The Brass Tacks: ID Analysis
Updated: Feb 12
Taking something apart to explore all the pieces is a fantastic way to learn about it!
After all, isn't it all the parts under the hood that you need to understand in order to make a machine function? Analyzing instructional design projects is a great way to learn about different approaches to learning processes, get design ideas, and consider what makes a great project stand out from the crowd. While I'm used to taking apart lesson plans and curriculum, my experience with analyzing and reviewing ID objects is limited and I'm excited to learn more! In this post, I'm going to grab a screwdriver and get into the gears of an ID project to figure out what makes it tick.
The course I'll analyze today is called Working with Challenging Members. I found this training through the Articulate E-Learning Heros community. Within the E-Learning Examples section of this website, I searched for “scenario”, which led me to this course.
What workplace performance does this scenario-based e-learning support?
Build critical thinking skills
Build skills impossible/impractical to gain on the job performance
Engage a target audience that already has basic job familiarity
What are the instructional goals?
Goal #1: The learner will think through their approach to conflict
Goal #2: The learner will communicate effectively with someone who is causing a workplace conflict in order to meet organizational goals
Who are the learners?
What are the scenario learning domains?
What are the terminal learning objectives?
Given a challenging situation with a coworker, the learner will select effective actions and statements to effectively resolve the conflict.
What are the enabling learning objectives?
Select appropriate settings for sensitive conversations, identify actions that uphold organizational policies, communicate respectfully
Complexity of responses:
High outcome precision
Limited interface response options
High social presence
Interface response options:
Office & meeting room
We are told that we have been president of a club for a few months, and we are introduced to Jeremy, the previous president, who is causing interpersonal conflicts with some of the board members. Our task is to address this conflict.
Does your scenario outcome require identification and analysis of data?
Types of guidance provided:
Open vs. closed response options: response options are multiple-choice (closed) rather than multiple select (open) 
Interface navigation options: few options are available at one time 
Feedback: provided both immediately when incorrect choices are selected (see the green "tips" box that comes up in the image below), as well as at the end of the training.
Example repositories linked to organizational knowledge base: at certain times in the course, a button appears that offers the learner links to two resources. The first is a website link and simultaneous download for the standard Rotary Club Constitution, a 19-page document. The second is a website link to locate support representatives for the organization.
Instructional and Immediate: at times green "Tip" boxes appear to coach the learner on how to revise their choices to lead to improved outcomes
Intrinsic: By selecting optimal answers, team members are happy with you and work together successfully. When non-optimal choices are selected, the team becomes frustrated with you and the organization suffers.
Delayed: At the end of the training, broad feedback is offered (regardless of choices made during the course) about how to navigate challenging personalities
Done well: Feedback is provided via optional "Tips" boxes at several points during the training, as well as at the end.
Improvements to consider: Additional feedback about why the choices are optimal or not would be helpful before the learner ends up at a 'dead end' and has to start over.
Why these improvements are necessary: During the initial play-through of this course, some of the intrinsic feedback was a little confusing. Why exactly were the coworkers unhappy with that choice? It took multiple tries to understand what was expected, and adding more guidance could increase the confidence and understanding of the learner.
Guidance on how to make the improvements: Add an additional character that provides guidance as you make choices, or more frequently available "Tip" buttons.
Done well: The buttons are clear and intuitive, and the course is clear and easy to navigate!
Improvements to consider: At the beginning, we are told that we can reference the resource documents "throughout the module", however, this button only appears a few times. Consider making it available at all times.
Why these improvements are necessary: I found myself unsure of which choice to make at times and wasn't offered the resources until I had selected an incorrect option. Since one of the learning goals is to implement and uphold the club charter, it should be accessible consistently to encourage this.
Guidance on how to make the improvements: Move the resource button to one corner of the screen and make it permanently available.
Done well: The story is clear and moves naturally from one scene to the next.
Improvements to consider: There are many endings to the story that only offer the option to start over or go to the end. Consider adding more ways to fix a bad situation and continue on rather than starting over.
Why these improvements are necessary: Some of these progressions felt abrupt, and needing to start over so much felt discouraging. An enormous opportunity in branching scenario courses is allowing learners to use failures as a learning opportunity and reflect on how to improve their choices!  Adding additional guidance and ways to fix the situation could improve the learner's understanding of using communication skills in sub-optimal conditions and increase confidence.
Guidance on how to make the improvements: Rather than each bad choice leading to a screen offering only the options to start over or go to the end, replace several of these dead-ends with an option to move ahead. For example, when the club members are upset about letting Jeremy choose the projects, the learner could be presented with the option to interview the members to hear their perspectives or take a vote about how to proceed.
Done well: One story is clearly presented with relevant, high-quality images.
Improvements to consider: Consider adding narration
Why you think these improvements are necessary: The course is clear and easy to navigate, but very simple. Adding narration would increase engagement and make the scenario more realistic. There are great places where audio would fit, such as Sukiyo's phone call at the start of the course.
Guidance on how to make the improvements: Add narration in at least a few slides. I suggest; Meet Jeremy, Sukiyo's phone call, and Jeremy's meeting (both with and without the other club members).
 Clark, R. C., & Mayer, R. E. (2012). Scenario-based e-learning: Evidence-based guidelines for online workforce learning (1st ed.). Pfeiffer.
 Pappas, C. (2021, May 12). The Importance Of Raising Self-Confidence In Online Training. eLearning Industry. Retrieved February 12, 2022, from https://elearningindustry.com/importance-raising-self-confidence-in-online-training