The case presents a number of issues regarding the development of a web-based training course on mission analysis by the U.S. military’s Office of Online Learning (OOL). The program has been developed within a tight time frame, which is why converting lectures and practice tasks into an online course has been rather ineffective. Evaluation of the OOL’s project has demonstrated various problems related to the usability and content of the program. Therefore, expert advice is needed regarding an applicable action plan and implementation methods.
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In order to analyze the case, it is important to identify the proposed scenario’s key stakeholders. Frank Lewis is a civilian tasked with the implementation, management, and oversight of the U.S. military’s Office of Online Learning (Brush et al., 2006). The Infantry Support School at Fort Safford, Louisiana, is another primary stakeholder. It placed a request for its lecture-based program on mission analysis to be transformed to an online course (Brush et al., 2006). Blumstone Horizons, with its lead developer Lichin Chu, is another key stakeholder. The company specializes in online training, which is why its assistance is crucial to the development of the virtual course. Lichin is a former infantry officer who serves as not only the lead developer of the project for OOL but the subject matter expert as well (Brush et al., 2006). Instructive Technologies is a consulting company that specializes in evaluation methodologies. Andrew Brown is a co-owner of this firm and has extensive experience in developing evaluation projects for the military. Deborah Frye, Brown’s partner, helps to manage evaluations since she is a former civilian training specialist with the U.S. military.
The Primary Issue in the Case
The primary issue in the case is the fact that web-based training has proven to be an ineffective solution to meet the military training requirements in regards to mission analysis. Inefficiency of the online course was determined by the statistical data of failed completion attempts, observational data, as well as individual feedback from 25 people participating in the evaluation (Brush et al., 2006). As a result, the majority of participants expressed the need for an introductory face-to-face course. As for secondary issues, Andrew and his team faced a challenge of communicating such disappointing data to the U.S. military’s Office of Online learning.
Recommendation of an Action Plan
Instructional designers have to prioritize the quality and usability of the course over a shortened time frame or certain technological advancements. The primary goal of a web-based training course should be on educating students using time- and cost-efficient methods, and not on impressing the client with innovative online design techniques. Thus, a recommended action plan includes three parts. First, invite external subject matter experts to review the content of the online course and provide the necessary insights (Pradhan, 2018). Second, conduct multiple rounds of usability analysis in order to optimize the design of the program. Third, test out the finished course on the exact computers used by students who will go through an evaluation process. Additionally, instructional designers have to brief those taking the course about the technicalities behind it, the course’s main objectives, and a final evaluation.
As for the best approach for implementing such an action plan, key stakeholders need to work together in order to ensure that the appropriate actions are taken to ensure the online course’s efficiency. Evaluation experts, including Andrew and Deborah, need to present the results in their entirety even if they know they will disappoint the Office of Online Learning. They can propose changes and alterations, which Frank can incorporate in order to optimize the training program and start a second round of evaluations.
Brush, T., Sugar, W., & Brush, J. (2006). Case study 32: Andrew Brown and Deborah Frye. In P. A. Ertmer & J. Quinn (Eds.), The I.D. casebook: Case studies in instructional design (pp. 248-253). Pearson.
Pradhan, R. (2018). Importance of subject matter expert in e-learning. Play XL Pro. Web.
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