Professional Development Course in Managing Partnerships

For this project, I developed an online course and accompanying workshop series for the organization. The purpose was to teach external-facing staff different strategies and approaches to develop strong partnerships and maintain a solid company reputation.

I began by conducting a needs analysis with different staff members and then had six staff members review content as I developed it. We decided to deliver the course in Moodle and use Articulate Storyline and Microsoft Sway presentations to supplement material.

Inspired by e-Learning Heroes and eLearning Uncovered’s free webinar series, I personalized the Storyline in different ways. For example, I asked participants to share their name so that emails would appear to be delivered to them personally, choose the order of emails to read, and provide a “thumbs up” check-in of their understanding toward the end.

One of the biggest challenges of developing this project was maintaining project deadlines and milestones. In the future, I’ll be more conscientious of using project management principles and developing built-in review cycles.

I focused on the training being

  • simple,
  • flexible,
  • cooperative,
  • informed by staff, and
  • social.

Highlight of Skills & Tools

These are some of the tech tools and skills I refined while working on this course:

Visual & Audio Design

  • Articulate Storyline 3 to develop a personalized learning experience
  • Microsoft Sway to portray different scenarios
  • Providing audio feedback to employee responses
  • Using Adobe In Design to develop job aids

Instructional Design 

  • Choose-your-own-adventure style assessment
  • Storyboarding for Articulate Storyline project
  • Using icons from Font Awesome to indicate opportunity for reflection, discussion, or practice

Respect in the Workplace Workshop Series

This was the first PowerPoint presentation where I felt like I created a consistent visual presence. My choice of font, colour, graphics, and media were all used to share a consistent message.

I challenged myself to turn bullet points into graphics, and drew a lot of inspiration from Better than Bullet Points. I used charts, diagrams, photos, and other visuals to show our message rather than tell it.

We were tasked with developing a workshop series for a company’s workers and their supervisors. The topic is workplace respect, which is new terrain for us. If you Google “workplace respect” you will find lots of presentations and training available. We wanted our training to be different. We wanted it to be discussion-based, with opportunity for practice and feedback. We wanted to teach supervisors what we were teaching employees, and then give them the chance to prepare for difficult or uncomfortable conversations.

I worked with the training facilitator to create the facilitation manuals, participant manuals, and PowerPoints for both sets of training. I worked really hard on the facilitation manual to make it easy to read. We created the facilitation manual in Microsoft Word by creating 3 columns. The first column contained reference to the PPT slide. The second column contained talking points and direction for the facilitator, and the third column had icons to provide a quick reference as to what would be covered in the slide (discussion prompt, activity, group work, etc.).

My goal for training is

  • validity,
  • experiential learning,
  • challenge,
  • engagement, and
  • making it different from all the rest.

Highlight of Skills & Tools

These are some of the tech tools and skills I refined while working on this course:

Visual Design

  • PowerPoint to develop presentations
  • Microsoft Word to create manuals
  • Photoshop, Illustrator, and InDesign to create original graphics and charts

Instructional Design 

  • 4 stations, each with a prompt written on chart paper to inspire dialogue and sharing
  • Sticky note responses
  • Role play scenarios with observational checklists
  • Reflective questions
  • Scenario-based activities

Heavy Equipment Operator Online Course

When I first began my role, the heavy equipment operator (HEO) project was well underway. However, there wasn’t clear direction for the project, and there was a lot that needed to get done in a 6 month window. My role was to work with contract designers and developers to create the online portion of the HEO course in Moodle. We also developed participant and facilitator manuals to accompany the online course. Accompanying manuals became the obvious choice when we realized how much technical information was needed to succeed in the course.

Working with contractors was new for me. At times, it was challenging to work this way, but I think it came together in a cohesive way. Reviewers mentioned that the course had a consistent narrative and unified “voice.” It gave me experience managing the flow of a project and making sure all the moving pieces came together in time for alpha, beta, and gold master reviews.

