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Design and Implementation of Technology-Based Learning Environments

Spring 2013| Dr. Brenda Bannan| 3 credits

Course Description

Students design and produce multimedia/hypermedia applications based on current theory and research in instructional design and cognitive science. Examines user needs, information models, structure, and media selection and uses to inform design and production of final project.
This course provides students with face-to-face and online learning opportunities to apply principles of instructional design, design research, user research, usability and evaluation and revision techniques to a real world learning technology design project. Students work intensively in a team-based setting to collaboratively and thoroughly design/re-design, produce, collect, evaluate, and analyze data related to the design and/or implementation of a real-world technology solution prototype geared toward a specific instructional or performance problem. The outcome of the course will be a viable and implemented user research plan that allows for several rounds of applied data collection, analysis and revision of a technology-based prototype project.

Reflections & Insights

This course is a continuation of EDIT 732 and focuses on refining of a semi-functional prototype. Our group engaged in two rounds of usability testing for the purposes of determining a number of things:

  • Is the product easy to navigate (intuitiveness)?
  • Does it help users develop or enhance their existing public speaking skills?
  • Are the embedded incentives strong enough to make users want to participate in other user's presentations and provide feedback?
  • Is the feedback provided constructive and valuable?

In the first round of testing, the focus was more on the navigability of the product as the prototype was developed using Balsamiq, a program designed to create web mock-ups. As such, it was limited in terms of our being able to make it functional, but was robust enough to demonstrate how the application would work if it had been built out. We conducted both tests with the same users to see if the revisions made to the prototype had in fact increased usability. Further, the functionality was built out even more to allow the testers to attempt to execute several specified tasks without assistance from the facilitator. We recorded the tester's clicks using screen capture software and integrated laptop microphones which were then reviewed by the facilitator to extract key information that would aid the team in further tweaking the final product.

Usability testing is not something I have encountered in the professional arena as of yet however, I will certainly be better prepared when I conduct my analyses and prepare design solutions knowing what I need to take into account (e.g. considering the technology used to deliver the product, user attitudes and skills, and stakeholder needs). I feel I will be better able to provide recommendations that make sense to my clients, create solutions that meet or exceed their expectations, and fall within or below the budget. If there is anything I have learned it's that analysis up front is critical in meeting the needs of the learner and the stakeholder which will enable me to provide them with a solution that will affect positive change in behavior or performance long after the learner has completed the learning experience.

Professional/Technical Competencies

  • Project Management
  • Leadership
  • Usability Testing Techniques and Analysis
  • User-centered Design

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