University scuba diving students studying Marine Science
Scuba divers must understand dive planning in order to increase safety. If maximum dive times are exceeded, they could end up with decompression sickness (DCS, a.k.a. “the bends”). An assessment of prior student performance demonstrated a lack of proficiency with dive tables, exposing the divers and the client to avoidable danger and liability.
I proposed a needs analysis of the most common dive table mistakes followed by the creation and implementation of an online learning solution to improve student performance and cut down on risk.
After assessing the pitfalls from test scores, I identified the areas that were appropriate to address with eLearning. I started with the PowerPoint presentation used by the instructor and brought it into Storyline. After reordering and regrouping categories based on logical progression and the prior needs analysis to create the storyboard, I entered the first review cycle. Upon approval, I created the complete script and functional prototype. After another review cycle, I created the final product you see here. My audience of undergraduate and graduate students accessed their courses almost exclusively on desktop and laptop computers, not on mobile devices. I kept that in mind during the whole process, making the best use of the real estate on the screen, knowing (from surveying students every semester) that the course would almost never be opened on a mobile device. Because I was working with students 18-30 years old, I used a language and pace that suited that audience. If this had been for a wider audience, I would have made different decisions on where and how to include humor and would certainly have slowed down while speaking.
Because the PowerPoint was uploaded directly into Storyline, it was simple to reorganize the slides and visualize the topics and intended branching scenarios. This version of the storyboard allowed the client to visualize what the flow of the eLearning would be with his own PowerPoint slides that he was familiar with. Recognizing text and images from his slides made it much easier than showing new artwork from the onset.
After approving the new layout, I moved into the visuals. I used a Storyline template to quickly put together a sleek look, but made a large number of customizations along the way.
This storyboard included the text for every text box as well as the script for the recorded narration. I worked very closely with the client and was able to make changes on the fly, so instead of creating a complete document as I normally would, I wrote the script within the notes section of Storyline so that the narration could be seen on every slide along with the initial slide visuals. Unlike typical visual storyboards, the format in this case was heavily adjusted for the client.
At this point, I began to create the prototype. The prototype consisted of the same slides that were in the visual mockups and the visual storyboard: title, intro, two demonstrations of tables questions, three info slides, and 3 different types of quiz questions complete with feedback. This is where the project began to come to life. By programming the states, triggers, and animations, the client was able to get a sense of how it would truly feel when completed.
I am a believer in Clark and Mayer’s personalization principle that describes how people learn and retain information better from a human voice than a robot voice, so I committed to recording the audio myself.
Relying on sound cognitive psychology, students learn best by having assessments of their skill and knowledge. Assessments are most effective if they are done repeatedly and spaced out. I created ten quiz questions that were placed at the end of the module with no stakes (i.e. they did not affect student grades). I then created 10 more questions to make up a low-stakes quiz that came at the beginning of the next in-person (or virtual, during covid) class period. These were to accompany in-class practice, all culminating in the demonstration of student knowledge and skills on a major exam. I carefully crafted examples that drew on student comprehension of the entire lesson and varied the level of difficulty to help students see where they needed to improve. Furthermore, I authored specific and direct feedback for answers on the in-module quiz questions you see in this course.
After getting the green light, it was smooth sailing to the finish line. I have extensive experience with Storyline, so after the prototype was completed and approved, it was a matter of scaling it out and building up the rest of the slides.
I had access to student quizzes and test scores and was able to run analyses based on student performance pre- and post- implementation of the eLearning solution. The empirical data showed a statistically significant improvement in student performance, and surveys agreed that students felt more confident after the eLearning than they would have if they had only attended class. I analyzed the quizzes and tests to find commonly missed questions and drew connections between the types of questions that were still challenging students. Based on my findings, I tweaked the project by adding more direct quiz questions and made the guided examples more thorough.