Monday, November 14, 2011

JHMI Internship: Phase 3 - Week 6 (starting 10/31/11)

     The majority of this week was focused on trying to develop the remaining modules in my course.  Having the first one completed to a point I was satisfied with, I then went on to develop the remaining eight.  However, what I thought would be a fairly straightforward process actually required more time than expected.  This was partially due to what I had initially feared – making any changes in the overall look and feel later in the development process would require me to backtrack and replicate them in the modules completed earlier to ensure congruency.  Needless to say, constantly checking to make sure the modules were aligned with each other was very time consuming and allowed me to only have three completed by the end of the week.
     Looking back now though, I’m wondering about steps which could have been taken to help streamline the process and make it more efficient.  One idea that comes to mind would be to just keep developing each module (one based on the previous) and not worry about replicating changes until I have the last one (in this case, the ninth) completed.  By this point, the ninth module would ideally have all the elements to be changed incorporated within it such that I could just go back and compare it to the previous modules, make note of the differences, and make changes accordingly.  My only issue with this though is that I fear small changes which may not be so obvious could be overlooked.  In that case, I could try to diligently take notes on a piece of paper (or word processor) of any changes made in certain modules to have as a record to ensure sure all changes are accounted for.  This is something I hope to address with my onsite adviser as I’m sure the issue will resurface in future ISD projects in my career.
     The only other major event this week was a kickoff meeting my onsite adviser arranged for a new course that needed to be developed.  I refer to this event as “major” because it was the first time I got to experience the interaction between clients (requesting training), SMEs and instructional designers to decide upon training requirements.  The client is from the radiology department and they are requesting a course be developed to train clinical staff on Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) safety due to the growing number of incidents that have occurred across the country.  The clients/SMEs provided a PowerPoint (PPT) presentation with the information to be included in the course, but what was presented lacked organization, intuitiveness and interactivity (i.e. another typical boring course).  As our department (i.e. training) seeks to get away from these types of courses, we provided them some possible ideas for how course could be improved.  The end result was that the clients/SMEs said they would go away and rethink their strategy based upon the discussion during the meeting to draft a new proposal for the course content.  At the same, we (i.e. the instructional designers) said we would also try and develop a simple mock-up/prototype solution.
     The main thing I took away from this meeting was the fact that as an instructional designer, I need to be better prepared when attending such meetings in the future.  What I thought was going to be more of an informational session on the course content actually ended up being focused more on logistics (e.g. course packaging, delivery, etc.).  Not to say these issues aren’t important, but I didn’t expect them to be of greater concern than rudimentary aspects of the course itself (especially from the outset).  That being said, I think part of the problem may also have been due to the fact that the clients/SMEs may have expected us to already have a grasp on the content based on the PPT slides they provided.  At any rate, I think the best approach for such meetings in the future would be to do my own homework on the subject matter and come prepared with possible training solutions to offer.  Then again, this was the first time I attended such a meeting so I wasn’t exactly sure what to expect.

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