Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Teaching Folks to Fish

Thinking aloud.....advice and recommendations welcome.....

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We have been getting progressively more demand from both within our IT group and from outside departments to convert their 100+ slide information-heavy PowerPoints into 100+ slide information-heavy Captivate projects that they can put on our LMS.

In response - the Director asked me to help develop a plan that would make our SMEs more independent. Essentially, letting them do the conversion themselves.

Of course - I twitched a little. The thought of having hundreds of dull click-to-death tutorials sullying my Precious LMS makes me more than a little crazy.

Think, Wendy.....THINK!

It's a given that I need to teach folks Captivate. Definitely don't want to make it just a one-time event.

I have to divide the course so that it builds on each other.

I ought to design the course (and the templates) to DISCOURAGE click to death design. But not make it so complicated that the SMEs throw up their hands and decide that it is too much work (or whine at me and tell me I need to do it and how dare we not help them).

There needs to be a "support" structure as well. One beyond "Call the Help Desk." And something more structured than - "Here's my business card, call me anytime." From experience - that way lies madness and defeats the purpose of this whole project.

There has to be a way to make the program "application-friendly". As in, the person feels excited and comfortable applying what they learn in the courses. Maybe this is where I can put some sort of 2.0 solution? Provide tools that allow them to develop some sort of community and help each other out?

The catch is - I can't allow these courses or add-ons to be too time-consuming for the students. Them needing to re-create their training is an add-on to their already busy jobs as it is.

My real goal in all of this is to help the SMEs develop enough basic technical expertise to create at least a first draft of what they need. I can then shift to the role of advisor, help strengthen their instructional design and provide further technical knowledge to create more complex interactions.

As much as I would like everyone to make the cognitive leap from click-to-death to fully-realized game with important decisions instantaneouly, it ain't gonna happen for most people.

If I can design small steps in the process and help folks establish some mastery, maybe I'll get somewhere.

What do you all think?

5 comments:

Dave Ferguson said...

Wendy: what a terrific, challenging question. I had a lot to say, so put it on my blog rather than cluttering up your comments. I hope something in that is helpful.

Wendy said...

Dave - Thank you thank you thank you.......

Lots of reminders - not the least of which is that I need to quit being such a control freak.

Janet Clarey said...

If someone said to me, Janet, you need to learn Captivate so you can create training materials on how to use XYZ, then I'd say, what do not want me to do? In other words, I've got too much to do. So maybe I'd take what I have (text and screens) and learn to use Captivate to make some half-assed modules that output to SCORM in a Flash format.

To really make me create decent training using the tool, I would need an example, real-time support, and feedback. I think you approach it as you would any other learning activity.

Are you making this more about you?

Have them use the tool with their content. Learn by doing - in the context of the job. Not learn the tool, then create. Provide a way for them to share the content with their peers. Or, get the Director involved. It won't hurt to seed the thing with something decent examples they can build on. There must be at least one champion you can tap.

Set up a Twitter account/group for @XYZcaptivate or whatever, protect the updates and provide support when needed (in real time).

Oh, yeah and I'd want it to be part of my job. I don't want my performance evaluation to be all, 'hey you didn't do blah, blah or blah...' well,gee I was doing all this training stuff for Wendy...

Perhaps the ultimate goal is to make everyone a SME learning from each other.

I recall learning Dreamweaver in an online class. The class was on Interface Design so I had to use the thing to make an e-learning course. I only had my peers to learn from. The instructor was there to guide us and keep us from dropping the course I think. And apparently to dry my tears. This was a social learning model. It was better than the course where I was given content to work with.

Dave Ferguson said...

Wendy, I didn't mean at all to imply that you're a control freak. (Or is your password "tsar," too?)

From jobs where I set up and ran a CBT system for 2,000 learners, I recognize and applaud a sense of pride in work well done.

I also recognize that as things stand, you may not be able (from a time or resource standpoint) to develop (as Janet says) useful examples, real-time support, and worthwhile feedback.

Even with those things, if the experts see churning out Captivate projects as just a chore, something detracting from what they see as their real work, then you can only go so far in helping them. Time invested in better training may not seem like time well spent to them.

Joe Deegan said...

Hi Wendy,
Have you considered shortening the learning curve by using a ppt 2 flash converter? You are sure to get "Click and Read" as results but it will allow your learners to use what they already know about power point. If this is only a temporary chore for them, it doesn't seem that they would need to learn Captivate. Good Luck!