1. List the two levels of testing as outlined in the presentation and discuss each one in turn. Then describe the types of testing activities for each level of testing.
- Testing for Media Fidelity
- Testing for Effectiveness of Media Delivery
If you record an audio file for a podcast, videotape an interaction, or even want to post an image, these two levels of testing are necessary to ensure that your message will be delivered to the learner.
Let’s take, for example, a recent project I did for another class. We wanted to create 4 videos of interactions between two people – two that would supply examples of ideal interactions showing active listening techniques, and 2 that were negative examples. On the day of the filming, I needed to make sure that there was as little background noise as possible so that the sound quality would be as high as possible. Before starting our filming session, I did some tests to see what the audio would sounds like. By taping for a bit, having the participants speak, and then playing back the video, I was able to have confidence that what I would record would be of an acceptable quality.
Ideally, after each “print” take (the ones you want to use), you would play back the take to make sure that everything was recorded, however, time constraints often don’t allow this. So, I examined the fidelity of the video clips after transferring them to my computer for editing. After editing, I examined the video once again to make sure that the audio, fade-in, fade-out, titling, and editing had been captured in the final output video file.
The second level of testing came into play after I uploaded each of the videos to YouTube. I could view the videos in YouTube, but in actuality, the videos would be playing inside an Articulate Storyline shell, so the right way to do this second level of testing was to create my Articulate Storyline file, upload it to the website, and then test the video within that environment. Even testing the video on my local machine was not as good a test as viewing the Storyline file from the web site, because the learner would be viewing the instructional material from the web site (not as a downloaded program running locally on a laptop, for instance).
If you’d like to see what this instruction looks like, you can interact with it here:
2. What is ADA and how does it apply to the design and development of eLearning materials?
ADA is the American Disabilities Act of 1990, designed to protect the rights of persons with disabilities. ADA defines who a disabled person is, and this is particularly relevant to e-learning materials created for or by the federal government. The 2010 ADA Standards for Accessible Design don’t specifically address electronic information systems, such as those that would include e-learning, however, the Rehabilitation Act of 1973 was amended in 1998 to state that “all electronic and information technology procured, used or developed by the federal government” must be made accessible to people with disabilities (Section 508). Creators of e-learning limit the applicability of their product if they do not design their e-learning to be Section 508 compliant.
I thought this site was helpful in explaining not only what Section 508 compliance means, but it also discusses the design techniques that we as e-learning designers should be cognizant of when trying to accommodate learners with less obvious disabilities, such as Autism, Attention Deficit Disorder, Dyslexia, and others:
Here’s a quote from the article on ADA:
ADA prohibits discrimination and ensures equal opportunity for persons with disabilities in employment, state and local government services, public accommodations, commercial facilities, and transportation. ADA states that a disabled individual is a person who meets at least one of the following tests:
- He or she has a physical or mental impairment that substantially limits one or more of his/her major life activities
- He or she has a record of such an impairment
- He or she is regarded as having such an impairment
I also found this PDF which addresses section 508 as it applies to e-learning:
It gives a quick visual overview of features that can make something ADA and Section 508 compliant, such as readable narrative text, captioned videos, etc.
3. What is your institution’s policy towards ADA and eLearning? Explain what this means in practical terms and what you think the strengths and weaknesses of the policy.
Crosby provides self-paced online learning for distributors of its products, and soon, we hope to provide training for end-users. While we don’t have an official policy, we do make the narration text available for learners to read. We do not provide captioning for our videos. We also do not allow the learner to increase the font size. These are weaknesses that we should address in our next round of e-learning development, especially as we target the larger pool of end-user learners. We have many older individuals in our industry, and their failing eyesight could really be an impairment to learning if we don’t allow them to increase the font size to their liking. In addition, some of our end-users may be hard of hearing due to prolonged exposure to loud construction sites and the operation of heavy equipment. Allowing the learner to read the text is one thing, but if the font size in which it is presented is too small for them to read, then our carefully constructed e-learning course will be reduced to nothing more than a slide show.
4. Revisit the 11 instructional design steps presented in chapter 1 of the text (Design Quickly and Reliably).* Revise this 11 step system using what you now know about development and testing. Try to create your own instructional design process/template that you might actually use. Briefly explain your modifications.
- Identify your underlying goal
- Analyze learners’ needs and abilities
- Analyze instructor needs, abilities and preferences
- Analyze content needs
- Identify what to teach
- Set learning objectives
- Identify prerequisites
- Pick the approach to meet each objective
- Decide the teaching sequence of your objectives
- Create objects to accomplish objectives
- Create tests and assessment activities
- Select learning activities
- Choose Media, with care taken to respect copyrights
- Test Media fidelity in development environment
- Add formative evaluation survey component
- Publish version for evaluation
- Test Media (alpha test)
- Identify participants in evaluation and perform formative evaluation (beta test)
I created specific steps to identify the needs of the instructor and the content, added two steps for media testing, added a step for publishing the media for evaluation, and added two steps for formative evaluation (alpha and beta testing). I also modified the “Choose Media” step to pay careful attention to copyrighted material.