Interview with Matthew Grose – DOE eLearning

thumb_doe_draftOne project I recently completed for the Department of Energy (DOE) is an introductory course for federal project managers called Project Management Essentials. It trains industry standards for project management and helps prepare individuals for certification as a Project Management Professional (PMP). DOE has a four-tier curriculum in project management that corresponds to four levels of federal project manager certification, based largely on the dollar value of the project being managed. The curriculum is extensive and this course is the very first a prospective project manager will complete.

Before MetaMedia created this SCORM conformant online version, the course was distance learning, taught primarily using video conferencing. My team and I used the existing printed course manuals, watched recordings of video conferences, and consulted with subject matter experts to develop a design document that detailed our content organization, learning strategies, and assessment strategies. Once that was approved, a team of five to six instructional designers went to work storyboarding and developing the course using the Articulate Suite 09 authoring tools.

The resulting 27 hour courseware is 100% audio-driven. It is interactive with multiple activities and embedded non-scored self checks to make sure learners are picking up the important concepts. It includes attachments that serve as learning resources outside the actual courseware and that often directly support a course activity. Each of the sixteen lessons concludes with a scored assessment to evaluate learning on each of the learning outcomes.

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One of the management challenges I faced was the close coordination required between MetaMedia and the DOE IT group. The two teams worked together to integrate courseware with current learning management system structure at DOE, and the standards they had established, especially when it came to where the external attachment resources would reside. I also had to coordinate with multiple sub-contractor courseware developers we used to augment our own development team so that the course we delivered appeared as if it was written with one voice. To facilitate this, we developed a detailed style guide and required all of our designers to use it for such things as how feedback to self check questions was delivered, to make certain that events of instruction were all properly represented, and that fonts, font sizes and colors were all standardized. The ambitious development schedule made for some long hours making this one of the more challenging projects I have ever managed. But delivering the finished courseware after all of the hard work was a rewarding experience.

The courseware was piloted during the winter of 2013-2014 and pilot received very positive reviews.

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