People learn best when: they are motivated, having fun, working at their
own pace, working on real-life projects,
and multiple senses are involved. So we put theory into practice and "See
it, Hear it, Do it: Flash 5" was born.
Round World Media founder, Valerie Landau was director of the Multimedia
Studies Program at Ohlone College. She
taught and supervised seven multimedia instructors whose curriculum included
Macromedia's Flash, Director and
Dreamweaver. Over the years she took notes on what was effective in teaching
and what was not.
What was NOT effective:
She observed that the majority of students found it difficult and discouraging
to follow along with the books and
online-help tutorials. Ms. Landau experimented with video-based training,
but found the experience of working with
a keyboard, two monitors, and a VCR even more frustrating. Using more
than one media (book and computer or
video and computer) made the technology get in the way of the learning.
What worked well:
Most students found the easiest way to learn was with a one-on-one demonstration
of how to use the software as
they followed along. They were more motivation when working on projects
they could send to people they cared
Based on Ms. Landau's research, we developed a project-based multi-sensory
approach: using narration and
animation to simulate a one-on-one demonstration on one side of the screen,
while students follow along using
Flash on the other. We wanted to fully immerse students in the Flash experience.
So, we created an animated
tutorial about Flash 5 in Flash 5.
We finished the prototype and conducted usability studies with ten people
of diverse ages and skill levels. The
testers included people with Flash 4 experience (wanting a quick update
on Flash 5), others with some graphics
experience, and a few who had no prior graphics experience. The age range
was from 13-66 years old.
All the testers were able to complete the e-greeting card successfully.
However, testers who had no experience with
graphic software had greater difficulty because they had to familiarize
themselves with new tools and concepts such
as: how to drag and draw with the oval tool, how to change colors in the
color palette, and how to add layers.
Completion time varied between 1-3 hours, depending on prior skill level.
Based on the feedback, modifications were made. Since publications we
have been delighted by the overwhelmingly