The requirement was for approximately 160 hours of web-based courseware to be developed within a 12 month period. The project deliverables included the courseware being made available online as well as in printable and offline DVD/CD-ROM formats. The project plan included the full spectrum of stages and phases for custom web-based courseware design and delivery; instructional design, storyboarding and scripting, alpha, beta and final deployment. Additionally, the project contained a number of unique elements which also contributed to the overall scope and design requirements.
These included presentation and description of a large quantity of process flow diagrams (PFDs), extensive use of 3D models of the complex, development of sophisticated animations and narration.
SMT Plus proposed a development approach for the project that would ensure high learning efficiency, better retention of knowledge, and on-the-job results that would help contribute to a successful start-up of the new complex. Additionally, the learning solutions we created were to continue to serve as a learning resource long after start-up.
We planned to complete the requirements of the project using our streamlined development process. This process is designed to allow for the highest level of efficiency in company-to-client relations resulting in a 70% reduction in time required for knowledge capture and an overall 20% reduction in project life cycle. By building quality assessment into every level of development, we were able to ensure that the deliverables were provided in a manner that reflects SMT Plus’s commitment to timeliness, accuracy and quality.
Key was the implementation of an effective project management approach. For this project, SMT Plus used an online Project Management application that personnel from both Company A and SMT Plus were able to access. Tasks were assigned to members of the development team and each member of the team took responsibility for the tasks and timelines assigned to them. Tasks were continuously monitored and each team member evidenced their progress on a daily basis. Evidencing progress was mandatory and paramount to ‘heading off problems at the pass’. By monitoring progress on a daily basis, SMT Plus was able to ensure that tasks were completed with a timeliness, accuracy and quality that exceeded Company A’s expectations.
Also key to success was SMT Plus’s culture which is one where we continuously create opportunities for people to excel, and it is the combined skill-set of our highly specialized team that is essential to our ability to take on large-scale projects like this one. Our approach reduces development time, increases efficiency and thus reduces development costs i.e. 70% for knowledge capture stage & 20% overall project life cycle. This in turn provides a cost effectiveness that our competitors find difficult to match.
Challenges and Solutions
The main challenge posed by this project was the enormous amount of information that needed to be captured and structured into courseware. In typical eLearning courseware design, the instructional design stage involves trying to extract a particular knowledge, skill or attitude from looking at already existing documents and functional descriptions or through a long, protracted process of meetings and discussions with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). SMT Plus was able to avoid this time and resource consuming process by relying on our unique accelerated knowledge capture process. This knowledge capture methodology was first developed by SMT Plus in 1998. The approach expedites the identification of the knowledge component in a way that makes it possible for us to use our skills to isolate the knowledge component and structure learning activities around it. The result is a knowledge capture document comprising a list of questions, corresponding answers and the logic behind the answers that identify the knowledge to be transferred to learners. The knowledge capture document becomes the basis for determining the learning objectives, enabling objectives, teaching points, instructional strategies and learning/assessment activities for a unit if learning.
Another challenge posed by this project was the need to ensure uniformity of courseware. The material covered in the courses dealt with detailed, specific process flows and important safety information, making it essential that the learning components be clear, concise and uniform throughout. SMT Plus was able to ensure standardization throughout the duration of this project by relying on our highly specialized team to take on a new approach to the storyboarding process to ensure timely, accurate creation of courseware. The improvement to the storyboarding process saved time by enabling team members to effectively combine the instruction design development stage with the storyboarding stage and empowered the programmers to use the model to help expedite the creation of the alpha version for each course.
SMT Plus took on the project with the intention to design and develop engaging courseware that would help streamline the training needs of Company A. The deliverable were provided in stages as the courseware was completed. The project was started February 2009 was completely completed and wrapped up by mid-April 2010. Five years later, the course materials are still in use and bringing value to the client, and as a result, the client awarded SMT
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