What are your most successful and least successful ID projects? Two graduate students have asked me this in interviews, and it’s a good question for reflection. It’s hard to pick, but these two examples are one of my best ID projects and one of my worst.
One of my most successful
One of my favorite courses was an online graduate course on cultural competence for K-12 teachers. The evaluation for that course asked if it was a “transformative” experience for students. I knew I was setting a high bar when I wrote the evaluation, and I expected that most students would say that they learned from the course but that it didn’t really transform their teaching. However, about two thirds of the students said this course was truly transformative; it made them completely rethink their approach to teaching.
It was a challenging course, and it really pushed people out of their comfort zones. That’s where the real learning happens regarding diversity though. We used storytelling successfully in that course to bring the theory to life and help people make emotional connections. Students also told many of their own stories and shared experiences in the discussion forums. I consider this one of my most successful projects because it really inspired people to change.
The course looks dated now, but for a project in 2007, I was quite proud of it. Looking back, I can also see the stories in this course as one step on my own journey to incorporating storytelling in elearning.
This was also a rewarding project because the SME was fantastic. We developed a great working relationship, and I learned a ton from her. That was also a time when I had a wonderful manager and team. While I don’t intend to ever quit working on my own, I value the time I had with that team. Even 10+ years later, those relationships make me look fondly back at this project.
One of my very first freelance projects was not successful, although it was an excellent learning experience for me. I made a number of mistakes that I now know to avoid.
- Mistake #1: It was a subcontracted project, but I didn’t have a detailed Statement of Work.
- Mistake #2: I briefly discussed a scenario-based approach with the owner of the contracting company, and I thought he understood what I planned.
- Mistake #3: The client reviewed and approved the storyboard, but the owner never looked at anything until I had the full Captivate course completed. I didn’t make sure I got sign-offs from the owner at each stage.
The owner of the subcontracting company was aghast that I hadn’t created a traditional “click next” page turner course and demanded (in all caps) that I scrap everything and completely recreate the whole course over a weekend. Since I couldn’t complete that amount of work in his time frame, I offered to either do a smaller revision over the weekend or a full revision in two weeks. He wouldn’t accept that his demand was impossible, so I didn’t get paid for the rest of the project.
I know now to have better agreements in place, especially regarding reviews and revisions. If the owner had reviewed the course at the storyboard stage or we’d had a better definition of the course in the agreement, I’m sure we could have come up with a solution that worked for everyone.
Your best ID projects? Your worst?
What are your best and worst ID projects? What have you learned from those experiences?
This post, like many of my posts, was prompted by a question from a reader. I love good questions that make me think and reflect like this. If you have a question you’d like to see me answer here, you can send it via my contact form. Email readers, just reply to this message.
Originally published 10/3/2013. Updated 6/4/2020.