9 Replies
Walter Coolman

Your topic is very broad ... and their are a lot of threads and examples already out here that would probably satisfy your query.

Use the search function in the upper right to search topics of your choice, and I'll bet you can find some good stuff. You can also go into the product discussion boards for the individual products you mentioned.

Allen Way

Walter,

Thanks for your reply. It is indeed a broad topic and I'm sure that there are a lot of bits and pieces out there amongst the myriad threads. However, I must have been using the wrong keywords since I was coming up with very little. Thus, I thought to start this thread, hoping to bring some of the ideas together.

--Allen

.

Ray Cole

Like Walter said, this topic is so broad I am not quite sure what kind of advice you are looking for. I think the biggest lever we have is the instructional design of our courses. Everything else is just implementation details :-)

With that in mind, I like to start with the fundamentals. 

  1. Establish the learning objectives. Make sure each objective begins with an "action verb" that describes an observable behavior. That means avoiding verbs like "know," "understand," and "be familiar with." You can't observe someone "knowing" something; but you can observe them acting on that information. Focus your objectives on how learners should *use* knowledge, rather than on conveying the knowledge by itself.
  2. If each learning objective begins with an action verb (e.g., "diagnose" or "identify" or "sort"), then each suggests an activity that learners could perform to demonstrate their mastery of the objective. For example: I'm currently working on a "Gas Safety" course, and one of the objectives is for learners to be able to identify the contents and pressure stored compressed gas cylinders. "Identify" is the verb. How can learners prove that they have mastered this objective? Well, if I put pictures of a half-dozen different gas cylinders in front of them, they should be able to decipher the labels and markings to identify the contents and pressure for each cylinder. So this is an activity I will include in my course.
  3. For activities, the more job-related or real-world the context, the better. I like to use Michael Allen's "CCAF" model to quickly sketch out the essentials of each activity (at least one for each objective). "CCAF" stands for "Context," "Challenge," "Activity," and "Feedback,"
    1. Context: This is the situation leading up to the problem that the learner must solve. Why would someone need to identify the contents and pressure of each of a half-dozen gas cylinders? Maybe they've been asked to take an inventory. So the context might be something like "Your supervisor has asked you to take an inventory of your department's gas cylinders."
    2. Challenge: This is a statement of the actual problem the learner must solve. For this example, it might be something like "For each cylinder in the storage area, identify its contents and pressure."
    3. Activity: This is how the learner will make his or her answers known to the course. Usually this is by clicking, dragging, or typing something into a data entry box. In this case, I'll provide data entry boxes, so my activity instructions might be something like, "Click each cylinder to get a closer look at its label and markings. Then, in the spaces provided, type in its contents and pressure, and then click OK. When you've inventoried all of the cylinders, click Submit and I will review your inventory with you."
    4. Feedback: This comes after the learner has chosen his or her solution(s) to the problem(s) and clicked Submit. At that point, the course provides feedback about the correctness and quality of the learner's choices. This can also be a place to discuss important nuances or provide expert tips and so on related to the learner's choices.
  4. I like to include a Try Again button along with the feedback and encourage the learner to use it if he or she didn't do well on the challenge. This is a way to drive mastery learning since the learner hopefully goes back for a second try if necessary.
  5. I usually require the learner to successfully solve all challenges in the course in order to get credit for completing it. This is another way to drive mastery learning, and with this model, there is no real need for multiple choice quizzes at the end.

Cheers!

    -Ray

Allen Way

Ray,

Glad you chimed in.

I'm not looking for advice so much as hoping to start an exchange of ideas on the topic so folks--me included--can benefit from several people's wisdom. Thus it is broad on purpose.

This was sparked when I watched a webinar from one of my professional organizations by Zach Posner from McGraw-Hill Learning on adaptive learning, closely related to mastery learning, and a Sal Khan YouTube video (https://youtu.be/-MTRxRO5SRA) on mastery learning. This led me to wonder: how are Articulate users putting such concepts into their projects? Thus this thread was born.

That said, I especially liked your points 2 and 3. So taking off from 3, I like seeing examples of how people have moved the education as close as possible to the real work environment. Allen's CCAF model is a great place to start and your example of the gas safety education shows how you did it.

Hope that helps and thanks again for your ideas.

--Allen

.

Daniel Brigham

Ray, I used to work for Knowledge Factor, like 10 years ago, at that point in time the core concept they designed around was mastery, and building a person's confidence in the skills they had. Knowledge Factor has since rebranded, but it appears mastery is still quite important to them. You might check them out. https://amplifire.com/

 

Ray Cole

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the heads-up. I watched the video on the Knowledge Factor home page and I like that they are trying to leverage published studies. From what I could see they have a more abstract "quiz" orientation that doesn't necessarily contextualize the learner's challenges in terms of a realistic job situation, which is a primary focus for me. But otherwise, it looks like they have developed some interesting techniques for implementing spacing, priming, and other evidence-based practices. Our industry needs more evidence-based practice, so I applaud their efforts.

Cheers!

   -Ray

Ray Cole

Hi Daniel,

Thanks for the reference to James Bruno. A year or two ago I did some work for a large company that actually had psychometricians on staff, and their recommendation for multiple choice questions was to favor three answer choices instead of the more usual four. I asked the psychometrician for a reference to the research that supported that choice, since to me it seemed surprising and no one had ever suggested to me that three answer choices would be more instructionally effective than four. I never did get her to send me that citation, but a quick search on James Bruno turns up a paper on exactly that topic, coming to exactly that same recommendation of three answer choices as optimal. Hmm. When I have more time, I will have to see if I can locate a downloadable version of the paper (from 1995) to see how he arrived at that conclusion. It seems counter-intuitive, since dropping down to three answer choices also increases the odds of a guess being correct just by chance (up from 25% if there are 4 answer choices to 33% if there are only 3). But there must be some other factors in play that balance this out.

Anyway, I'm getting off-topic for this discussion. But thanks for the reference!

Cheers!

    -Ray