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Xin' prototype: Questions about Prototyping (an example from my work context)

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Alice (Xin) Huang
11 February 2013

I am not very clear about prototying in terms of learning design if we are not using a programmer.  For example, if the learning designer is using Adobe Captivate or Articulate or Powerpoint to create some kind of learning objects as part of the overall learning activities, ususally we will put together a course design blue print for key stakeholder to have a overall understanding what the course is going to look like. Now that I have read the information about prototying,  (before, I always thought prototyping is for software design, or game design) , I realise that the course blueprint I created might acturally be prototyping process, please have a look at the attached link, where you will find a series of JPEGs of learning activities I designed  for the first two modules of a eleanring course. (created originally from Microsoft visio) . 

After I have created it, I had several meetings with different stake holders to get their feedback then I finalised the design plan before the design team started working on it.

I would like your comments on following aspect:

 1. Is this a kind of prototyping process? or just a consultation process? 

2. Is there a better way to visualise the design thinking for stakeholders

3. Is there a better way to collect feedback from stakeholders other than face to face meetings?  For example, what I learned from this sesion is maybe a PPT with questions written in the notes section?

4. At what stage this prototyping activity should happen? (Before or after all content/learning materials have been identified?) 

Cheers,

Alice

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Diana Laurilllard
10:39pm 15 February 2013


These are very good questions, Alice, and help to disambiguate prototyping from other activities. Here are my responses:

1. Is this a kind of prototyping process? or just a consultation process? - not prototyping because it does not enable the user to act like a user of the system. So trying to emulate the user experience is an important aspect that I should have emphasised more.

2. Is there a better way to visualise the design thinking for stakeholders - the design is very visually complex, and would benefit from even paper prototyping to get users to select which of the elements they want to have on the screen at any one time, Quite simple, and quite effective. For this current format you would put them in the position of wanting to find out something from that display, and ask them what they would do first, then tell them what would happen - that may give you a sense of how overwhelming they may find it. OmniGraffle would enable you to generate lots of different configurations of screens as well.

3. Is there a better way to collect feedback from stakeholders other than face to face meetings?  For example, what I learned from this sesion is maybe a PPT with questions written in the notes section? - this would work well for this kind of design - ask them to choose betwen different layouts, and for one desiign to fill in the notes page with their idea of what they would do to find out X - you coudl design different kinds of tasks. doing this online and getting people to post their answers is much more efficient, but not always as revealing as observation.

4. At what stage this prototyping activity should happen? (Before or after all content/learning materials have been identified?) As soon as possible. the important thing is not accuracy of content description but navigation, look and feel, intelligibility, etc. You can put the correct content in later.

Does that all make sense? the important thing is to save time on making a poor design by finding out what works for users in advance of the real work of building. I think you are already doing that to some extent, but could do even more?

Alice (Xin) Huang
8:48pm 17 February 2013


Hi Diana, 

Thank you so much for your feedback, it does help me to understand what is prototype and answer the quesiton in my mind why my stakeholder got confused when I gave them the visual map. I am currently working on a new curiculum design, I will try what you have taught me in this session to do prtotyping. This time I will try using ominigraffle. Do you mind if I send the prototyping to you for feedback? 

 

Cheers,

Alice

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