This learning experience project was a conversion of a paper-based training course for cycling coaches. The result will be a digital “flipped classroom” course where the theory component can be done anywhere, at any time, and on any smart device.
Project: Rebrand, update and convert a course for mountain bike coaches into an online format suitable for mobile learning.
Client: Mountain Bikes Australia (MTBA) had just merged into a new national cycling sporting body called Auscycling, so now is the time to rebrand and update. Auscycling is the overarching association that all Australian cycling clubs are affiliated with. They are responsible for insurance, administration, promotion, and training on a national level.
Subject matter experts
The instructors are professional coaches contracted by Auscycling to conduct the face-to-face part of the course. They have asked for changes to the dry and lengthy pre-readings and the clunky assessment.
The administrators waste time keeping records and emailing back and forth with the trainers and the students. They want a system that can automate a lot of these tasks.
Previous course data shows the majority of learners are 26-55 years old. They have high digital literacy skills, and social media accounts and use their smartphone regularly.
The original course was a blended-learning format with PDF pre-readings and assessments followed by a 1-day workshop. I kept the flipped classroom format but streamlined the theory component. The theory could leverage online multimedia and collaboration tools. Building for smartphones and tablets provides the learner with flexibility and autonomy. Additionally, having access to multiple digital modes of presentation and engagement helps me align with UDL accessibility principles.
A mobile-friendly Learning Management System (LMS) with digital badge certification will streamline the management of the course. We can identify problems quickly and use valuable analytics for course evaluation. I adopted the EdApp LMS service as it provided good user management and authoring tools as well as gamification options. While EdApp was mostly suitable, it did have some issues with video transcripts and some compatibility issues with Web Content Accessibility Guidelines (WCAG).
- Revised, measurable learning outcomes (based on stakeholder feedback and new Auscycling learning pathways)
- Digital content and assessment (Review, adapt or renew existing content, align with outcomes and face-to-face workshop).
- Digital badge certification (Create digital badge and setup verification system)
- Learning management system (For streamlining administration overheads as well as providing analytics for course evaluation)
The learning experience outcomes
- Analyse a rider’s techniques in various situations and environments and apply formative feedback.
- Apply and reflect on an instructor’s roles and responsibilities, including inclusiveness, risk management, group management, and continuous improvement.
- Identify and explain appropriate locations, clothing, and equipment for safe participation in mountain-biking training.
Although the previous outcomes were mostly written well it was decided that some used vague language and some were overreaching for this introductory level course and should be moved to courses further up in the Auscycling learning pathway.
Once the outcomes were set I used Backwards Design to create the course outline. Firstly, I created assessments that will prove the students meet the outcomes, then I create the content to align with those assessments. This helps to efficiently “chunk” the information up and provides the student with only what they need to learn and prevents content overload. Any other interesting, yet not directly linked, information can be made optional or provided in the discussion forums.
Stakeholders are involved in each Agile-based iteration/review loop to provide feedback and also to mitigate risks from poor communication, and lack of SME support. Once the course is completed and running evaluation can be done using the Kirkpatrick model.
Storyboarding the learning experience
I created the following storyboards to show the first design iteration.
Content and assessment
Setting of the goal posts
The all-important first module is where I provide the learner with all the information they need to decide if they have the time, resources or desire to commit to the training at that time. This transparency and clarity on what is expected of them are vital to good learning.
- The estimated completion time for the course (and each module).
- The learning outcomes and assessments.
- A friendly welcome video from the CEO giving context to the training.
- A screen recording animation explaining processes used in the course (e.g. navigation, scoreboards, quizzes).
- Discussion forum where the learners and instructor introduce themselves and hopefully form a community of practice.
Community of practice
Using the provided discussion boards the instructors and the learners can negotiate and create learning activities that scaffold off their previous experiences and knowledge. These chosen activities should be more authentic or “real” for the learner and create a sense of ownership (thus promoting motivation).
As the students view, share and discuss content, collaborate and co-construct knowledge they form a community of practice within the discussion forums. After the course, these connections will be accessible, and hopefully continued, in dedicated social media forums. Interactions in these forums can be used in the later evaluation of this course.
The content and formative quizzes use interactivity and video to promote engagement. The simple ability to pause, skip, rewind, adjust the volume or use closed captions are good tools for accessibility. Well-designed videos and graphics allow the use of slow-motion, labelling, narration and expert modelling to provide context and efficient knowledge transfer. With permission, content produced by others can be vetted and used to help lower costs and avoid wasted effort.
The original MTBA course included an element in the face-to-face workshop called a “game-sense approach to developing skills”. With the edApp platform, I can bring that same sense of gamification to the theory component. With a high score leaderboard and the ability to earn and spend stars, I can “promote engagement, spur students’ concentration and promote effective learning” (Educause, 2011).
The learners are tech-savvy and will appreciate the benefits of having a digital qualification to share on their social media profiles and electronic CVs. Printed certificates containing a link to the verification data area are available to download. Administration overheads are drastically cut down with less printing, posting, and verification of student certificates.
“This is a project-based unit that enables you to demonstrate your advanced understanding of innovative learning design in an authentic context. You will create a learning design project that applies andragogical and pedagogical design principles, authentic assessment, feedback and embeds technologies appropriately. You will also consider how to evaluate the learning design and consider factors to support learning analytics.”
— EUQ651 Learning Design Project (QUT Graduate Certificate in Education – Innovative Learning Design)