Bundling content as topics makes it easily re-usable across multiple projects

dominKnow | ONE is different from most authoring tools because of how it handles the organization of the Pages in your project.

For example, in PowerPoint, you just make pages.

In dominKnow | ONE you can organize those pages into topics within your project structure. Those topics are called Learning Objects (LOs).

You can also organize LOs into Modules.

And both of these structural levels are shown to your learners in the Menu of your project, to help them understand how the content is structured.

So, what is a Learning Object?

A Learning Object (LO) is a re-usable “bundle” of instructional content for a single topic.

The LO contains all of the content pages the learner needs to view in order to be provided with the knowledge required for the topic.

And here’s where dominKnow | ONE is very different from most tools: the LO also contains all of the assessment questions for that topic.

In most authoring tools you make your content pages then add a test at the end. You can add 20 questions, and have the test randomly present 10 of those questions to the learner, for example.

In dominKnow | ONE, you can add smaller banks of questions to each LO then set the randomization at the LO level. This gives you much greater control over the assessment, allowing you to emphasize specific topics with more or less questions, for example.

From an instructional design perspective, LOs have one more advantage – they can be shared across multiple projects and kept synchronized for updates. You can make a topic once and use it in as many projects as you need. Because the test questions are tied to the LO, they are also automatically available where ever you re-use the LO. And when you edit the LO, the changes are reflected everywhere it’s used. No need to change it in multiple places.

Learning Objects, Instructional Design and Re-use

The idea of a Learning Object comes from object-oriented programming.

Object-oriented programming recognizes that if a developer is creating a software tool and needs to have a menu, it’s more efficient to create the menu as a re-usable object than to create a new custom or unique menu for every place where a menu is needed in the software. This saves initial development time as well as time on future updates, because a change to the menu object gets propagated to all places in the software where the menu object is used.

The term Learning Object is a bit of a confusing one for our industry, as it sounds a lot like Learning Objective. But an LO might not always be equivalent to a Learning Objective.

This would be the case if there were several tasks in a single process. The Learning Objective would be the ability to accomplish all of the tasks in the process, but you’d probably be best to design the learning as a set of separate Learning Objects for each task.

For example, in dominKnow | ONE we can invite Reviewers to provide feedback on a course. The Learning Objective for the lesson might be “Set up a reviewer for your course”. But there are two tasks for this process:

  1. Invite the Reviewer into an account in the authoring site
  2. Assign the Reviewer to the course they are to review

So, a best practice would be to have two Learning Objects, one for each task.

Doing this makes the two LOs more flexible for re-use. In the authoring system, we can also invite Administrators as well as Authors. So we can create one LO for the task of inviting users in general (rather than Reviewers specifically) into the system and have more flexibility for using it in more than one course to meet more than one LO in different projects.

Re-use is one of the most powerful benefits of the LO  model in dominKnow | ONE. Think about making a PowerPoint slide deck for an instructor-led session. Later, you have to do a session for an audience that’s similar but has some different needs. So you copy half of your PPT file then add more content to it. Half of the two slide decks are identical, but they are separate – so if that identical content ever changes, you need to change it in both decks, separately.

The re-usable LO model in dominKnow | ONE means that you only have to change the content once and it's updated in all projects using it.

Here’s a good way to think about what an LO or topic is, from an Instructional Design perspective.

If you’re preparing a PowerPoint slide deck for a presentation you’ll often have several pages in a row that have the same header. Basically, these pages are all one topic. You just needed multiple pages to cover all the content for that topic.

An LO is just like that – a topic with all the pages needed to cover its content. It could be one page, or it could be many more, whatever’s needed.

Learning Objects and Assessment Questions – Authoring vs Learner Experience

The way you see your project structure when authoring is a bit different than what your learners will experience.

Let’s start with what your learners will experience.

Here’s a sample course project (made in our Flow option). Take a few minutes to go through it – it has eight content pages and a few test questions.

While reviewing the course:

  • Take a look at the Outline – select the Menu on the top bar then select Outline on the panel that appears.
  • When you complete the eight content pages you’ll see a message screen with a Take Test button. Select the Take test button and complete the test.

 

Click here to launch the sample course in a new browser window.

The sample course you just reviewed has five LOs. Here’s what the Structure Outline looks like when authoring:

 

The “Introduction” LO has three content pages. The LO “Types of Security Threats” has two content pages. The other LOs each have one content page.

And two of the LOs have Test Questions. These were the questions you submitted responses for when you took the test in the sample course.

In the Course Structure panel, when authoring you see that the Test Questions are shown as part of the LO they are attached to.

You’ll recall that when you viewed the sample course, you went through eight content pages, then took the test. The published project has two modes, learning and testing. When the learner launches the project, they start in learning mode which presents all the learning content pages from each LO in order from top to bottom in your structure. All the test questions are skipped.

At the end of the learning content, the summary screen has a Take Test button. When the learner clicks this, the project switches over to test mode and presents all the test questions. The learner submits a response for each question and at the end the test score is calculated.

So, even though as an author you see the Test Questions listed in the Course Structure as part of the LO they have been added to, remember that learners will see the test questions not as part of the course content but instead as a separate test that gets launched. If a learner views the Course Structure, they will only see the learning content. They do not see the questions for each LO.

Do I have to work in multiple Learning Objects?

No, you don’t have to.

You can use whatever structure makes sense for your project, including simply adding all your pages to one LO and add all the test questions to it.

But as your project becomes more complex, you’ll probably find that the idea of multiple LOS starts to make your structure more flexible. You can re-order your structure by dragging and dropping LOs, for example, instead of moving separate pages.

Plus, you’ll be setting your content up for future potential re-use.

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