Saturday, June 16, 2007

Keeping Interactivity at the Center of Rapid Development

Bryan Chapman is Chief Learning Strategist at Chapman Alliance. Formerly he was the Director of Research and Strategy for independent research and consulting firm Brandon Hall Research.

What we DON'T need in the industry, Bryan argued at a recent webinar, is a
faster way to create page-turning courseware! Yet, in many cases, the phrase “rapid development” has become synonymous with cranking out content that resembles an online book format.

Does it have to be that way? According to Bryan, the answer is an emphatic “No.” Forward-thinking organizations have figured out how to balance learning development, much in the same way we’ve figured out how to create blended learning. The key is using the right, best-of-breed tools for specific, desired learning outcomes.

The webinar, sponsored by Harbinger Knowledge Products, focused on these objectives:
  • How and when to use the right interactive tools for the right instructional needs
  • How to mix interactive exercises and other modalities to create dynamic, engaging course content
  • How to infuse rapid development without sacrificing interactivity
Bryan opened his presentation with a Rapid Development Feud game, which aimed at discovering why we don’t use interactivity during rapid development. In his quintessential enthusiastic and energetic way, he then went on to make several key points.

Blended Learning and Interactivity
IBM blended learning model arranges various learning modalities in three concentric circles.
  1. Classroom in the center - the culminating experience
  2. Exercises, practice, games and simulations in the middle ring
  3. Whitepapers, guides, documents, presentations and other reference material in the outer ring
Rapid authoring tools address the "outer ring" learning experience, whereas rapid simulation and game development tools such as Raptivity target the "middle ring".

Interactivity and Instructional Design
Dont wait till too late in the course development cycle to apply interactivity. In the ADDIE model, you need to think of interactivity as you prepare a variety of intermediate deliverables, including design documents, storyboards and prototypes, not just the final course.

Interactivity should meet instructional goals: An example was shown how Raptivity does this with a labeling exercise.

Tips and Suggestions - Using Interactivity for Rapid Development
  • Create an interactivity “sampler” to show to internal customers, SME’s, etc. Review before design activities.
  • Don’t create navigation controls at the page level. It’s a waste of time.
  • Page turning isn’t bad if used in moderation. Add a healthy mix of interactivity.
  • When prototyping, create a prototype for each interaction, not just a single lesson or module.
  • Consider using multiple tools to meet the need.
  • One caution: make sure interactivity choices don’t overshadow the instruction. It is possible to use too much of a good thing.
All in all it was a very useful session for rapid development practitioners. Bryan also shared his research on the cost of development per finished hour of learning, and how it varies with the level of interactivity.

You can view a recording of this event here. You can also download the presentation.

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