When creating any computer-based training, there are dozens of decisions that need to be made. While the training I created for this course was only one small component of what a final version would look like, I needed to make many design decisions, keeping in mind my audience, ADA compliance, terminal and enabling objectives, and seat time for the learner.
The instructional strategy I chose to use for this training was that of a tutorial. I chose this because learners in the Development Operations field really need to see and interact with the screens that they will be using while on the job. I felt strongly that the simulation used in the course needed to be comprised of screenshots taken directly from the application the learners will be using. Some other design decisions I made along the way had to do with how many terms to define in the training and which ones did not need to be defined because they are staples in the industry. I consciously chose to add a bit of humor to the training with some of the pictures that appeared in the slides. Finally, I wanted to be sure to not use a completely white background because of how bright it can appear; I chose a very light shade of grey, along with a darker contrasting color for the text.
Accessibility is very important so that all learners have equal access to the training. The training has closed captions, alt tags, a navigation slide, 14-16 point font for the body text, 20 point bold text for the headers, and 24 point bold for the title text. At no point in the training are bold or italics the only method used to alert learners to important information. The colors were picked using a color contrast checker website.
Various decisions surrounding interface design and visual design were incorporated in this training. The font sizes as detailed above were selected to help with the readability of the text. “Calibri” was selected as the font style due to its readability. All caps was used only when using abbreviations, which is virtually impossible to avoid in an IT training. The text was spread out and did not cover the entire length or width of any slide. At no point was the audio directly reading from the slide. As previously mentioned, the background and text colors were run through a color contrast comparison tool and were identified as sufficiently contrasted to facilitate readability. Care was taken to place titles, text, and buttons in the same place on each slide when possible. Learners are able to replay any section of the training at any time; none of the training slides automatically advance. The learners must tell the computer to proceed to the next slide. The training topic was carefully selected and the amount of information on each slide was deliberately limited to not have learners experience information overload.
This project brought to light several new insights for instructional designers to consider. ADA compliance and what that means and looks like in a training were among the biggest “ah-ha” moments for me. From font type to font size and color, these decisions are very important. I also liked learning about the color contrast tools on the web. I was not aware of these tools prior to this class. Another important take-away from this class is the importance of the storyboard. I have tried to create trainings or sample work without using a storyboard, and I felt that investing the time in the storyboard process helped the final product flow in a much more cohesive manner. Additionally, creating the storyboard before using the tool to build the training made the work in the tool go much more smoothly.