Develop a Functional Prototype

The most common method for doing instructional design is to prepare a design document with accompanying story boards to show the design of your product. These documents are then given to production folks to actually produce the instructional materials. Michael Allen (see reference below) advocates the use of successive approximation as a design methodology. He believes that no e-learning application is perfect, that functional prototypes are better than storyboards and design specs, and that quick and dirty is beautiful. Another name for successive approximation is rapid prototyping. This is the design methodology we will use in this course.
A functional prototype is an interactive mockup of the final product with liberal annotation. In early versions drawings and sketches may take the place of graphics, video or audio but the basically functionality of the program is programmed so that it can be observed. There are different tools that can be used to create a functional prototype. In this course we recommend using PowerPoint which has some limitations but can still get you close to a functional prototype. If you have skills with some other authoring tool that allows very rapid prototyping and very rapid changes to prototypes you are welcome to use that tool instead. The idea is to get to an operational program as quickly as possible and then with each iteration in the design process to add to or modify this functional prototype.

For more elaboration of successive approximation see Chapter 4 Getting There through Successive Approximation (pp 99-142), in the following:

Allen, M. W. (2003). Michael Allen's Guide to e-Learning. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Inc.






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