In my previous blogs, I have shared some thoughts about the relevance of using prototypes and how they could be beneficial to those who are spearheading eLearning initiatives in their organization. In case you missed them, check out the blogs titled All You Need To Know About Prototypes in E-learning Courses and How Will Prototypes in E-learning Courses Benefit You?
I was having a conversation with my colleague who has successfully handled several eLearning projects and interacts with number of clients and stakeholders on a day-to-day basis. Based on her inputs, I have listed down three primary components that you need to look out in a prototype. They are as follows:
Graphic User Interface: Check out the look and feel of the interface. How are the icons/buttons placed? What are the colors used? Are they according to your corporate style guide? Is the interface easy to navigate? What are the global elements (resources, help, tips, glossary, job aids) that are included? These are some aspects that you need to check out with respect to the GUI of the prototype. After all, they are fundamental throughout the course and therefore, you need to be sure if it would appeal to your end users, matches your corporate guidelines and conforms to your overall learning strategy.
Functionalities: The second aspect that you need to note are the functionalities of the course – Course Menu, Audio, Video elements, Interactivities, etc. Do you need to incorporate the audio? Will the video support the low bandwidth that some of your users might face? What is the format of quizzes or assessments? These are the aspects that you might want to evaluate in a prototype? You may also check out the ease with which a user is able to navigate through the course.
Capturing Key Content on 2-3 Slides: Some slides are more complex than the rest, such as those with level III interactivities, evaluation exercises, simulations or animations. If your course needs such interactivities, it is best to get the prototype capture these elements so that there is no ambiguity in terms of expectations. Two to three slides demonstrating these elements would give you an idea on how the final course will shape up. You will also get an opportunity to run it by some of the end-users and key stakeholders who are closely involved in the development of the course and seek their buy-in.
Getting your eLearning vendors to submit a prototype will enable you to identify changes required in the design, functionalities or learning strategy and make amends early in the course development. It also provides you with an opportunity to test the course with select users to obtain their feedback. This can ensure that the course is in accordance with what your end users expect. In short, it helps test the usability of the course and lays foundation for developing a learner-centric eLearning course.
How often do you seek prototypes from your eLearning vendors? What are the responses that you receive? Please share your experiences in the comment box below.