After I finish developing an eLearning module I am always wondering if the final product represents a good design. So far project stakeholders are really happy with what I have created but I wanted to measure with a checklist or some sort of evaluation tool if the design was good, and I found what I consider a “wonderful tool” (like everything Cathy Moore creates 🙂 ) called “Checklist for a strong learning design” (Moore, 2015).
I took her tool and I wrote it in excel and I added a point system in the spectrum section to get at the end a score, where the maximum possible score is 70.
|Checklist for strong learning design|
|No.||Action-oriented materials||Spectrum||Information dump|
|1||The goal of the project is to change performance in a visible, measurable way.||The goal of the project is to transfer information into people’s brains.|
|2||Objectives used to design the materials describe visible, on-the-job behaviours that are necessary to reach the project goal (“sell”, “lead”, “encrypt”, “schedule”, “design”).||Objectives describe knowledge (“understand”). If behaviours are described, they are behaviours that happen during a test (“identify”, “explain”, “define”).|
|3||The format of the materials (webinar, PDF, etc.) is determined by the type of activities and users’ needs.||The format of the materials is determined by tradition, the LMS, or what’s most convenient for the client.|
|4||The materials feel like one immersive, challenging activity or a series of activities with little interruption.||The materials feel like a presentation that’s occasionally interrupted by a quiz.|
|5||The authors appear to respect the learners’ intelligence and previous experience.||The authors appear to doubt the learners’ ability to draw conclusions and assume they have no experience.|
|6||Activities make people practice making decisions like the ones they make on the job.||Activities are quizzes, trivia games, or other knowledge checks that don’t happen on the job.|
|7||Activity feedback shows people what happens as a result of their choice; they draw conclusions from the result.||Activity feedback explicitly tells people “correct” or “incorrect”; they aren’t allowed to draw conclusions.|
|8||People can prove that they already know material and skip it.||Everyone is required to view every bit of information regardless of their existing knowledge or performance on activities.|
|9||Reference information is supplied outside the activity in job aids; people practice using the job aids in activities.||Reference information is delivered through the course or training; people are expected to memorize it or come back to the course for review.|
|10||Characters are believable; they face complex, realistic challenges with emotionally compelling consequences.||Characters seem fake (e.g.’ preachy or clueless); their challenges are minor and are presented as intellectual exercises.|
|11||Visuals are used to convey meaning.||Visuals are used as “spice”.|
|12||Photos of people show humans with realistic expressions. Illustrations appear intended for grownups.||Visuals of people are stock photo models who are over-acting or childish cartoons.|
|13||In eLearning, audio narration is used only for:
> Dramatic realism (e.g. characters’ voices in a scenario).
> Explanations of complex or rapidly-changing graphics.
> Motivational messages and explanations from people who really exist (e.g. CEO, subject matter expert).
|Audio narration is used to:
> Deliver information while displaying simple, static screens.
> Redundantly read text on the screen.
> Lecture people about what they should or shouldn’t do.
|14||The writing is concise, uses contractions, and sounds like a magazine (Flesch Reading Ease score of 50 or higher in Word).||The writing is wordy and stiff; it sounds like a textbook or insurance policy (Flesch Reading Ease score of 49 or lower in Word).|
|TOTAL (Out of 70)||0|
With this checklist I can go through different aspects of the course design, give a score and then determine if the design is more an information dump or an action-oriented course. The idea is to build better eLearning products that are more in the spectrum of action-oriented courses. Of course, I am still learning and I think my first products unfortunately are in the “information dump” side but one of the last project I created got a score of 54 out 70 which is not too bad.
This evaluating exercise made me think on new design strategies I should consider in my next projects and how I can build better and stronger courses to achieve the maximum of 70 points.
Thanks Cathy Moore for all the work you do and for making the work of instructional designers a lot easier 😀
Reference: Moore, C. (2011). Checklist for strong learning design. Retrieved from http://blog.cathy-moore.com/2011/07/checklist-for-strong-elearning/