Note for Spring, 2013 students: We're in the process of rearranging some course offerings/curriculum, and, as part of the transition, this first project will be a little different this semester. Here's the scoop.
This first assignment—which until now was entitled Individualized Instruction—has, over the semesters, gradually evolved to be very similar to a project offered in EDTEC 650 Distance Education (now called e-Learning Design and Development). If you've taken EDTEC 650 in the past year or so and completed the "self-guided or scenario-based e-learning" project, you'll have accomplished much of what this project has to offer. So you have some choices this summer:
- If you haven't designed and developed a self-guided, individualized, scenario-based, e-learning tutorial/module, we recommend that you complete the assignment as described here. If you're in doubt, the key phrase to consider is "scenario-based." This is the idea that many self-guided tutorials can be built around actual workplace or other experiences, drawing on real-life situations for presenting information and prompting learners to make choices and providing contextualized, realistic feedback based on a scenario/story/narrative. This is currently much in demand and well worth including in your repertoire.
- But if you've already been there/done that in EDTEC 650 (or elsewhere), you may opt to do a kind of "independent study" of another current topic. For example, you might like to:
- Design and develop a mobile learning app (if you're technically inclined, there are a variety of free or free-trial software applications for developing apps).
- Design and develop an e-reader (not too difficult technically, but learning to make the most of e-reader multi-media and social media features should be a fun challenge).
- Design and develop an augmented reality (AR) app (similar to a "mobile learning app" but specifically designed as AR).
If you choose the 2nd option, it'll really be much more like an "independent study" within the course. That's to say, the instructors and other participants are happy to support and guide to the best of their ability, but there won't be a formal process to lean on. You'll need to make that up yourself as part of your project. The up side is that assessment of the project is also flexible—you may negotiate outcomes and deliverables and even criteria for evaluating those with the instructors. In short, this could be an opportunity to study something you yearn to learn, but haven't yet had time to satisfy.
(The second—Informal Learning—project will be conducted as outlined below.)
The following description, then, is only for those choosing the 1st option for the Individualized Instruction assignment. We'll modify this project a little, too, moving from a frame-based approach to a greater emphasis on scenario-based e-learning, as we go along. More on that when we begin the course. Questions, contact instructor Bob Hoffman.
The goal of this assignment is to increase skill and comfort with the design and development of self-guided learning, aka self-paced instruction, individualized instruction, and so forth. Self-guided as distinguished from instructor-led. Bear in mind that you can—and will—use both self-guided and instructor-led learning within the same course or training program—they're complimentary, not mutually exclusive. In any given situation, you might mix the two in any number of ways and proportions. But for the purposes of learning how to design and develop them, we'll work on them separately.
In this program you've experienced learning in many kinds of environments, from highly structured, step-by-step tutorials to more flexibly conceived project-based learning, and perhaps even independent study. This project is designed in a very flexible style, to accomodate individual needs and goals, and to capitalize on your maturity as independent, motivated learners. This is a type of learning most of us will do most often throughout our professional careers, and is often the "most fun" way of learning. Here's how it works.
How this assignment works
This assignment provides a specific goal (improve knowledge and skills for designing and developing self-guided learning), recommends appropriate methods (such as using "scenario-based e-learning" and design by "successive approximation"), and points you to useful resources for accomplishing the goal using those methods (chiefly Cathy Moore's e-Learning Blueprint and Michael Allen's Guide to e-Learning).
Your role as a student is to take charge of your own learning. Decide what specifically you want to "get out" of this project—your own learner outcomes. Here are some of the choices you'll need to make:
- Whether (and to what extent) to adopt the e-Learning Blueprint and Guide to e-Learning approaches, or some other you may prefer, or which may be useful in your particular workplace.
- In both cases, you'll need to choose an appropriate development platform. Those interested in getting some experience with current authoring systems might work with portions of the Adobe e-Learning Suite or of Articulate Studio. Those who aren't so concerned with development may want to check out some simpler alternatives, such as udutu or even Keynote and PowerPoint.
- How to proceed with your project—what you want to do each week for this first half of the semester. You might elect to follow the suggested schedule, or you might want to linger on some aspects (instructional models) and glide over others quickly (prototype development).
This may sound a little "harder" than following a step-by-step process or even highly structured project-based learning. But it maps pretty nicely on to the way most of us learn best on a day-to-day basis—in charge of our own goals, methods, and resources.
Your instructor is committed to giving you as much rein as possible, in an effort to let you take the lead with your own learning. That makes it more possible for a student to "fake it"—failing to actually take charge of the project but writing "good" progress reports—and/or use a project they've generated earlier for another course or for a project at work. We might or might not be able to detect that. But at the same time we know that most of you are sincere, energetic learners who will take advantage of this opportunity in the best possible way to pursue ideas and techniques you're curious or passionate about.
With that said, let's get on with it!
