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Stephen Cope’s Design narrative – Preparing for the Equality Act 2010
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2 April 2013
I am an elearning developer for a global organisation and my role is to create self paced elearning courses in support of global operations. It was my responsibility to design, develop and deliver an online course to address changes to the law and ensure the compliance of the company.
In 2010 changes to the law surrounding equality and diversity in the workplace were introduced in the UK. The new Equality Act 2010 law replaced the previous anti-discrimination laws with a single Act, making the law easier to understand and strengthening protection in some areas. The new law sets out the different ways in which it is unlawful to treat another individual.
As an organisation we had a duty to provide our staff with training on the new legislation and need to demonstrate that we are actively involved in developing our staff as part of our ISO compliance standards.
We operate about 50 offices across the UK (including Northern Ireland) employing around 320 staff. We decided to develop an online compliance course to address the training requirement. E-learning provides us with the opportunity to develop a context specific training resource, and to be able to deliver it in a cost effective manner. It also provides a platform that can track learner understanding and course completion.
The initial course development request was made by the HR manager. A meeting was arranged and involved the compliance manage and operations director and territory operations manager
I was responsible for designing and developing the course with another elearning developer within the business. We would work closely with the compliance manager to ensure that the content development addressed the learning needs. The rest of the team would make up the review team, with ultimate signoff from the operations director.
The aim is to develop a self paced online course to raise awareness of equality and diversity in the workplace and to focus on the new Equity act 2010. The course was to last no longer than 45 minutes and should provide an insight into the new legislation from both the prospective of the organisation and the implications to the individual. It should cover the protected characteristics as outlined in the new legislation, Age, Disability, Gender reassignment, Marriage and civil partnership, Race, Religion or belief, Sex and Sexual orientation. The course should also explain the meaning of direct and indirect discrimination.
The language used in the new legislation was complex and difficult to understand so the course needed to decipher the legal language and present it in a context representative of the learner. To do this we used scenarios based on the working environment of the staff as it was important that staff have an understanding of how to apply what they had learned in their own workplace and appreciate the consequences for the organisation and themselves personally should they not comply.
The main measures of success for the project was that the course was developed to a satisfactory specification and delivered to all staff within the allotted timeframe.
I used a modified version of the ADDIE process as the bases for the instructional design process model. The five stages I used were:
- The first stage of the process was to identify the training needs and any constraints that could affect the project. This part of the process consists of the following activities:
Compose a project management plan
The output from the stages was a comprehensive analysis summary that was used to guide the rest of the process.
- The second stage of the process was to define the learning activities, assessment and media. To guide the development of the course we followed a modified model of Gagne’s 9 levels of learning. The following were all completed.
Content and interactivity outline
Visual design mapping
After we completed this stage of the process, we had a detailed design Brief and a complete set of storyboards. There were a couple of reviews and iterations to the designs before the final sign off.
- This stage involved building the course. Using the approved storyboards we produced the online course, performing formative evaluation and revisions as necessary throughout the stage.
Select or develop supporting media
Conduct formative revision
Conduct pilot test
The stages output was to deliver a completed product that meets the requirements of the project stakeholders.
- This part of the process involved preparing a rollout plan and ensuring that all stakeholders are informed of the implementation. A few issues were identified and addressed. This section comprises of the following steps
Provide user support
The output from this stage of the process is a documented implementation strategy that was approved by all stakeholders.
- The final part of the process was to evaluate the results of the project. It was important to have a clear strategy to capture the results and ensure that all staff where captured.
Determine evaluation criteria
Select evaluation tools
After completing the stages we had an evaluation plan that captured the data required by management.
The main issues that arise from the process tend to come from tying to explain the elearning development process to team members that are new to it. It’s important that you take the time to address this at the start of the project, ensuring that team members understand the review process and the impact that making changes to the project half way through has on the timeline.
Another and important issue that can impact the process is the availability of team members and working around multiple schedules. Arranging weekly meetings to ensure the project stays on plan can address this problem.
The success measure for this project was to get over 300 staff trained on the new legislation within a short time frame. As a project it was successful, the course was developed and delivered within the timeframe and to the required specification, ultimately fulfilling business objectives of the organisation.
I have used this instructional design approach on a number of occasions so I know the general pitfalls. Managing the review process during development needs to be clearly indentified at the start of the project and limited to a two review process. It is also important to ensure that all members of the team understand that once a stage has been signed off, any changes added later in the project will have implication on the timeline of the project and will impact on the delivery time agreed at the outset.