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Archive for November, 2006

Method Acting and Persona

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Bring Your Personas to Life! from Boxes and Arrows

Method acting is a technique in which actors try to replicate the emotional conditions under which a character operates, in an effort to create a life-like, realistic performance. “The Method” typically refers to the practice of actors drawing on their own emotions, memories, and experiences to influence their portrayals of characters.

Your persona is your “character sketch.” For software development projects, it may include information about the persona’s demographics, attitude, goals, environment, and how he or she will interact with your software in the context of the day. More advanced personas will also include detailed descriptions of activities or scenarios—these become the scripts for your persona to follow.

Written by anol

November 18th, 2006 at 5:09 am

Posted in Usability & Design

eLearning Project Management : free eBook

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Plan to Learn: Case Studies in eLearning Project Management [PDF Download]
edited by Beverley Pasian and Gary Woodill, provides 22 case studies by authors in eight countries, drawn from both the corporate and educational sectors. The case studies in this 180 page volume deal with a variety of elearning project management issues, including:

- Development of elearning project management skills;
- Importance of leadership;
- Change management;
- Managing risk in an elearning project; and,
- Dealing with cultural conflicts.

Found via : Harold Jarche

Written by anol

November 15th, 2006 at 10:50 am

Blog based contextual conversation

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Over at our ‘official’ group blog Macchiato I wrote a post on Creativity – which sparked some interesting conversations – check it out. Blog based contextual conversation in action – loving it :)

Written by anol

November 10th, 2006 at 9:24 am

Posted in Social Media

Games in the learning landscape

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Unlimited learning : an ebook (PDF) published by ELSPA (the Entertainment and Leisure Software Publishers Association) in association with the Department for Education and Skills’ personalised content team.

‘Unlimited Learning: The role of computer and video games in the learning landscape’ explores the benefits of using games as a teaching tool, and aims to provide a resource for teachers and educationalists, games developers and publishers. It has created a number of exclusive case studies of the benefits of games when used in learning.

From Executive summary

Games allow players to enter environments that would be impossible to access in any other way, eg going back in history, understanding the complexity of running a major city, managing entire civilisations or nurturing families. They require engagement with complex decisions – exploring the effects of different choices and a multiplicity of variables. They offer ongoing and responsive feedback on choices – calibrating closely to the ability level of the individual, and then encouraging them to discover new limits to those abilities. They stimulate conversation and discussion; players share ideas, hints and tips in what increasingly tend to be lively and supportive learning communities.

Games hold out the tantalising potential of a fully personalised, responsive and enjoyable learning experience, one in which part of the pleasure lies in overcoming difficulties and challenges while experiencing the excitement of personal growth.
They are tools for learners’ own creativity and innovation. In the future, the outcome of games will no longer solely be pre-defined and predetermined by developers. Instead, we will see the relationship between players and games developing in a new and radically different way, where players are encouraged to both play and create their own games.

Equally, pedagogical directions are leading learners towards a paradigm of personalisation through interactivity. Play has historically been acknowledged as an important part of learning, and has been present in learning environments through simulations, role plays and quizzes. As digital versions of play have evolved, interactivity-savvy entrepreneurs, professionals, academics and teachers have naturally introduced the palate of technologies afforded them by the modern world into formal and informal learning spaces

Written by anol

November 10th, 2006 at 6:04 am

Big Question : ISD / ADDIE / HPT: Still relevant?

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Learning Circuits Blog’s The Big Question for November is:
Are ISD / ADDIE / HPT relevant in a world of rapid elearning, faster time-to-performance, and informal learning?

In a single word – NO!

It’s kind of deja vu for me – couple of months back I was writing relevance of Gagne’s methodology for ID today, now ISD / ADDIE / HPT. OK – let me give it a shot.