As mentioned above, the broad goal of this assignment is to enhance our ability to design and develop motivating, interactive, and effective self-guided e-learning. Within that broad goal, identify your own interests, perhaps in the form of questions, such as:
- How can I use scenarios to engage learners quickly and keep them active?
- What types of scenarios and models of interactivity work for different types of content?
- What affordances does a particular authoring system offer for developing this type of instruction?
- What does the "successive approximation" approach to design offer vis-a-vis ADDIE or traditional ISD?
What are you most interested in learning about in this project? Post your own (brief) list of questions on the course listserv, as part of your first weekly progress report.
Methods and tools
Decide whether you will adopt the e-Learning Blueprint and/or the Guide to e-learning approaches, including "scenario-based e-learning" and the "successive approximation" approach to design, or whether you will work with some other approach.
You'll need an authoring tool in which to do your rapid prototyping. Here are just a few of the possibilities that are free or offer free trial periods:
- PowerPoint or Keynote
- Watch the course listserv for reviews of other development tools
Include your thoughts on methods and tools in your first weekly progress report.
The department has generously provided us a subscription to Cathy Moore's e-Learning Blueprint. The username is "sdsuedtec" and the password is "spring13". Our subscription allows 20 individual users each day, so please don't share it with anyone outside the course. Course participants may access the site freely every day.
Another, free, resource you may want to peruse is this section on building e-learning scenarios on Tom Kuhlmann's Rapid e-Learning Blog.
Will you tackle one of the high level authoring systems, or keep things simple with a less sophisticated authoring environment? If you plan to learn a high level authoring system like portions of Articulate Studio or the Adobe e-Learning Suite, how will you go about learning it? Online tutorials? Trial-and-error? A book? A course?
Consult the course forum on authoring systems for ideas, reviews, and resources.
Include your thoughts on resources in your first weekly progress report.
Here are some web modules designed for the previous generation of this assignment that was geared more towards frame-based, rather than scenario-based, e-learning, but much of the how-to remains valuable:
- Goal and Task Analysis
- Outcome Statements
- Writing for Reuse
- Test Items and Feedback
- Writing Instruction
- Developing Instruction
- Learnability Testing & ePortfolio reflection
How to complete this assignment
First, read it carefully, of course.
Choose a topic from an EDTEC class that lends itself to scenario-based elearning. Examples:
- Graphic design principles (choose one: contrast, alignment, repetition, proximity)
- Motivation (choose a letter: ARCS)
- User testing
- Preparing images for the web (e.g., cropping, resizing, compressing)
- Performance analysis
- Audience analysis
- Goal analysis
- Content analysis
- Task analysis
- Cognitive task analysis
- Kirkpatrick-style evaluation (choose a level)
- Behavioral objectives
- Message design (lots to choose from here)
- Cognitive load theory
- Multimedia learning sprinciples (choose one)
- Gagne's nine events
- Research planning
- Choosing between quantitative and qualitative
- Collecting data
- Presentation skills
- How the brain learns
- Design for global audience
- Interviewing SMEs
- …or anything else from the program that appeals to you
Weekly progress reports
Draft your first weekly progress report with your ideas about the goals, methods and tools, and the resources you'll use, as described above, and post it to the course listserv.
Each week thereafter, report on your progress. The best advice I can give you for your weekly progress reports is to make them interesting to all of us. Don't just list the stuff you did, but tell us about the discoveries, the "aha", moments, perhaps even the struggles you've encountered and what you learned from them. What could the rest of us perhaps learn from your experience this week? Did you find a wonderful resource for learning an authoring system, or a cool technique, or a wonderful interactive model you could share? Can you warn us off a common pitfall, or give us a different way of looking at something?
When you've completed your prototype self-guided learning lesson, or module, or exercise, or whatever you choose to call it, post a link on the course listserv.
Keep it small!
As always with the projects you do for this program, we value quality over quantity, and generally we value design over technical prowess, though a beautifully executed project certainly adds to your luster. Simply demonstrate how you're learning to design fun, effective e-learning—whatever that may mean for you, your audience, and your content—and you'll have mastered this assignment.
Examples of scenario-based e-learning from past semesters
- Katherine Kwong built Setting the right course for college success: COMPASS English and math assessment for Bellvue College using Adobe Captivate.
- Kirstan Price made New volunteer training: Sally's first shift for Coyote Point nature reserve using Adobe Captivate.
- Perry Yee built this Articulate Presenter module on the Coherence Principal
- Adrienne Vinnard built this Earth in the Solar System module in udutu for her middle school non-English-speakers.
- Dave Slifka made this wonderful prototype module on media literacy using only PowerPoint.
- I really liked Elana Aroze's module on setting up a voicemail mailbox.
- Rudy Arias, Joseph Knox, and Emmalie Kipp collaborated to build this module on using social media to market a small business in Adobe Captivate.
- Matt Wilson and Marie Garcia built this lesson to train teachers how to assign their students to roles in the Fleet Museum's Challenger simulation.