Thursday, May 22, 2008

Best Project Ever

A baby girl. Born on Sunday. Yes, ahead of schedule by a few days! No name yet. People find this very disconcerting -- an unlabled person -- but we're waiting for the right name to appear stamped on her forehead.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

No News

That is to say, I have not yet had this baby.

My official "due date" is not until May 21, but I've been hoping (as all expectant mothers do), that this is one project that would be delivered a bit early.

Can't project manage these things...

In the meantime, I've taken the last week off from work to do things like: hang out with my kids and husband, garden, cook, fold laundry, hang out with my parents, get my teeth cleaned, nap, knit, and various nesting projects.

My instructional design postings will be sporadic, at best, over the next few months. Unless I decide to post about the absolute lack of instructional design manuals that come with new babies!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Making Six Sigma Training Fun

So Many Ducks OK. Maybe it's not possible to make Six Sigma eLearning fun. But I've tried.

And to be honest, it wasn't quite Six Sigma, but close.

This manufacturing process training course was originally delivered as a four hour plus death-by-PowerPoint classroom session (if you could see the original PPT source content, you'd begin glazing over within a few slides).

I went out on a few limbs here and tried to design something different. Within certain parameters as defined by the client (of course).

Here's some of what I tried to incorporate in order to (we hope) create an engaging experience:

Less is More. Cut, cut, cut.

Cut my breath

Of course, SMES pushed back on this approach during story board review.

But when I hear someone telling me that this is the spot in the classroom session when the users start drooling and staring out the window, don't you think that's a good place to simplify?

Storyline. I created characters that the learner follows throughout the course. "Meet Pete and his team." Learn from this manufacturing group and how they applied these principles to their work place.

And we made it fun. Rubber Ducks! Everyone loves rubber ducks, right? Applying concepts to a fun, but real-world scenario to ensure better knowledge transfer and retention.

Got some pushback on this one, again from the SMEs. "Is it too juvenile?"

Devil DuckWhen reviewing the alpha version of the course, I made sure to have their team have actual end-users take the course and see what their responses were.

End-users thought it was fun. SMEs felt a bit threatened by this fun take on their sacred content. The juries still out.

Games! We created three or four mini-games scattered throughout the course to test concepts. Of course, we used rubber ducks whenever possible to create some fun graphics and exercises. For design inspiration, I took a few pages out of Karl Kapp's book Gadgets, Games and Gizmos for Learning.

Using Audio. I tried to make more effective use of audio. Avoided reading text heavy pages word-for-word. But I got pushback. "Unless there's audio on every page, our user's will think it's broken..."

Better Assessment Questions. I wrote scenario based questions that were about context and concepts -- not rote memorization skills.

Navigation. I tried, but couldn't convince my client to go with open navigation. We had to go with lockouts, meaning the learner must go through the topics in order and can't advance to the next topic until the previous topic has been completed. Alas.

Overall Feedback. So far, the client likes it, but there's some uncertainty. "This is unlike anything we've done before." Which can be a good thing and a bad thing, right?

Do you think I went too far with the rubber duck motif? Did I threaten a sacred cow?

Photo Credits: