According to the Wikipedia, a white paper is “an authoritative report or guide that often addresses problems and how to solve them. White papers are used to educate readers and help people make decisions.” Organisations can use white papers to explore any issue that is of current performance and to disseminate the results widely amongst internal and external audiences. Typically the papers will be written by experts or those who have conducted in-depth research into particular topics, and then distributed as printed documents, PDFs or as web pages.
A library of white papers provides a useful resource to support non-formal learning, particularly for knowledge workers who need access to in-depth analysis of current topics. The best results will be achieved alongside other media and more interactive approaches, including rapid e-learning content, short workshops, webinars, podcasts and online discussions.
White papers are:
- at their best when they are clear and to the point, supported by appropriate charts and diagrams, written at the right level for the intended audience and supported by opportunities for discussion;
- best avoided when lengthy and complex, written in over-formal language, poorly formatted.