Clark Aldrich, in Learning Circuits, emphasized the importance of training pilots during the training development process. Lack of training pilot = invitation to failure.
In his comments to the post, Dave Lee outlined the following issues caught by a good pilot program. (I'm going to copy this verbatim because he was so eloquent):
1) False assumptions about content progression. Your SME's already know the answers and have created short cuts for themselves that make them more efficient. The SME's you have review the content now the same shortcuts. When key steps are missing, learners don't get it you have a breakdown that needs to be fixed.
1b) Jargon, jargon, jargon. SME's use it. Learners don't know it. Facilitators often don't know it. (which can undermine the facilitator's credibility.
2) False assumptions about pacing. That activity you thought would take 15 minutes requires 12 minutes of setup and then runs for 30 minutes.
3) Ideas that looked good on paper but just didn't fly in real context. That team activity using hula hoops to teach Venn Diagrams sounded great but what a flop. The older employees spent time showing the younger employees how a hula hoop works.
4) Great activity once the facilitator figured out the poor facilitator guides.
5) Lack of clear link between activities and the learning objectives. Invariably signaled by an insistent raised hand follow by "why would we want to do this anyway?"
I have mentioned before that I am piloting my LMS with the IT group. They are also looking at the tutorials (again). There are 2 issues with this particular pilot group.
1) They are subject matter experts so they are able to make assumptions that shouldn't be made within the context of training.
2) They are computer savvy so they will forgive lack of navigational clarity.
I built the LMS this early with a "self-selecting" pilot in mind. We are not replacing our current strategy now, so I have time to get some feedback. Here is my current thinking:
- We are going to open up the LMS to all users on November 15th. Big announcement and directions for use will be sent to everyone. Hopefully, I will get some self-selected users who will play with this.
- Arlene (the Medicine trainer) will be shown how to use the system and asked for feedback.
- The Pilot Physicians will also be shown the system and asked to log in.
- People who come to me for training will be asked to log into the system. The face-to-face training will be used to evaluate the tutorials and the student's reactions to the content, organization, and technology.
- People who have been using our intranet site to find the tutorials will be redirected to Moodle. All of the contents from the previous site will be in there. I have posted a feedback forum in each of the courses.
- All upgrade information will be posted as a separate course in Moodle. Users will be directed to Moodle so that we get them used to looking in the system for new information. This requires convincing the System Administrator to stop sending the group e-mails.
- I have built some project courses to get our IT group using Moodle as a project workspace. This should reduce the amount of time we spend trying to find documents in multiple folders and reduce the stress on our shared servers. Moodle as Knowledge Management tool.
My hope is that by the time when this system HAS TO WORK (February/March 2007 is the current timeframe) we have good training content and a functional LMS / KM tool.