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A new approach to education at Puppet

As Puppet use increases and our users’ skillsets diversify, a new and improved approach to educational offerings is necessary. We’ve learned that the development of educational offerings has a lot in common with the development of other products. By focusing on user needs and emphasizing iteration through rapid delivery, we can build higher quality offerings that target specific learner outcomes. To this end, the services portfolio team that creates Puppet education products has joined forces with teams like user experience, product and marketing to collaborate on revamping and improving how we build and market our educational offerings.

This new approach began with three questions:

  • What do users need to learn Puppet?
  • How do users prefer to learn?
  • How accessible are our courses and learning materials?

To find some answers, we reached out to Lori Landesman on the user experience team who advised us on how to find survey participants, ask those participants effective questions in an unbiased manner, and take all the resulting data and organize it into actionable steps. We contacted survey participants via email and the Puppet Slack channel. Our respondents had a variety of experience using Puppet — from less than a year to more than a decade.

We conducted a series of interviews over a period of about eight weeks, asking participants how they first started learning Puppet, what hangups they encountered, and what they enjoyed or didn’t enjoy about the process. We then discussed the results to see what next steps we would need to take to improve our offerings. This process started what will now become a regularly scheduled analysis of whether or not our content is meeting our users’ needs guided by Lori and the UX team process. However, user experience isn’t the only team with which we have begun working closer.

We are in the process of creating a stronger dialogue with the product team to stay up to date on when new products are going to go live to prepare educational materials. On the marketing side, we are discussing how our teams can work closer together as each new piece of learning content is developed, and how we can share resources with one another to avoid duplicating efforts to make better content even more quickly.

Together with other Puppet teams, we can tackle Puppet learner challenges and gauge whether the educational content we offer is effectively meeting their needs by continuing to ask: Are we teaching new Puppet users what they need to be successful? Are they able to easily find our content online? Is the process enjoyable and do they feel supported?

We aim to empower our users. We can do this by continually analyzing and iterating on our offerings.

Thanks for reading and stay tuned for new and improved educational offerings coming your way soon!

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Tara Swenson is an eLearning content developer at Puppet.