This week Edward Ley, Instructional Designer at Agylia Group runs us through a week in his working life.
Edward has multiple years of experience developing educational programmes in a range of educational settings, but is in only in his 5th month as an Instructional Designer with Agylia. This is his first build as the Lead.
It’s always exciting to be meeting clients and breaking new ground. Today is no exception. I can’t believe that the 10,000 words of content the SME has delivered can ever be honed into a mobile learning course.
I meet with Jason Woodford, Project Manager - Content Services, to discuss budget and timescales. Jason’s project deadlines are tight, but I’m determined to succeed.
Later in the morning Simon Jefferies, Head of Consulting Services, briefs me on the client and their requirements and provides me with some important insight into the mobile learning course we are going to produce. They are a high profile professional services organisation who are contracted by the UK Government to produce and deliver training to the Civil Service. They are demanding, but at the same time very supportive. The exact educational outcomes of the project are revealed during the kick-off meeting, which lasts most of the afternoon.
I end the day feeling apprehensive of the demands of the project, but excited by the design possibilities and the journey that lies ahead. Before the day ends Jason runs through some of the more critical aspects of the project I need to be aware of. I feel really appreciative of the fact that I am part of a dedicated team. I couldn’t do this alone.
I’m starting the day beginning to make sense of the learning. The overall aim of the learning is to improve the learner’s ability to use “appropriate and accurate data analysis techniques allowing them to making the best decisions in accordance to government strategy”. It’s very technical, so I’ll need to work hard to get my head around the subject matter.
I’m starting with the words. The content needs to be proofed and trimmed. Although the final mobile learning course will be interactive and engaging, words are still at the heart of the learning journey. The instruction needs to be clear and the learning succinct. Every word needs to be relevant. My storyboard begins to take shape.
Wednesday: visual design
Today I need to turn my focus onto the visual aspects of the project. We need to give the client an idea of what the look and feel the mobile learning course might be. We’re using the Adapt platform. This is great in terms of maximising the mobile capability of the learning, but very demanding in terms of styling. My HTML and CSS skills will be tested to their limits to say the least. I know I’ll need to rely on a graphic designer for much of the design.
Later that afternoon I meet with Chris McAleer, one of our graphic designers, and Jason to discuss design possibilities. A style guide provided by the client offers guidance on design and we agree to base the design around the three colours found in their logo. The exact look and feel will depend on what Chris comes up with. We’ll have to wait until Friday to find out.
I turn my attention to the structure. I spend some time in the morning working with Jo Millichip-Sweet, a fellow Instructional Designer, deciding how to best transpose the content into the various Adapt components. I need to make sure that the mobile learning expereince facilitates the learning outcomes. Jo is very experienced at using Adapt and provides me with invaluable advice. We’re beginning to piece together a draft structure for the course.
It is also important to make sure that our Alpha proposals are solvent. The client wants the content to be made accessible through a sub-menu. This requires customisation of the Adapt source code. In the early afternoon I meet with Richard Whomersley, one of Agylia’s more experienced Instructional Designers. He casts his coding expertise over the client’s specification. Richard is happy that the sub-menus are possible and can be done to meet the client’s needs. Reassuringly he invites me to consult him should I need any guidance during implementation. I’m pretty sure that I will. I complete the day working on the build. We need to provide the client with initial outlines and examples within a few days.
Friday: the story so far
Today I need to do a bit of a ‘stock check’. All ideas are in their infancy, but I can see a coherent picture beginning to emerge. I’m confident we’ll give the client plenty to think about for the Beta development phase. I spend a bit of time reflecting on how things have gone and make a note of a few issues I need to address.
Later in the day Chris comes back with the completed sample look and feel; it’s clean and yet looks sophisticated. He’s certainly lived up to his reputation as a designer.
We’re fast approaching the end of the week. Jason wants the Alpha storyboard and samples to be ready for delivery by close of play on Monday. We are at the very beginning there is still a lot of design to be implemented but it’s been a good start. Thankfully I’ve got the weekend to catch my breath.
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