How do I stop tinkering!?

Help!

Every time I go through my course I see something else that I want to add, enhance, reorganize, or rewrite! My timeline is somewhat squishy, so no-one is asking when it will be done.

Any tips on when to stop? or how to stop?!

Judith

13 Replies
Graham Fox

Honestly, if you are working by yourself and without the pressure of a timeline, keep tinkering. Making an eLearning product polished can be a long process, especially if you are making a large course. As long as you aren't completely redoing the whole course you are probably making it better. I think of creating eLearning like writing. The 1st draft is always going to suck a little and it takes revisions to get the really good course to come out.

One strategy I use is to do a full run through and take detailed notes of what I want to change as I play. I then go through and make those enhancements. This lets me keep tinkering and making things better, but because I have a large list to get through I stay a little more focused.

You can also focus some of your creative energy on showing your course to other people and then working on the feedback they provide. They might notice things you've completely missed and provide plenty of things to work on.

Judith Blackbourn

Thanks, Graham. I've noticed that when I have a new idea, it almost always improves the course!

Obviously, following this forum continually exposes me to new concepts and ways to present information.

I did have a meeting with my bosses (just 2) and captured all their feedback. Now that I've made those changes, I'm going through it again and trying to look at it more objectively as a learning device.

At some point, I may try to post it or part of it for Heroes' comments -- the course is quite large!

Graham Fox

Capturing feedback is really hard as well, because I've found that you are the only person who really cares about the course. If you do find someone who will give you good detailed feedback hang on to them!

Sadly, the only reliable way I've found to get real feedback is payment. I've rounded up people who I can pay 8 - 12 dollars an hour, created some forms, and sent them through courses to get real feedback.

Bruce Graham

Judith,

At some point you need to "finish".

Later - suggested every 3 months...you can "review".

Having a date in the diary for review helps you actually think about the need to change things, and gives you adequate time to build up a good set of reasoned changes, without feeling that you are "tinkering".

At some point, you need to move on.

Bruce

Judith Blackbourn

Thanks, Bruce and Graham, good suggestions.

I do have a review scheduled every week with my boss and his boss, but we don't always go through the course (sometimes other things are on the agenda). Luckily, my boss is very good at feedback, being one of those rare birds, a communicative IT guy.(oops, duck)

And I know I must set a completion date. Hey! How about the end of the year?!

Bob S

Hi Judith,

One idea is to keep a journal of  things you want do "next time".

That way, when you see something you want to change in your course, instead of feeling compelled to reopen and tweak the course (yet again), you have the option of recording the idea/concern/technique in your journal so you can remember it for your next course.

Welcome to the perfectionist's club. 

Bob

Chris  Glass

I agree with Bruce. It is just like software development. You just need to do it and finish it. That is version 1.0. Then make changes you see later and that is 2.0. These would be changes you get from feedback from users or things you see. I do like the journal idea. You can use something like a bug tracker to help track your changes and "feature enhancements."

You can use something like fogbugz or trello to help you manage your changes for the next version. 

Natalia Mueller

It's great that you've had that kind of freedom to continue improving. I learn more with every course I build and I don't think I've ever felt like I had the time I wanted to make it my absolute best. I always find things later on that would have made it better. I'm glad you' have set a deadline, though. Like Bruce said, you can always assign it a review cycle to continue improvements as needed. If it's off your plate you'll be able to take on new projects!