We’ve talked about two of the three teams comprising the content design team at ICOM. This week we’re taking a look at the interactive team.
Remember when you were a kid reading a Choose Your Own Adventure book and wondered how anyone could put together all those different choices and endings so they made sense? That’s what our interactive team does. They create the multiple choice questions, drag-and-drop activities, matching questions, games, and other exciting features found in eLearning courses.
Whenever a user is asked to click, drag, or otherwise interact with some content, they’ll be there, behind the scenes, making the magic happen.
To do this, they need to map out every possible path a learner could input and make sure each of those paths leads to the right content and provides the right feedback. It takes a lot of planning, planning, and more planning to build a viable interactive piece.
The interactive team gets involved in a project early to ensure the team has enough time to build all the interactive pieces on schedule. Because many interactive pieces are custom built for ICOM courses, they are planned out carefully by members of both the interactive and instructional design teams before development begins.
Delivering quality interactive content can take time and attention to the fine details. A custom-built course menu could take as little as one day or as many as five days to complete, depending on the complexity and technical requirements. The team has also built many complex course activities like games and simulations which required weeks of development. Sometimes, the interactive team can be engaged for even longer durations developing standalone software to support the learning or business requirements of a client.
Development for the interactive team means hours of coding in addition to planning. If you’re at all familiar with coding, it can be tedious and very complex work, but this is something our interactive team truly enjoys. They’re often perfectionists, so they love the chase and the challenge. They also love that they get to learn or create something new almost every day.
Coders at the core, the interactive team works in many languages, including ActionScript and C# to create most of the interactive content. A unique strength of ICOM’s interactive team is they remain focused on putting education first in everything they do. The team is always focused on creating the best experience for the learner by ensuring the interactive piece has an educational element rather than just being a distraction in the middle of a course.
The interactive team is focused on providing an educational experience to their fellow ICOMers, as well. The team offers support to the other two groups on the development floor by providing guidance on all things interactive and code-based issues. The team is poised to take on a larger role in the development of ICOM’s core technologies and in research and development in 2014, adding even more tasks on the To Do List for the interactive team. But that’s OK. The interactive team likes to call themselves the Swiss army knife of development at ICOM, and they wouldn’t have it any other way.
You can sort of think of them as wizards–the good kind. And while they may be behind the scenes, they certainly don’t hide behind any curtains. They’re right on the development floor in the middle of everything with their hands in just about every pot, and they wouldn’t change a thing.