This past year I was presented with a very interesting design challenge. The challenge was to develop a guided interactive course that could be used in conjunction with anatomical simulators under the following conditions:
- Product must be device agnostic
- Project stakeholders globally dispersed
- Allows for self-directed learning
- Can be used internationally
- Usable in areas of the world with limited bandwidth
- Once developed, relatively easy to modify by the client company
After some research and a great deal of thought a decision was made to develop an interactive PDF using Adobe Acrobat DC and Captivate, and to create a supplemental iBook to address the shortcomings in Acrobat DC reader for Apple mobile devices. All three development products are currently being used by the client’s education team to a limited degree, and with some transition training and support they should be able to maintain the final products.
Design and Development
The product design team consisted of a content developer, subject matter expert and a narrative editor. The development cycle spanned six months which were divided into seven cycles:
- Data gathering – development of scripts, storyboards, quiz questions, and clinic cases
- Alpha product development – creation of iBook, associated widgets and captivate interactives
- Beta product development – revisions to iBook and creation of interactive PDF book
- User testing – iBook and PDF products demonstrated at the client’s annual conference and used as a resource in conference simulator workshops
- Product Enhancements – incorporate simulator software updates, create a supporting course in the learning management system, and produce production versions of the iBook and interactive PDF
- Delivery channel Implementation – work with client on creation of content delivery through their online store, and migration of iBook to the App store
- Support Team Training and Handoff – provide client with file masters and train the in-house team on product modification
Below are details for selected aspects of the project development.
For this project I was fortunate to have a subject matter expert (SME) with a vested interest in the subject being taught with this project, is a well-known expert in the field, has taught in medical school for more than 20 years, and was a consultant on the simulator design.
Given the SMEs interest and expertise I charged him with the developing the initial draft of the learning content and worked with other experts in the content area on the development of micro-videos for some of the more difficult aspects of topic. While the experts worked on their contributions to the project, I gathered images, developed the storyboards and strawman design for the books and interactives. The SME used Word to develop his content, the other experts were give a copy of Camtasia 3 to record their videos (product is inexpensive and has a very small learning curve), and I used Captivate Draft for the strawman interactives and iBook for the book design strawman. Simulator images were gathered from the product designers, micro videos were created by experts in the field, and general content images were acquired from a subscription-based royalty-free photo service.
A month into the development cycle Word documents developed by the SME were gathered revised to address multiple learning modalities as well as, digital learning needs and opportunities. The revised document was sent back to the SME for review and comment, and a follow-up conference call scheduled to discuss the materials and review design strawman. After several conference calls with project stakeholders and a number of tweaks to the scripts an agreement was reached on the content design.
During the alpha phase micro videos were created from teaching videos provided by experts in the field, assessment templates were created from Captivate Draft storyboards, and Word-based content documents where imported into Illustrator for page layout. Upon completion all design elements were provided to the SME and simulator team for review and comment.
Once approved the project design elements, assessment modules, articles and videos were used to create some interactive PDF workshop materials, learner workbook, an iBook and content specific online course.
The following screen shots were taken from the beta version of PDF document. Key elements are highlighted on the images, and where appropriate links to tutorials for how the elements were added to a PDF are provided.
Tutorial for adding hyperlinks, page numbers and watermarks to pdf books https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/edit-pdf.html?playlist=/ccx/v1/collection/product/acrobat-dc/segment/designer/explevel/advanced/applaunch/orientation/collection.ccx.js?ref=helpx.adobe.com
Tutorial for editing text and images in pdf books https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/edit-text-images-pdf-files.html?playlist=/ccx/v1/collection/product/acrobat-dc/segment/designer/explevel/beginner/applaunch/basictraining/collection.ccx.js?ref=helpx.adobe.com
Tutorial for adding multimedia to a pdf https://youtu.be/u6jMe3dAaK4
Tutorial for converting forms to fillable pdfs https://helpx.adobe.com/acrobat/how-to/convert-word-excel-paper-pdf-forms.html?playlist=/ccx/v1/collection/product/acrobat-dc/segment/designer/explevel/advanced/applaunch/basictraining/collection.ccx.js?ref=helpx.adobe.com