Why ISD / ADDIE / HPT doesn’t work in today’s Learning Experience Design Context

1. Learning Experience Design is a non-linear process, what the ‘Waterfall Methodology’ of ADDIE can’t support. In 5 step by step process of ADDIE, each phase elaborates on the output of the previous phase, without going back ‘upstream’ to reconsider / reevaluate a decision. In an ideal world – linear way of problem solving or decision making works perfectly, but we do not live in a linear, ideal world. Today’s problems or challenges (including learning experience design) are complex, not only complicated. An excellent example of this can be found in an original paper published in Touchstone, written by E. Jeffrey Conklin & William Weil.

A study at the Microelectronics and Computer Technology Corporation (MCC) examined how people solve problems.
A number of designers participated in an experiment. Each was asked to design an elevator control system for an office building. All the participants were experienced, expert designers, but none had worked on elevator systems. Participants were asked to think out loud while they worked on the problem. The sessions were videotaped and then analyzed.

Traditional thinking, cognitive studies, and existing design methods all predicted that the best way to work on a problem like this was to follow an orderly and linear process, working from the problem to the solution. You begin by understanding the problem, which can include gathering and analyzing data. Once you have specified the problem and analyzed the data, you are ready to formulate-and then implement-a solution.


Traditional wisdom for solving complex problems-the “waterfall”

This is the pattern of thinking that we all assume we follow when faced with a problem. The conventional wisdom is that the more complex the problem, the more important it is to follow this orderly flow. If you work in a large organization, you have probably seen the waterfall model of problem solving enshrined in policy manuals, textbooks, internal standards for the design process, and the most advanced organizational tools and methods.

In the MCC study, however, the designers did not follow the waterfall model. They would start by trying to understand the problem, but would immediately jump to formulating potential solutions. Then they would go back to refining their understanding of the problem. Rather than being orderly and linear, the line plotting the course of their thinking looked more like a seismograph for a major earthquake, as illustrated in the diagram. We call this pattern both chaotic, for obvious reasons, and opportunity-driven, because in each moment the designers are seeking the best opportunity to progress toward a solution.


Actual pattern of problem solving – the “seismograph”

This non-linear process is not a defect, not a sign of stupidity or lack of training, but rather the mark of a natural learning process. It suggests that humans are oriented more toward learning (a process that leaves us changed) than toward problem solving (a process focused on changing our surroundings).

2. Development Problems or Problem of Designing in silos: as you can see ADDIE or any other structural methods promote the concept of – Analyzing at the beginning and Evaluation at the end. In between – the content development team work in silos and deliver the final product to the ‘client’ for evaluation. No rapid prototyping in between, no field test no persona sketching. This is a pathway to disaster leading towards considerable rework if the ‘outcome’ is not satisfactory.

Also ‘Analysis’ here – means interview with couple of project manager and SME’s – to gather the need! No connection with actual learner at all! Even in the process of analyzing SME viewpoints the instructional designer is making a fundamental assumption that visualization of the development team and the client is in-sync, which is hardly possible in any case.

3. Contextual gap : again ‘Analysis’ phase assumes that there is a pre set problem and the learning content / initiative is going to solve that! It’s like a solution seeking for problem. I wrote this before: …before doing training needs analysis – please, do go through a business needs analysis. It may not be the same as the strategic direction or vision statement of the company; it’s more complex. We are dealing with different goals and perspectives. What needs to be learnt varies from the point of view of the CXO, training manager, product manager/department head and the learner. Catering to all viewpoints is a daunting task, but, believe me, it’s the first and foremost task to do. Any shortcut is a pathway to doom’s loop. We can use 3 converging circles (inspired by Jim Collins) to formulate the business context analysis of learning needs.

So if ADDIE doesn’t work, what is our alternative? Although I am dead against of any ‘structural development process (each learning need is unique), but if you really need to have a structure – consider adopting Successive Approximation process suggested by Michael Allen. I will try to blog about it ASAP.

Here goes what others have to say :

Written by anol

November 8th, 2006 at 4:32 pm