Pilot Projects

In my quest to expand my knowledge of eLearning tools, I recently completed the Captivate 5 Essential Training at Lynda.com (my compliments to James Lockman for a good course.) Now it is time to create my first project with Captivate and I am running into difficult choices regarding the scope of this pilot project.

Pilot projects need to be small and adapatable. The expectation is that changes will need to be made after Beta testing. In Tim Harford’s book, Adapt, he notes a couple things that can apply to pilot projects. He wrote, “First, try new things, expecting that some will fail. Second, make failure survivable: create safe spaces for failure or move forward in small steps.” A pilot project cannot involve a great deal of investment or the cost of making changes will be too great.

On the other hand, the tendency for an instructional designer is to want to provide the best learning experience possible. In this Captivate project, I want the timing of the slides, the placement of images, and appearance of captions to be just right. I don’t want Beta testers to focus on nits such as typos or color choices when I would prefer that they focus on the overall storyboard and learning plan.

Here is what I have decided to do for the first pilot project. Complete 2 of the 9 learning modules as fully as possible. Get the timing and placement of everything in those 2 modules as good as I can. For the other 7 learning modules, provide outlines or storyboard slides. This will allow me to get feedback on the nuances of some slides and on the overall learning path while keeping me from spending too much time on the pilot project. That’s my plan.

What do you do for pilot projects? How do you balance the desire to create your best work against the need to rapidly produce a pilot project to start receiving feedback?

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