Recently, a concept presented to a client for an online orientation course was well received by our stakeholder group, but very poorly received by the stakeholder group’s seniors. In an ironic turn of events, the stakeholder group wanted tradition and convention while their leaders wanted fresh, young, new and definitely not conventional.
The concept as we had presented it ultimately had to sit in an LMS and as it stood, we were pushing the boundaries of what could be done. For example there were content elements that our client wanted to ensure participants reviewed and interacted with, and others that were non essential. The issue we faced was that the essential content wasn’t all together and sequenced, it was interspersed with non essential elements. From a design perspective, if I need to meet certain compliance driven requirements I do so within SCORM protocols and design to optimize SCORM. However when ‘mandatory’ content is all mixed in with non-mandatory, whats the approach? Open navigation (go anywhere do anything) or closed (hit next until the end). So we were doing a lot of consultation with the client, a lot of brainstorming to figure out how to structure content and present content in a way that SCORM could fulfill the mandatory elements of tracking.
When we were let loose our design completely changed, and TinCan had a huge influence on the new concept. I thought I would share some tips on how you can use TinCan to improve the user experience, as well as capture real value in your analytics for your organizations.
#1 – Don’t think of content in units anymore (Learnning objects, SCOs, modules, etc). We don’t need to track units. Identify elements within a unit that are meaningful and look at capturing data around those elements.
#2 – Don’t worry about ‘submit’ buttons. Your learners don’t need to get things right or wrong anymore to capture data. Think about actions and performance online because what learners are doing can now be captured. Do you remember doing math in school and being tested? Some teachers gave you points if you did the process right but came out with the wrong answer. In mathematics, process is everything. Capture the experience, not the outcome.
#3 – Your free to think of instruction as a non linear experience and establish meaningful milestones regardless of the sequence a learner chooses to travel. Yes thats right. You can let learners figure things out on their own and still establish metrics for success.
#4 – Your free to think of online content for learning outside the rubric of a course. Yes thats right. Think of designing experiences in and outside of the online environment that can all feed the performance of an individual and still ‘track’ user progress.
#5 – Which reminds me, stop thinking of user ‘progress’ and think of user achievements. Now design your content to help people ‘achieve’ competence, achieve skills, acquire knowledge.
#6 – If we can remove the rubric of courses, of units, of unit completions, pass/fail….lets blow people’s minds. The best part is when we do so, we stand a much better chance of showing value to our clients and our organizations than ever before.
Look for more tips designing for TinCan over the coming weeks.