While designing the course, it was important to me that the participant manual be cohesive with the online course. While my co-worker developed the manual, I developed the online portion and created icons and badges to lead learners through the content.

My goal was for the course to be

  • intuitive,
  • interesting,
  • narrative-driven,
  • compelling for people who like “hands on” learning, and
  • slightly competitive yet still cooperative.

I had the unique opportunity of visiting the pilot class and showing them how to use Moodle and GoToMeeting. It was a valuable experience for me, and I took so much away from it. Unfortunately, I didn’t have time to meet with potential students before the actual pilot, but it would have been great to get their feedback before we started to develop content.

Looking back, I am happy with the work we did, but I would have liked to have more input on the project as a whole. Aside from online learning, students had in-class training, simulator training, resume prep, and interviewing. During the pilot, these elements seemed to operate in silos. Had we designed the program knowing all of these elements, we could have provided a better overall experience for students. For future iterations, it will be important to design a cohesive experience between the online and in-person elements of the program.

As well, I learned that heavy equipment operators are (for the most part) very driven and task oriented. Many students spent evenings working on the online course, so they were way ahead of schedule. In the future, it will be important to use design elements to pace students.

Highlight of Skills & Tools

These are some of the tech tools and skills I refined while working on this course:

Visual Design

  • Adobe Illustrator to design 10 course badges
  • Editing and proofreading the facilitation and participant manuals

Moodle LMS 

  • Connecting quizzes to the release of a badge
  • Developing branching scenarios within modules
  • Administrative tasks (enrolling users, setting up user names and passwords, etc.)
  • Troubleshooting Internet connectivity issues

Instructional Design

  • Online course welcome page with Training team photos and profiles
  • Developing and editing storyboards for Articulate projects
  • Designing an Operator Bingo activity to review terms
  • Developing a radio communication activity for students to learn effective ways to communicate on site
  • Setting up GoToMeeting for the coach to web conference with students

Project Management 

  • Managing deliverables among different teams and contractors
  • Prepping the course facilitator and online coach to deliver content online

Behavior-Based Safety Blended Course

This was such a fun project. I revamped an existing online Behavior-Based Safety course to be blended and story based. I developed the course from the perspective of Candace, a site supervisor. Through personal stories, anecdotes, and lessons, she guides students through the participant workbook and online course. Sharing her perspective in this way builds empathy and shared understanding of safe work practices.

Because of new OH&S legislative changes, I also modified the existing content by doing research and interviewing people with safety backgrounds. I reached out to organizations to share their photos in the course, which made the content more real and relatable. It was important to me to incorporate feedback from past iterations of the course, so I made adjustments like developing a step-by-step guide to teach students how to fill out a Field-Level Hazard Assessment.

As mentioned, students use a workbook in conjunction with the online content. The workbook contains hands-on activities, questions for reflection, course resources, icons, a glossary, and an index. I also developed a facilitation manual, so the facilitator can lead the class and provide supplementary activities that link to course objectives.

I wanted this course to be

  • practical,
  • hands-on,
  • easy to digest,
  • meaningful, and
  • safe to practice and make mistakes.

With a few simple tweaks, the course can be run fully online!

Highlight of Skills & Tools

These are some of the tech tools and skills I refined while working on this course:

Visual Design

  • Adobe Photoshop to crop and edit photos, and to create narrative slides for the LMS
  • Adobe InDesign to create the participant and facilitator cover guides
  • Adobe Illustrator to design the course badges
  • Microsoft Sway to develop a visual story
  • Microsoft Word to create the participant and facilitation guides
  • Adobe Acrobat to create fillable forms

Moodle LMS 

  • Moodle branching scenarios and embedded questions
  • Polling feature to ignite discussion
  • Discussion boards for sharing materials and responding to specific questions

Instructional Design

  • Case studies to fill out hazard assessments
  • In-class Toolbox Talk activity
  • Heads Up” game for explaining important concepts
  • Participant workbook developed for individual reflection and formative feedback
  • Facilitation guide developed to lead class activities and monitor student progress