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Design Process

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A WBT gives control to the learner so they feel they have true ownership of their learning.

In order to effectively produce an interactive instructional module there are certain steps that should be accomplished before production begins. A better product will result if the steps are followed in the order presented below, though elements may be developed in tandem.

Needs Analysis:
Sometimes called Problem Analysis. You should complete this step before reaching the decision to develop a Web-Based Training product.

Before beginning any of the other phases of design and product it is imperative that the project's objectives be written out and clarified. Current popular learning theory recommends that the objectives be written out in a "Learner Outcome" format that will allow for measurements of learner success. This means that if the learner successfully completes the WBT module the learner will be able to do what the outcome requires.

Example: The learner will obtain mosquito larva samples for insecticide resistance surveillance.

Target Audience Description:
It is a good idea to develop this at the same time the objectives are being defined. Different audiences come to the learning forum with their own objectives and background knowledge. It is important to find out if your learners have the pre-knoweledge necessary to ensure that they will understand the concepts and terminology to attempt your WBT module.

Questions that you might want to ask when defining your audience:

  • What type of Internet access does your audience have?
  • What type of computers does your audience tend to have access to? (monitor size, modem speed, and reliability.
  • Do they have the technical sophistication to download and install browser plug-ins?
  • Do they have permission to install software applications from their network administrator?
  • If they don't have Internet access, could they use the module if it is distributed on CD-ROM?

System Requirements:
Set a minimum technology that your audience should have to use the module. You then design and produce that module according to that set of criteria.

Example: If you tell your audience that they can participate in your WBT module with Netscape 3.5 but then you include 'Drag and Drop' style questions; you will have a problem because 'Drag and Drop' only works with borrower versions 4.0 or higher.

In this step, the designer gathers and refines the content material needed to produce the module from the content expert or experts. Having already defined the learner objectives you will have an easier time defining what information is pertinent and should be taught, and what is not.

Most distance learners have tight time constraints so do not include information in the module that they do not need to know.

Outline development:
This involves breaking the content information, or curriculum into manageable portions. Elements are grouped together for consistency. Also at this stage, you begin to list the modules. The requirements include deciding which elements will be best presented with text, graphics, animation, video clips, audio, or combinations of them. Practice questions should be planned at this stage.

Flow chart:
This illustrates the stages the learner will progress through to access the different components of instruction. The flow chart also illustrates the different menu options throughout the module. A truly interactive product will provide the learner options rather than force him/her through a linear progression. Remedial elements and requirements are planned to link with any questions that are used.

See example here.

Navigational Design:
This should only be done after you have a flowchart developed. It is important that the navigational scheme takes into account the flow options that have been expressed in the Flowchart.

Story boarding:
The layouts of each web page are developed, as are the graphical navigation elements, like links, titles, color choices, and graphic theme. Designers choose the images they would like to include in the module.

Here is a list of pages that normally be included in the Storyboard phase:

  1. Introduction
  2. Main Menu
  3. WBT directions and requirements
  4. Submenu example
  5. Text content page example
  6. Video content page example
  7. Bibliography
  8. Animation
  9. Case studies
  10. Glossary

You can view examples of such pages in the Web-Based Training Sample template.


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