Here is a whistle stop tour of some of my formative experiences making digital media within education. This is to demonstrate applied technical skills in education with relatively decent production values that isn’t necessarily evident in the rest of the portfolio.
Wimba Create support resource – This is a hilarious throw back to my internship at the University of Bristol. It is over a decade old but actually one of my better LOs. The embed codes no longer work unfortunately.
Link to an example: Weirdly it is still live so here is the first resource I ever made to support Wimba Create.
Examples from Capita Project
Capita – The first role I had where I was writing and developing from storyboards was on the University’s partnership project with Capita. For this project we gave content as part of a CPD offering for the NHS that we could re-purpose for our own use.
The developing was done in an early version of Xerte and look incredible dated now. All in all the department redeveloped hundreds of these learning objects.
For my part it was a great experience writing storyboards for linear eLearning screens and managing assets to a third party template. There was a set amount of interactivity requested and a certain number of interactivities to choose from. It was certainly more structure and rigour than I was used to and although UWE still doesn’t do formal storyboards outside of budgeted video work it certainly showed me the process behind it.
Link to example: Form and function of the respiratory system
Pressure Sore Quiz
Pressure Sore Quiz – In my early career at UWE I did a fair bit of development for the NHS that I never saw again once published. NHS work was particularly difficult as you had to manage graphic patient images coupled with poor data management. Questions like:
- Where did these images come from?
- Who holds the rights for it?
- Where do we store consent to use it?
One of the best looking pieces I worked on was a pressure sore evaluation activity. Picture above. This was developed from pictures with a subject matter expert. It was authored in Adobe Presenter 8. So now it is looking a bit dated.
Images from uChoose authoring system and player
Virtual Patients – The Faculty invested heavily in a system that supported a branching eLearning authoring system called uChoose.
This system was developed in house and although it has fallen behind technologically it was an interesting tool to author in. Being a conversation simulator you had a node based authoring tool. It would have been impossible to author through a more traditional storyboard for these kind of activities.
These patients involved many different decision points and conditional branching. They are complicated to quality assure and accumulate digital assets for. They tended to use a lot of avatars due to the amount of different videos needing production.
Link: Virtual Patient
Images from LO ‘Only Connect’
Only Connect – One of the worst aspects of working at a University is the strict firewalls between content that you produce and those who you might have a vested interest in seeing it. One of the most open examples of learning objects created directly by me is the ‘Only Connect’ project, a writing project pilot that transferred content from one to one tutorials to the online sphere.
In truth, it was a spectacular failure in terms of broadening out to the wider project however I learnt a lot about writing doing it. It is authored in iSpring 8 and includes activities, video and lightweight animation. My choice of authoring products was limited for this project and in hindsight I probably wouldn’t have used a PowerPoint based rapid eLearning tool for this project.
Link: Only connect
Example of Welcome Videos
Welcome Video – The more senior I get in my current organisation the more divorced I get from authoring digital assets. However, I tend to do skills training for new courses. Part of this is recording welcome videos. We have recently been using green screen technology to do this coupled with Camtasia 2018. It is surprisingly lightweight for the results. It helps me get to know people and produce something in my daily routine.
Interview Learning Object – I attended an interview recently where I had to make something from scratch. I wildly misjudged what they were expecting and made a storyboard and LO for an entry level mathematics course. They were expecting a video or individual animated asset but I chose to use a new piece of software so I at least got some CPD out of the exercise. In the end I was up against an internal candidate and they didn’t get back to me for three weeks. They are now my enemy. The LO is below. Rise is by far the easier of the parts of Articulate but as it is industry standard I thought I should know some of it more intimately.
I have always believed in the need for a Learning Technologist to embrace generalism in their praxis. Too niche an outlook is problematic in that it leads the practitioner to focus on the affordances of a technology and your relationship with that technology rather than the complicated ecologies that exist within a large organisation. How that these ecologies can be harnessed for specific teaching needs / goals. The more senior you become the wider your view on these products are. I still spend time producing digital media. This is to ensure I know what I am talking about but also that I connect with our academic staff regularly.
Helping Others – The next generation
As a manager I get to take credit for a lot of other peoples hard work but I also must recognise the amount of time I spend developing my staff to get them to a reasonable level of development experience quickly. Below are two outputs that aren’t my own but were done within the probation period of junior members of my team.
Recording at your desk (iSpring done during HELM MOOC) Krystina Selley
Chronic Pain OER (Animated video using Videoscribe and Premiere Pro)
Professionalism in clinical practice LO (branching eLearning made using ADAPT / Learning Pool and Panopto) James Rawlings
What will I do differently in the future? Well I was desperate to still practice as a content developer. In the summer of 2019 I worked on a small project in social work where we used Thinglink to provide a family tree of case histories. We used the system within Blackboard as embedded content. It helped me understand the additional steps needed to make enriched media accessible. I could have given this project to someone else but y’know what? I learnt something by doing it and I found it very fun. Content development is fun. By doing it I could maintain credible advice to those I manage.
However, the yearning to get my hands dirty with content creation didn’t disappear. My reflections above did start me on a path to my new role at the NHS. I need to find a sideways move that reflected my seniority as a practitioner but not necessarily as a line manager. I needed to get my hands dirty.
Evidence Part 2 (Post UWE)
The Postgraduate Medical Education Dashboard – Using a mixture of Excel, PowerBI and MS Teams I constructed a dashboard of metrics. This is not a learning technology project per se but it does evidence digital transformation work outside of delivering learning. The idea was simple, curate openly available quality metrics about UHBW and present them alongside internal metrics to help inform conversations around quality. Hence why some of the below images are slightly redacted. I had used PowerBI at all before this project nor had I any Business Intelligence experience. This was a satisfying challenge.
Updating the online induction – The other part of my role was to update the online induction. This means taking the weird selection of videos created during the pandemic and turning this into a good online experience that works with the new LMS. This we rolled out in a few phases.
Phase 1: repackage the existing content (December 21) from a part of an obscure online package.
Phase 2: Undergo a learning design process to slim down and update the content for redevelopment (Jan – May).
Phase 3: Re-imagine how our processes work with the new LMS (August). Now this was not particularly successful as a stratagem.
Due to a perfect storm of COVID, COVID related absence and a general antipathy towards online learning from the SMEs but we managed to do something for our big intake in August.
Reflection Part 2 (Post UWE)
There were a few things I have learnt about technical skills and professional competences post this new role and new project.
- For learning design to be good it has to be consensual. It doesn’t matter how good the instructional designer / developer / digital learning designer is if they care about the output more than the SME its not going to be great. This is covered more in Specialist Area 2 Supporting online learning for willing and unwilling participants.
- I learnt from the dashboard work that my skills and instincts are transferable to none digital learning endeavours.
- Just because I am not especially proud of the outputs of a project doesn’t mean its not a big step forward for the stakeholders.
What would I do differently from working on content more directly again? I would shorten all processes. Any complication meant delay and a worse end product. Just because of the circumstances. If you doubt the energy in place to complete a project you are working on then don’t let the best be the enemy of the good, else you will end up with what was ‘doable’.