Here you could explore samples of my instructional design work that I completed for my Human Performance Technology course as part of my graduate studies in Educational Technology. If you are interested in discussing my work or what services I can provide for you, please connect with me on LinkedIn.
- Needs Assessment
- Learning Materials
- An Adobe Captivate Demo
- Performance Needs Assessment
- Performance Intervention: A Macro View
- Performance Intervention: A Micro View
The goal of this report was to assess the need to develop a training solution for first-year students studying in the computer science field at a local college who are experiencing difficulties in programming. View the full report here.
When I began piecing together this assessment, I did not have a clear picture of what needed to be included. However, what was clear was that the report needed to examine the business need as well as the existing performance gap and what needed to be done in order to bridge that gap and push the business into an ideal performance level. After examining some sample assessments and receiving additional guidelines in class, I had a better perception of what I needed to include and better yet, what questions I needed to ask the client and subject matter expert. The biggest challenge was perhaps putting together the tasks and objectives lists. A lot of time and thought had to be put into these hierarchies and I still did not feel completely confident that I was on track. My biggest take away is that if you want to be successful at producing objectives, start practising!
After receiving my needs assessment back post-review, I realized that I was correct in the assumptions that I made in my previous reflection; that is, my tasks and objectives required more development in some instances. The feedback received made it clear that I needed to expand on objectives that were too high-level. For instance, “Create a FOR loop” would be required to have sub-objectives so that the learner is more clear on what steps are required in order to achieve that objective. It is also clear to me that some objectives are ambiguous with respect to which audience they are addressing. In the future, I will likely look to have my tasks and objectives reviewed by a peer to ensure that the lists are both well understood and not subject to any ambiguity. Finally, I was inspired by work produced by past HPT students to upgrade the layout design of my needs assessment so that it is branded according to the style of the learning materials.
With a needs assessment complete, the next step was to produce a learning materials package. This package includes: an overview of the proposed learning intervention, storyboards outlining various scenes, production notes, and summative evaluation instruments. For the purposes of my instructional intervention, an e-learning course was deemed appropriate based on the results of the prior needs assessment. See the full learning materials package.
Key learnings: A number of things must be considered when designing a learning program. Even after a medium for delivering the learning has been determined based on analysis, it’s important to consider the following:
- Who will serve as the subject matter expert? Does the nature of the project require there to be several experts collaborating on the content?
- How will the content be organized based on the medium chosen? Does the content align well with the identified learning objectives? How will the content be presented and how does the chosen approach benefit the target audience who will be learning from your materials.
- What experts will be required in order to help produce the materials? Depending on the chosen medium, it might be essential to hire: illustrators, programmers, publishers, etc.
- How will the product be evaluated? Will evaluation be formative (throughout the design process), summative (at the end of the design process) or a combination of both? Who should you involve in the evaluation process? Learners? Subject Matter Experts? The sponsor?
In preparing this, I had to ask myself and work with my sponsor to determine what the most suitable answers would be. Of course, the answers are always dependant on the case at hand and thus, had the sponsor had a different request, different approaches would have been taken.
Although the learning experience was valuable here, I feel that creating this package was especially fun because it allowed me to mix in my own creative element, especially while designing the storyboards.
Instructional Intervention: An Adobe Captivate Demo
Although development and implementation of the instructional intervention went beyond the scope of the course, we were asked to prepare short 30 second demonstrations that either promoted or gave a preview of the course. I decided I would have fun and I expanded my demonstration to fully cover two episodes of the learning program as well as an interactive quiz. The product was developed using Adobe Captivate, Photoshop, and Keynote. Watch Programming your Success: A Java tutorial.
My two biggest take-aways from creating this demo are: (1) leave the voice-over to the professionals, and (2) creating voice-over can be a challenging and lengthy process if you want it done perfectly. I certainly have a new found respect for voice-over professionals as doing the job is a lot more difficult than it seems as it involves a lot of editing (at least in my case) and a solid script. That said, the development of the content and integration of technologies was a lot of fun, especially since it was my first time using Captivate.
What if training is not the answer?
Whereas the first half of the course focused on training, the second half looked to assess the need while examining the larger system. This was achieved by revising the needs assessment. Read the full Performance Needs Assessment.
One message was definitely made clear to me: training does not always equal performance. In fact, training which focuses on individual skills and knowledge improvement often accounts for only 11% of all performance problems (Stolovitch, 2004). As such, you can spend plenty of resources developing comprehensive training programs however, unless you are facing a skills and knowledge problem, you are doing it wrong!
Key learnings: Preparing this assessment exposed me to the application of at least one HPT model: Gilbert’s Six-Boxes. This tool proved to be effective and a good model to work with for someone who is still developing their skills as an instructional designer. When applying this model to my assessment, I was able to easily identify which boxes grouped together the largest number of gaps. This helped me frame my recommendations in the high level design that followed.
Performance Intervention: A Macro View
Conducting a performance needs assessment made it possible to gather and analyze the information required in order for me to determine a set of possible interventions that best aligned with the identified performance objectives. Read the complete high level design.
If training is not always the solution, then non-instructional interventions need to be considered as part of the mix. These interventions can take on many forms including but not limited to: job aids, environment redesign, elimination of tasks, Q&A, policy redesign, and much more. Once again, it is up to the instructional designer to determine what form is most appropriate and furthermore, decide on the mediums that will be used to transmit the intervention to the targeted performers.
I would say that the biggest challenge I faced was trying to decide on my set of interventions. It is easy to look at the collected data and put quickly come up with several ideas for interventions however, that does not mean every intervention is appropriate even if there is a solid alignment with objectives. That leads me to my key learning: Project and organizational constraints impose boundaries that require an instructional designer to work around in order to propose solutions that are: feasible, affordable, reliable, and realistic. Essentially, the better you understand the organization, the more successful you can hope to be.
Performance Intervention: A Micro View
With the high-level design done, the next step was to take one of the mentioned interventions and expand it by designing all the materials required for it. Here I decided to select a non-instructional intervention that aims to help detect at-risk students early on during a semester. Read the full detailed design document.
As with the learning materials developed for the earlier instructional intervention, this report incorporated detailed materials required for various performers followed by an evaluation component. While producing the detailed design, I developed some new competencies but also sharpened some exisiting ones. Specifically, I felt more comfortable creating the required materials thanks to the learning materials put together as part of the prior instructional intervention. I did however feel that the experience was different since conceptualizing materials from a non-instructional point of view involved a higher level of critical thinking, largely because the solution was derived from examining the system as a whole.
Stolovitch, Harold., & Keeps, Erica. (2004). Training ain’t performance. Alexandria, VA : Silver Spring, Md: ASTD Press.