredited by the Institute of Scientific and Technical Communicators since its launch. This accreditation has to be renewed every few years, which involves having the course is re-assessed by the ISTC’s accreditors. Earlier this year, we submitted the course for renewed accreditation, and we’ve recently received an email informing us the course has been approved again by the ISTC.

The next advanced technical writing course will be on 23rd June

The next public Advanced technical writing & new trends in technical communication classroom course will be held on Thursday 23rd June, at our training centre in central London (WC2R). We’ll be updating the content from last month’s course, to reflect the recent and upcoming developments at Microsoft.

MadWorld 2016 Conference Review – Day One

Last week, I spoke at, and attended, Madworld 2016, the conference hosted by MadCap Software for its users. It’s the most rewarding and enjoyable of all the conferences on technical communication that I attend. Here is a summary of what I saw and heard on the first day.

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Lessons learnt from developing our API documentation course

We’ve written our new training course on documenting APIs, bar the model answers, and it’s now out for review. We’ve learnt a few lessons, and confirmed a few beliefs, whilst developing the course. We thought we’d share them below:

  • Start with the absolute basics. It’s best to assume little or no knowledge of the subject, and start from there. It’s easier to skip or omit those sections, than try to add them in at a later stage.
  • Stick with a single theme for the exercises and examples. One of the challenges we had was to create exercises and examples that take delegates through all the stages of developing API documentation. We decided to base these on an imaginary API for a hospital, and this turned out to be a good choice. It’s meant we can use real world examples from healthcare,  as well as ones we’ve created, during the course.
  • Make the examples visceral. The more you can anchor the exercises into people’s lives and experiences, the more real and meaningful they will be for them.
  • Don’t get sucked into looking at only one tool. There are a number of ways to develop API documentation, and the tools are developing at a rapid pace.
  • Don’t be too ambitious with the exercises.
  • Writers want to write on a training course about documentation, so give them the opportunity to do so.
  • Set realistic expectations regarding coding skills. You can’t teach people how to code in multiple languages in a day, so you need to provide building blocks that they can build upon in the future.

The slide deck now comprises 330 slides, and the test recordings indicate it’s a one day course. We’re still not convinced we have the best title for the course – if you have any suggestions, do let us know.

New course – Planning, writing and managing an API documentation project

We’ve started work on a new training course about planning, writing and managing an API documentation project. Primarily aimed at REST APIs, this will help you to organise, plan, author and control your API documentation. This course is aimed mostly at people who are not developers, and no programming experience will be required.

The exercises are based around an imaginary API for hospital management system, as most people are familiar with what a hospital is, and what happens inside.

We have have completed the presentation, bar a few teaks, and we are now developing the course exercises and answers. The slide deck currently runs to 256 slides, which means this will almost certainly be a two day course.

We think this course is probably best suited to being delivered in a classroom. We may also offer it as a live, web-delivered course using webinar software for teams based outside of the UK. We might develop a recorded e-learning course at some point in the future, but it’s not something you’re likely to see for a while.

For more details, see Documentating APIs – training course.

Should we add an API documentation course to our training roadmap?

One of the factors that influences the development of new training courses is, naturally, the potential level of interest in a  particular course.

If you have any comments on what you’d like to see in a course on planning and writing API documentation, please email us with your thoughts.

April date for our policies and procedures writing course

Our next policies and procedures writing course will be held on Monday 11th April.

Discover how to create clear and effective policies and procedures. This course teaches your staff how to write clear and effective policies and procedures, in a straightforward and efficient way.

Our next advanced technical writing training course will be on 22nd March

We’ve just scheduled another of our Advanced technical writing & new trends in technical communication training courses.

“Discover the advanced new writing styles emerging in technical communication by attending Cherryleaf’s popular training course. Don’t get left behind: past clients include technical communicators from Citrix, GE, IBM UK, Lloyds Banking Group, Sage plc, Schlumberger, Tekla and Visa International.”

It will be held on 22nd March, in central London.