The Court Services Branch, Ministry of Justice (Province of BC) provides training to court clerks for civil cases. They needed to modernize the training of an old legacy system and improve the delivery of the content. Their latest version of the course, consisted of a set of CD’s with videos explaining the software the clerk was to learn how to use.
However, the original training was provided in a classroom environment and much of the video on the CD’s was taken during a classroom session. In addition the software demonstration was several years old and all the worked examples were out of date. As the training was now delivered by physical CD’s, updating the content was near-impossible.
A major difficulty was that the pace of the training was limited by the method of delivery. As a result employees could not progress in a timely manner, many taking months to complete the training. This was due to the software demonstration being set up so that learners could only progress after they had received authorization they had successfully completed prior modules. The step was not automated and required staff review and authorization. Overall this was creating a situation where there was not adequate staffing for the volume of work needed.
The Ministry of Justice was looking for help from an instructional design course development company, and contracted Spark + Co. for the project. They required an experienced project lead to guide them through the creation of an online course to replace the legacy training, as well as hosting of the new system.
Designing within constraints is an essential part of every project.
Firstly, we were constricted in speeding up the completion time, a project objective, by the learners being unable to complete more complex tasks in the system until they mastered the basic tasks. As a result, this restricted their access to the live system and training was required to ensure that the learner could perform the task successfully. Errors made by clerks using the real-life software had significant consequences for public safety and the justice system. For example, if a criminal’s status was classified incorrectly it could result in an inadvertent early release.
Secondly, the project also required setting up an LMS (Learning Management System) for the custom e-learning course, with which the Ministry had no previous experience. Every LMS has different features and capabilities that help to shape or limit, the learning experience. The Ministry had selected Moodle as their LMS but also wanted custom reporting that was not available “out-of-the-box” from this LMS. In the end after some problem solving we created a solution that produced the desired result.
Part of the course required, all learners to use a training database for hands-on demonstration of their skills. As a result, the solution had to include this but also needed to ensure that the learner could continue with their training in the meantime and on their own timetable. This requirement to establish competency on the demo database could not be an impediment to the self-paced learning. This constraint was solved by creating a mirrored version of the actual software that they could practice on.
Lastly, a final constraint was that the primary subject matter expert was retiring so the window for accessing their knowledge was limited.
Engage + Analyze
We first determined what parts of the elearning course would be built in the LMS (Learning Management System) and what would be built in Articulate Storyline 360. After mapping out the overall experience for the learner we were able to identify areas in the existing course where the experience might not be up to the high standards needed.
Outcomes and objectives required by the management team were articulated:
- faster completion time
- auditable records
- ability to view individual progress so local experts could coach the individuals
Instructional + Creative Design
We determined early on that having internal staff record the voice over on the software demonstrations was important. This conveyed a sense of comfort for the learners, and gave it a more personal touch than a professional voice over artist. Also, as much of the knowledge was not scripted, we arranged for the subject matter expert to do a recording with a voice track, and we matched the screen activity to the narration.
Since one of the most important features was the ability for learners to progress through the training more quickly, some of the checkpoints were automated to speed up the time to completion. Decisions were made on how and when to automate for a streamlined experience and where to use a “test” to check for required learning. For critical or complex topics, opportunities for feedback were provided, enabling learners to work through the online course modules at their own pace.
Build, Test + Modify
Three versions/builds of the custom elearning course were created. Each version was tested by an advisory team consisting of clerk managers, field trainers, and operational staff. Their feedback being incorporated in the next version.
As the versions were being created we collaborated with the internal client staff and trained them on how to create, modify, and update the modules so that the internal capability was created within the Ministry of Justice to update modules or build additional modules in the future.
The advisory team helped communicate the new system as part of the launch plan. As well, early in the development process we identified the importance of developing materials to accompany the launch of the new online course, and we crafted these in parallel with the course development.
Prior to the launch, we had demo versions available as well as FAQs, key messages, and help details. We used a Before/During/After approach to map the communications, training, and support needed to execute a successful launch, some of the supporting launch activities are shown below.
|Tell||Emails, presentations, key messages||Hold team meetings to discuss going live/training and timelines||Emails/intranet: What support is available|
|Show||Product Demos||Tutorials, training sessions, demos||Recorded screencasts, video|
|Do||Complete survey, profile, pre-work||Interactive elements, training activities (based on use case and training DB/sandbox)||Short primers bundled for certain tasks and pushed out to coincide with re-learning.|
|Support||Show where to get more info (might just be FAQ’s or email address)||Job aids, samples, show them how to find more help||User Group community|
The course was developed in Articulate Storyline 360 using Moodle as the LMS. The overall course was comprised of 17 modules of screen recorded demonstrations, with hands-on activities for each module. Automated messages were built in to enable the learner to advance or request that their work be reviewed by an instructor. This meant that the learner could progress quickly if they wanted while the instructors could flag tasks that a learner was struggling with, and let their manager know. They could also see what tasks were providing difficulties for a group of learners.
“Thank you so much! I can assure you that you have not heard the last of us. We recognize what an enormous and important role you played in this initiative.”
KEVIN CONN – DIRECTOR, BUSINESS TRANSFORMATION AND TRAINING COURT SERVICES, HQ, BC MINISTRY OF JUSTICE.
“I have to echo what Kevin said – this training initiative has been receiving great reviews from the field, and you played such a significant role in bringing our vision for Cyberclass 3.0 to life. Thank you!”
JACLYN BURGOYNE – MANAGER OF TRAINING, COURT SERVICES BRANCH HQ, BC MINISTRY OF JUSTICE.
The Court Services Branch were extremely pleased with the training modules, which met their goals of:
- Modernizing the training and delivery using Articulate Storyline 360 and Moodle
- Streamlining the timing for users – instead of the training taking months to complete, it was reduced to a few of weeks
- Demonstrating how much someone who completed training could actually do
- Increased clarity on accountability (what the manager/instructor/employee should be responsible for)
- Creating a reliable product that could be maintained internally for the foreseeable future
The vast increase in clerks’ being able to complete the course actually created a separate problem. So many people were completing the course in a much shorter time that extra resources had to be allocated, initially as coaches and reviewers to get through the backlog of learners that were now advancing through the course.