Chapter Twelve

Overview of a Model for Design and Development

This chapter begins the third and final section of the book discussing design and development.  An overview of the proposed model is provided, detailing several features:

  • Standards:  Everyone involved in a project must work toward a set of standards agreed upon by the client and the instructional designer.
  • Ongoing Evaluation:  A cycle of evaluation and revision reduces the chance of costly redesign or ongoing delays in the completion of a project.
  • Project Management:  Each area of the project must be managed carefully to avoid overages in time and cost.
  • Phase One – Planning:  A detailed and clear plan results from brainstorming as the look and feel of the project.  The client signs off on this stage before design begins.
  • Phase Two – Design:  This phase involves flowcharts, prototypes, storyboards, and  scripts; ultimately client sign-off on standards and features is required before moving forward.
  • Phase Three – Development:  In this final stage the various aspects of the project are created and put together.  Testing and revisions are also a part of this stage until the client validates the program.

It is important to establish clear and reasonable expectations for a project.  First, a formal method of evaluation must be developed.  Second, a budget must be determined before the scope of the program is finalized.  Finally, the client must sign off on the project at each change of phase in order to move the project along, minimize redesign needs, and avoid “project creep.”

The evaluation of the project should address several areas:

  • Subject matter
    • Matching the Goals and Objectives:  The content should be detailed enough to address the goals and objectives, but not too dense to prevent learner frustration
    • Content Structure:  Effective organization of the material is essential.
    • Accuracy of the Subject Matter
    • Language, Style, and Grammar
      • Reading Level
      • Cultural Bias:  This includes cultural references, the use of sports that are not universal, inappropriate gender generalizations, and the placement of groups in stereotypical roles.
      • Technical Terms and Jargon:  Expand acronyms prior to usage; implement hot words with hyperlinks or a glossary for terms that may affect the learner’s ease of comprehension.
      • Spelling, Grammar, and Punctuation
    • Glossary
    • Hot Words:  Provide hyperlinks to definitions for essential vocabulary.
  • Auxiliary Information
    • Introduction:  Set the stage and state goals and objectives; hook the learner.
    • Directions
    • Help:  Help should be available from each part of the program.
    • Conclusion:  Provide a clear and elegant means of exiting the program whether the user is finished or just taking a break.
  • Affective Considerations:  Is there an ideal level of challenge?  Is the program motivating?  It tends to be best to aim more towards intrinsic motivational techniques.  Balance is key – the right  amount of challenge, the appropriate level of learner control, and the best approach for motivating the learner.
  • Interface
    • Displays:  They should be uncluttered with each element contributing to the content of the lesson.
    • Presentation Modes
      • Text Quality
      • Animation and Graphics
      • Audio
      • Video
    • Input:  The most typical types include keyboard, mouse, and touch pad.
    • Spacing
  • Navigation
    • Navigation Aids:  These include maps, backward links, menus, progress or page numbers, and typical amount of time required for completion.
    • Consistency:  Maintain consistency to minimize confusion or ambiguity.
    • Restarting:  A user should be able to restart if the program is terminated, ideally at or near their progress when the termination occurred.
    • Passive Bookmarking:  This is when a user is allowed to exit the program and return where they left off.
    • Active Bookmarking:  This is where a user is given the ability to bookmark various parts of the program with the ability to return to them at any time.
  • Pedagogy
    • Methodologies
    • Interactivity:  Is the learner engaged in meaningful activities that support the goals and objectives of the program?
    • Cognitive Capacity:  Is the right amount of content provided for effective learning and transfer?
    • Cooperative Learning
    • Learning Metaphor:  Sometimes it is beneficial to have a running metaphor throughout the program.
    • Learning Strategies:  Does the program enable self-initiated activities to facilitate learning?
    • User Control:  Less control to lower-level learners tends to lead to more effective learning; however, avoid leading learners down one single path with no choices.
    • Questions:  They must be directly related to and supporting the goals and objectives of the program.
    • Answering Questions:  Avoid ambiguity in how questions can be correctly answered; recognize all correct answers.  If necessary, provide different feedback for an answer that is correct but in an invalid format.
    • Quality of Feedback:  Feedback should be positive in nature and constructive to the learner.
    • Format of Feedback:  Feedback should be visible and clearly convey the message to the learner.
    • Mastery Level:  Determine what constitutes a successful completion of the program.
  • Invisible Features
    • Records and Data
    • Security and Accessibility
    • Too Much Data
  • Robustness:  The program should never go down.  QA throughout the development process is essential.
  • Supplementary Materials
    • Manual
      • General Aspects
      • Program Operation
      • Program Content
    • Auxiliary Materials
    • Other Resources

I found the evaluation instrument provided in this chapter to be very thorough and helpful.  Most areas would likely be appropriate for my project.  I”m very curious about the idea of a learning metaphor.  I’d be curious to see examples of how these are used and to explore whether this would work in my altar server training program.

Early in the process my client and I are planning to stick with images, building interactivity through choices as the learner walks through the stages of the Mass.  My SMEs really liked the ideas I presented about how to format my images with Photoshop filters and the types of feedback I might use that will provide subtle humor without having a detrimental impact on the reverence required for altar serving.

One question that stands out above the rest has to do with how Captivate will allow for passive bookmarking.  The authors recommend learners have the option of suspending the training if it is longer than ten minutes; my main module will certainly need this functionality but I have never had a need for it.

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