Prototyping and Instructional Design to improve internal development and enhance the employee’s learning experience. It’s training, but not as we know it.
Every day, companies hire individuals and train them in their processes. Typically, large companies and enterprises require all new employees to complete large bouts of training exercises, be it through a series of group classes or reading through documentation related to their internal processes and best practices. As technology advances, skillsets expand and company requirements become more demanding, the internal training habits of large companies are also becoming more expansive. In this post, we will see how prototyping and Instructional Design offer a refreshing alternative to the archaic forms of organizational learning in order to make company training processes more efficient.
Instructional Design: An Introduction
Instructionaldesign.org defines Instructional Design as: “The process by which instruction is improved through the analysis of learning needs and systematic development of learning experiences.” According to an article on Online Learning Insights, there are three main principles of Instructional Design: to analyze, develop and implement. Much like the disciplines of Instructional Design, prototyping in the design process is typically used to define requirements (analyze the problem), devise a strategy to manage requirements through building designs of screens with UI elements (developing a solution), and ultimately to reinforce the design strategy through feedback and iterations (implementing the solution).
As Oppermann and Thomas explain in ‘Learning and Problem Solving as an Iterative Process: Learners’ Living Repository‘: “As the user’s task competence can dynamically be increased by a flexible work organisation and task support, the user’s tool competence should dynamically be increased by systems suitable for learning.” In the realm of internal training, prototypes serve to enhance traditional learning practices, based on the current needs of users, or, employees. There are many ways in which prototypes can help you to provide training to your teams, such as helping to visualizing key concepts that may have fallen through the cracks on paper. Let’s see how prototyping aligns with the Instructional Design principles in order to improve training methods.
“Learning became an integrated part of life and an integrated part of work, too.” Reinhard Oppermann, and Christoph G. Thomas
Analyzing the problem with prototypes
Building a prototype for internal purposes allows you to identify potential problem areas and diagnose weak points to overcome them early on, because you’re not wasting time with the details when you should be focusing on the bigger picture.
When it comes to your training processes, creating an online, or eLearning, environment for your employees can be beneficial, (read on here for reason to use prototypes in eLearning). It has been said that creating a prototype of the final design unnecessarily wastes time and money. But consider another point of view: by creating a prototype of your training material, you focus on providing your employees with the facts, the essentials. How do we figure this? Because by not wasting time on the finer details that go into the end design, you concentrate on the problem at hand, and how you can offer up a solution. Prototypes, depending on their fidelity of course, are not meant to be polished, pixel-perfect designs- they are designed to help us get a better idea of what we’re working towards, and learn from each iteration. When we’re looking at the bigger picture, we have space to think. And, by simplifying our ideas, we can get everyone on the same page.
With Justinmind, you can create prototypes that allow you to analyze problems by gathering requirements and setting them out clearly in a visual format. There are two ways in which you can implement requirements using Justinmind Enterprise: 1) by importing them into your prototypes, and 2) by creating them from scratch, and customizing them within Justinmind.
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Developing an effective solution with the right UI elements
Once we’ve analyzed the problem, the next step is to devise a strategy to overcome the problem, with the user in mind. In this case, we want to improve learning methods by trimming the fat off the traditional training processes. When learning is done through documentation, it can feel tedious, and the information doesn’t always stick. Likewise, when we engage in group classes, someone is bound to feel neglected.
Prototyping offers a unique way of implementing and communicating ideas into solid, coherent and visual solutions. Using prototypes, designers can establish the basic look-and-feel and functionality of their to-be webpage or mobile app, without having to work at simulating a complete set of interactions or presenting the visual design. In this way, their designs are both coherent and easy to use – exactly what you want in a learning environment! By learning with prototypes, we can focus on the important information and not waste time documenting it, as it’s already been done for us.
Justinmind can be used to create tutorials and demos of existing applications, with a series of low to high fidelity wireframes and prototypes, and build up your design by adding interactive components as you need. Additionally, with our new scenario functionality, we can create and simulate scenarios to track the user flow and get a better idea of how our users navigate certain screens. What a great way to create interactive learning tutorials!
Implementing that solution with high-fidelity prototypes
With high-fidelity prototypes, we can build a culture of sustainable learning. Imagine you’ve been handed an eLearning app: you’re able to read and interact with the app, and this helps you to visualize complicated concepts more easily. With a high-fidelity, interactive prototype, concepts come to life and tasks become more coherent.
“Learning is an interactive process: interaction is closely linked to successful learning; interacting with others or with information can help clarify concepts, improve problem solving, and enhance retention.” Educause
Moreover, it’s important to ensure that the information applied sticks. Learning and problem solving is an iterative process, as we rarely learn something once and fully understand the concept without having to retrace our steps – knowing and understanding are very distinct concepts, as we can see here. With an iterative prototyping process, we can create knowledge and feedback loops that help to manage organizational learning. Read more about knowledge, learning, memory and feedback loops within organizations here.
Justinmind’s Teamwork features encourage idea sharing and feedback by enabling multiple users to work together, collaborating and learning from the same screens simultaneously.
Companies are revolutionizing their organizational learning with prototypes and Instructional Design, from improving internal development right through to enhancing employees’ learning experiences. The Justinmind prototyping approach enables you analyze the problem and create meaningful solutions for everyone. Download Justinmind today and see how we can improve your training process!