An eLearning prototype is a complete representation of the course in terms of instructional design, assessments, GUI, activities, interactions and audio. As an instructional designer, it is important to get the prototype of your course approved before you embark on the development of the online course.
While preparing a prototype, it’s very important to pick portions of the storyboard that it represents the course completely. Usually, we make a lot of mistakes such as these.
1. Having more slides
I would say that just 10% of your course will be adequate for preparing a prototype. So, if you have 40-50 screens, you may need 4-5 screens or a little more. You should be cautious here because we tend to choose screens which look nice and use them to prepare a prototype. It is important to ensure that the prototype contains screens that represent the entire course.
2. Not checking its compatibility
Usually, we do not check the browser and LMS compatibility of the prototype. Sometimes, this could land you in serious trouble. Make sure that the prototype conforms to the standards specified, such as SCORM or AICC.
3. Taking only the first module
Most of the times, we just take the first module of a course and use it as the prototype. The first module is often used to introduce the course to the learner and hence may not have all the elements of the course and you will not actually achieve what you want to achieve in the prototype – that is getting an approval from the authority. He may say, “Yes, it’s good. You can go ahead.” But, when you go ahead, you will have a lot of problems with the other modules. You need to see that the prototype contains all features of the final product.
4. Recording audio with machine voice
Many of us use text-to-speech software in prototypes of online courses. Even the stakeholder may approve it, but then when it comes to the ‘actual’ course, he may have a lot of problems with the machine voice. So, it is better you tell him that you would be using a ‘software narrator’ in the course.
I would like to conclude by saying that you need to select screens that demonstrate all the key elements of the course; you should use a professional narrator to ensure accurate pronunciation and an effective tone. This is the most important thing because, most of the time this is where we get into massive jams. At the last minute, when the course is about to be launched, we find that it doesn’t work, or it does not get tracked on the LMS, or it does not open in a particular browser or device. So, the prototype needs to be checked on various browsers, devices, and LMSs.
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