As a creator of online education for emergency medical services, I am routinely tasked with creating one hour modules focused on specific topics. Over the past two years, I have built lessons focusing on endocrine emergencies, TRIAGE tactics, and infectious disease. The module that has caused the most problems though is a course I built using another educators content focusing on medical math.
The goal of the course was to create a module that would review relevant math concepts including medication administration, drip rates, and measurement conversions. The content provided by the other instructor was thorough and focused with good objectives providing a ready means for learner evaluation. This course was my first using the Articulate Storyline software which worked well and allowed for a great deal of design flexibility. The course was completed on time and within allowed resources.
So what was the problem? I never considered how the user would navigate the course and fill in the quiz questions. While there were some successful completions, most of the student reviews were disappointing with frustration at how the answers were graded. You see, I used fill in the blank questions which require students to answer in a specific way. I did not anticipate how many issues would be created by this decision. One student identified the course as “…similar to watching a 2 year old eat ice cream, it’s messy, but eventually gets the job done”. Sigh.
Since the course was first published, I have taken it off line three times to perform various re-writes and adjustments. Each time the course improves, but it keeps having issues and is consistently our lowest rated module. What could I have done different? I believe being more diligent about identifying the users and what their capabilities are would have been a great first effort. I have come to understand, based on this experience, that my implementation strategy was not effective. I should have tested the course more thoroughly among the target user group. This would have identified how the answers should have been formatted and avoided a great deal of repeat work and frustration. I also should have spent more time in Step 3, “…document, in high resolution, everything you are going to be building” (Greer, 2010). By having a clear understanding how the finished product should work and look, I could have avoided many issues.
In retrospect, I learned a great deal from building and maintaining this course. I have since been much more diligent about meeting the user’s needs and ensuring the course is clearly defined.
Greer, M. (2010). The project management minimalist: Joust enough PM to rock your projects. Laureate special edition. Retrieved form http://waldenu.edu