Thursday, August 6, 2015

Developing Learning Objects in a Team

Developing Learning Objects in a Team

A lot of instructional designers work in a team, but many of them also work independently. They receive a subject, choose images, videos, audio and develop all the objects of their storyboard(s) all by themselves. When you are a lone wolf, the process is usually faster than working in a group. There's no debate about which colors, fonts, images to use. You make all decisions yourself. Unless you have a double personality, you usually will not disagree with yourself, right? 

I used to work in an editorial team where we developed learning objects with help of multiple authoring tools. There was a subject matter expert to develop the content, an editor to revise grammatical mistakes, an artist dedicated to design graphics, and some managers to help us with customer's details, business model, etc. 

With so many people involved, the process to create a simple learning object generally took a lot of time.One would think that the result would always be fantastic. Well, to be honest, No! Most of the times we had to re-do everything, because at some point or the other, we got into developing what we wanted and missed the customer's requisition.

So we decided to create some processes to reduce the re-work:
  • Forms with multiple questions about the customer and the project, i.e. colors,preferences, website, budget, size, content details, etc.
  • Preparation of a color concept and wire-frame to make it more visual.
  • Pre-closure meeting with the customer to answer all their pending queries.
  • Preparation of a Contextual Report, Pedagogical definitions and Course/Learning Object Structure.
Another consideration while working with a team is use of some good project management tools. As a thumb-rule, when there are more than 3 people involved, tools like Jira (Atlassian) or Quickbase (Intuit), come really handy for the revision/approval processes. 

The most important factor in the whole process is patience. With a lot of people sharing and sometimes, even dictating their opinion and point of views, it is very easy to get into arguments. So practice being patient and slowly work your way through understanding and implementing what the client wants and what the team members want.

Hope these tips come in handy for anyone involved in developing content in a team.

Good Luck!

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