Client Project

Activities for Client Project

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1. Choose a Client

The client is someone who has an educational problem to solve. Your client might be a teacher in a K-12 school, a university professor or someone in business or industry. You will work with your client to clearly identify: who the training will be for (the target audience), the conditions under which the instruction will take place and what changes your client expects as a result of the instruction.

2. Choose a Topic for Instruction

The topic should address a specific educational need. Describe the importance and need for the instruction. The term education is interpreted in a broad sense and might include:

3. Describe the Target Audience

This description of the target audience should be a common sense interpretation of the target audience's abilities, motivations and learning styles. The people who will read your description will be making decision about the appropriateness of the instruction for the learners that they have in mind. The description should be readable but comprehensive enough to show that you have a clear idea of the challenges that you face in assisting the learners in developing the necessary skills and understandings.
Some learner characteristics that you might consider include:

4. Describe General Goals and Performance Objectives

Describe the overall goals as well as more specific performance objectives. Consider the inclusion of at least some sub-goals that address affective or motivational factors that will allow the learners to see the value of what they are learning. Each performance objective should include:

List the Sources for Instructional Goals

Your primary source for instructional goals is your client, but you may be required to assist your client in specifying and rationalizing the instructional goals. Appropriate sources for instructional goals include:

5. Field Trials

The rapid prototyping approach to instruction design assumes that, despite extensive planning, the perfect design is unlikely to emerge in the first iteration. The field trial component is a critical aspect of the design process that is not complete until the instructional design reliably achieves the stated goals. With the advent of computer-based instructional programs, the field trials are beginning to be classified in two general phases: Alpha testing which is conducted while the overall design is in flux (features are being changed or added) and beta testing that is conducted once the features are fixed.

  1. Alpha Testing

    Alpha testing begins when the designer believes that the instruction has addressed most of the goals and that the insights gained from user feedback will be more valuable than the effort expended in conducting the trials.

    • Experts Opinions

      Alpha testing often begin by drawing on the experience of experts who understand the instructional goals and the abilities of the target audience. The expert might be someone who has recently mastered the instructional goals or, ideally, someone who has experience in teaching the target audience. This phase of alpha testing may be conducted when the instruction is still emerging. The designer often "demonstrates" the basic features and flow of the instruction while seeking the experts' opinions.

    • Observations of Target Audience Learning
      The second phase of Alpha testing is conducted with the members of the target audience "operating" the instruction as opposed to the "designer" demonstrating the instruction. The designer takes an objective stance in making notes of problems that the learners have in operating and learning from the instruction. These notes are then used in revising the instruction to improve ease-of-use and success in meeting the instructional goals. Version control is critical in all phases of the instruction. A typical method of version control is to give each successive version of the alpha instruction a higher number (e.g., Tutor A1, Tutor A2, Tutor A3...).

      The target audience should represent an appropriate range of abilities and learning styles. Entry ability test may be given to determine the appropriateness of the target audience. Embedded tests may also be used in determining if the instruction is addressing specific objectives. Early phases of alpha testing are often conducted with only a few members from the target audience. In current networked-based environments, the latter phases of alpha testing often include 1000s of alpha testers.

  2. Beta Testing

    Alpha tests are often followed by beta tests. The assumption is that the instructional product is still incomplete but the "features" of the program are fixed. Beta testing should be conducted in settings which reflect the anticipated conditions under which the instruction will be used.

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