At a glance

GovCMS, Drupal
Federal government
Discovery & strategy, Design & user research, Technical advisory, Content & training
GovTech, Civic tech, Whole of government, Open source, Content management systems
User needs, Digital adoption

GovCMS’s challenge

GovCMS needed to help the GovCMS community learn how to use the platform and get the most out of GovCMS. However, this was proving challenging, with limited internal resources. GovCMS and Salsa needed to work together to provide quality training direction and instruction in the most efficient way possible.

GovCMS’s transformation

GovCMS and Salsa worked on four main areas to transform the GovCMS learning strategy, moving to a more online and self-serve approach.

The outcomes

  • Online, open source training manuals
  • Virtual instructor-led training
  • A series of ‘how-to’ training videos
  • More user-focused support documentation

GovCMS’s challenge — reaching the large GovCMS community despite limited resources

GovCMS is a large, whole-of-government website platform, currently servicing over 300 websites and with continual growth. The community consists of many different government agencies (developers and content editors) and external web development vendors. This community needs support and guidance on how to get the best out of GovCMS platform. GovCMS needed a new learning strategy that focused on online delivery and self-service. This was immediately necessary with COVID-19 preventing in-person training sessions, but GovCMS was also keen to move to a more strategic approach to learning.

GovCMS’s transformation — a focused online learning strategy

The GovCMS’s online learning strategy initially focused on four areas:

  1. The GovCMS manuals

  2. Online instructor-led training sessions

  3. Self-serve training videos

  4. Upgrading the GovCMS knowledge base (support documentation)

One of the key goals was to reduce GovCMS Service Desk tickets, especially those tickets focused on the more ‘basic’ GovCMS topics and/or questions and themes that were being raised repeatedly.

The manuals

The first step toward online and self-serve was open sourcing the GovCMS Content Administration ManualExternal Link and the GovCMS Site Builder ManualExternal Link (read our blog about open sourcing the GovCMS training manuals). After initially being posted as downloadable documents, they were then moved onto GitBooks for a complete open source solution. While we’re still looking for a more user-friendly solution for the manuals (Gitbook requires a level of tech understanding to contribute back), open sourcing the manuals has made it quick and easy for the GovCMS community to access training.

The online instructor-led training

GovCMS and Salsa worked together to transform the normal, in-person course into online delivery, starting with a pilot program in June 2020. The training moved from a one-day, in-person event to four two-hour online sessions delivered via MS Teams. Splitting the course across a few days proved popular, with participants finding it easier to complete the course around their normal working day. View upcoming training sessionsExternal Link

Online videos

The third prong of the online learning strategy was to produce videos that covered most of the information in the GovCMS Administration Manual. We turned the manual into 22 videos, which were then uploaded onto VimeoExternal Link and YouTubeExternal Link . The final videos went live in early March 2021, and the next step is to promote these further so the community and new agencies are aware of the videos as another self-serve tool.

The videos also provide a way people who attend the instructor-led training can revisit key learnings.

Planning has also started for phase 2 of the video series. This second wave will focus on more complex, developer-based training videos. It’s hoped that these videos will follow the GovCMS vision of ‘centrally managed, community-led’ with developers contributing videos that cover some of the more complex developer tasks. While the best model is still being explored, one option is to have both GovCMS-endorsed videos (with scripts being reviewed and approved by GovCMS) coupled with more ‘independent’ videos, that GovCMS quickly reviews and then links to in key documents and communications.

GovCMS knowledge base

The GovCMS knowledge base is a collection of support documents that the GovCMS community can access to solve common problems. However, the knowledge base had grown organically and was in need of restructuring to help users find information more easily. Salsa led the blended GovCMS/Salsa team to focus on creating a more user-friendly solution. We started with a card-sorting exercise that looked at 40 common knowledge base documents and asked users to sort them into logical categories. Based on the card sort, we then created a proposed structure for the knowledge base and tested that using treejacking. In our treejacking, we gave users 10 scenarios to see if they’d navigate to the correct place in our new structure.

User scenarios included:

  • How do I get GitLab access to my project for developers?

  • Deployment has failed on my site. How can I fix this/what should I do next?

  • I'd like to set up two-factor authentication for my GovCMS site. How do I do this?

  • How do I set up my DNS configuration properly?

The treejack validated the proposed menu structure and we’re in the process of auditing the documents ready for the new structure.

GovCMS’s outcomes — more self-service

The immediate outcomes of the strategy are:

  • The two GovCMS manuals available online and open sourced

  • A refined, instructor-led online offering for both content editors and developers

  • Online videos so the community can self-serve or consolidate their GovCMS knowledge

  • A more user-friendly structure for the GovCMS knowledge base to help users find the information they’re looking for quickly and easily

In the longer term, it’s hoped that the online strategy will see other benefits, including:

  • A reduction in the number of GovCMS Service Desk tickets

  • A change in style/focus of GovCMS Service Desk tickets (from the more common and ‘basic’ queries to the more complex, developer queries)

  • Better adoption of the open source model and community participation, through developers creating their own videos

About GovCMS

The Department of FinanceExternal Link (Finance) owns the GovCMS platform, a whole-of-government digital platform for use across all levels of government in Australia. GovCMS is built on Drupal, an award-winning, enterprise-grade CMS that’s easy to use, stable, highly secure and open source (no license fees).