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Skip to 0 minutes and 9 seconds In the last session, we introduced you to the RLO concept. Hopefully you were able to spend some time considering the characteristics of this type of resource and what makes them effective for learning. Perhaps the strongest evidence for success is the reuse in over 50 countries worldwide. In a nutshell, we believe one crucial element that underlies the success of these resources is their alignment to the needs of the learner groups concerned, both in terms of the content and also the ways in which this is represented, something that’s not always a given with any learning development. The reason for this level of alignment lies right back within the creation of the resources and the involvement of key stakeholder groups within this process.

Skip to 0 minutes and 50 seconds And this brings us to our subject for this session, as we begin to explore the development process that we use.

Skip to 0 minutes and 59 seconds So this week, we’ll begin to think about a development framework. We’ll also begin to consider the first step in the process, that of setting appropriate aims or learning goals. One of the exciting things about this course is the fact that we’ve engaged with a group of people who are going to be going through this process with you as they develop a specific learning resource from start to finish. This group has members from the University of Nottingham and Birmingham City University and includes students, lecturers, and practitioners. For shorthand, we’ll referred to them as Fern’s Team, as Fern Todhunter is the project lead.

Skip to 1 minute and 35 seconds This week, you’ll have a chance to meet some of the members of the Fern’s Team and hear about the aims that they have set for their resource.

Skip to 1 minute and 44 seconds Finally, and most importantly, you will have a chance to work on the aim of your own learning resource and then use the discussion board to share this and gain some feedback, if you’d like to. The development process that we use is known as the ASPIRE framework. As the introductory video for this session alluded to, this is named after the Aspire Tower, a piece of public art at the University of Nottingham. It represents the soaring aspirations of all learners within the university and beyond, and forms a good analogy for the aspirations of those who wish to develop learning resources. For us, ASPIRE works as an acronym for the various stages of the development process.

Skip to 2 minutes and 24 seconds Whilst we use this framework, I should point out that it is only one of many such frameworks that have been developed to scaffold the creation of learning resources. You might know of others and may want to share them as comments on the discussion board. Many similar development processes emerged particularly with the advent of the Open Educational Resources movement a few years ago.

Skip to 2 minutes and 47 seconds However, as I mentioned earlier, our approach requires a process that is flexible enough to be used within a community of practise style of resource development. This involvement of a community makes the development process itself very accessible, encouraging a range of different stakeholders from the health arena– patients, practitioners, support groups, and so on– to share their knowledge and expertise, whilst providing sufficient structure to enable the development of quality resources. The Steps in ASPIRE can be represented as shown here– Aims, Storyboarding, Population, Implementation, Release, and Evaluation. A stand for Aims. We’ll be considering the Aims step later in the session, but it’s concerned with getting the learning goal for your resource correct.

Skip to 3 minutes and 36 seconds This forms the foundation, and getting this right is essential to future success.

Skip to 3 minutes and 43 seconds Storyboarding is the next step in the process. This allows you to begin to think about your ideas and how these might be represented. Questions that might be considered include– what are the major areas to be covered? What is the sequence and structure for the material? What do you want your learners to be doing at each stage of the process? How will you enable your learners to assess whether they’ve achieved the learning goal? And so on. Storyboarding is also a crucial step in enabling a community-based approach to resource design. We’ll be looking much more at storyboarding in the next session.

Skip to 4 minutes and 20 seconds The next step in the process is to combine all of the ideas you’ve had and the framework you’ve developed at the storyboading stage by populating a fully-formed specification or outline for your resource. We like to ensure that a complete working version of the resource requirements are made during in this step before technical implementation begins. There are a number of reasons for this. Firstly, many people can find the prospect of the technological implementation quite daunting. And we find that it can come to dominate and limit creativity. Therefore, taking this approach enables them to focus solely on the content and the pedagogical approach they want to take before worrying too much about this.

Skip to 5 minutes and 1 second Secondly as we’ll discuss in a later session, we also undertake a quality control step in the form of a peer review on the written specification before development begins. This independent verification can pick up important issues at this stage that could prove costly to correct once you’ve moved on. Finally, if you’re working as a team, this step allows everyone to agree and share ownership of the product prior to development. During this course, we’ll be inviting you to populate a specification and to submit this as part of the assessment, should you wish to do so. The next step in our process is technical implementation.

Skip to 5 minutes and 40 seconds Whilst outside the scope of this particular course, we’ll be discussing this towards the end and providing suggestions and hints about how to go about this. There are obviously many possibilities, and some of these depend on your level of technical expertise, or access to technical expertise. However, if you, like me, are not a programmer, don’t despair. There are lots of avenues and tools open to you to create really great resources without technical knowledge.

Skip to 6 minutes and 8 seconds Once the learning resource created through the ASPIRE framework has been implemented, the next step is to release it for users to access. Actually, before use, we use a second peer review stage, this time focusing more on the representation of the content, rather than the content itself. Whilst a detailed discussion of release is really outside of the scope of this course, there are a number of decisions to be made about how and when to release your resource. Many of these will depend on local factors. But the sort of questions to address might include– who’s going to use your resource? How are they going to use it?

Skip to 6 minutes and 44 seconds What format the resource should take, whether you want to restrict use or want to go for the widest possible access, and if you want to monitor use.

Skip to 6 minutes and 56 seconds For us, as a research and development unit, evaluation of the released resources is central to what we do. You had a chance to look at some of our evaluation data in the previous session. Evaluation can perform a number of different functions, so it’s important to be clear about what you’re trying to achieve through its use. It might be to collect data to allow improvement of this or subsequent resources, or it might be to better understand the use and impact of the resource itself. We use a series of tools that are based around the concept of activity theory. This enables an investigation of the use of the resource whilst taking into account contextual factors that can influence its use and effectiveness.

Skip to 7 minutes and 37 seconds You need to think about a number of questions in relation to good evaluation design and possible ethical implications. Each project is likely to adopt a slightly different evaluation tool set, depending on the questions being asked. But a generic toolkit has been added to the resources for this course. Feel free to use and adapt this for your own use.

Skip to 7 minutes and 59 seconds So we’ve looked very briefly through the development framework that we use here at Nottingham. And now it’s really over to you, as we work through many of these steps together over the ensuing sessions. I really look forward to seeing your designs as they take shape.

The ASPIRE framework

In this video, we outline the ASPIRE framework for developing e-learning resources, or more specifically, Reusable Learning Objects (RLOs).

Discussion point

  • What are your initial thoughts on the use of a development framework and on ASPIRE more specifically?

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This video is from the free online course:

Designing E-Learning for Health

The University of Nottingham