The making of the ‘Six Characteristics’ tutorial

As described by Eugénie King

Have a go at the tutorial

 

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What were you trying to achieve with this tutorial?

The Introduction to the Six Characteristics is an interactive tutorial that introduces the key concepts with scenarios and decision-making or judgement-making exercises.

It was designed as an exploration – we wanted to let learners test their assumptions in an environment that emphasises that there are no wrong answers; to move towards the idea of guided exploration rather than exposition.

We could have just written a list of the six concepts and given some examples but we wanted to make sure people could contextualise each concept and see how it applied to situations with which they might be familiar.

In addition to allowing people to explore the 6Cs, we wanted to demonstrate that tutorials can be visually exciting, too. We worked with an illustrator to bring the scenarios and information to life.

How did you set about designing the tutorial?

We had been interested in exploring the possibilities of the Oppia tool for some time but wanted to ensure we weren’t using it for the sake of trying something new. When launching More Than Blended Learning, we wanted to explore each core principle in a conversational style and Oppia lent itself very well to the task. Based on that success, we were happy to use it again here.

Clive scripted the tutorial with input from the rest of the team. I commissioned the illustrations and built the finished product.

Who worked with you on this project?

The More Than Blended Learning team and our illustrator, Lon Chan at Licensed To Ill.

What tools did you use?

We used Oppia to build the tutorial and Lon worked in Adobe Illustrator.

How happy are you with the end result?

I’m very happy with the result. The structure of Oppia can seem a little repetitive and if we were to rebuild the tutorial I might suggest we develop it ourselves without using an authoring tool, as we did with the Four Responsibilities scenario.

Having said that, it does exactly what we wanted it to do. Oppia is a free tool that could quickly and easily revolutionise the way content is presented and interacted with by learners. As an alternative to the ‘click next’ content we see so much of, I am very pleased with what we achieved.

I love the illustrations. You rarely see such high quality, bespoke visuals in learning content. Having now been through the experience of commissioning illustrations for ourselves, I would definitely encourage others to consider doing the same.

Grabs from the tutorial

Applying the six characteristics


Concept

The tutorial allows users to explore the characteristics of compelling content using scenarios that will be familiar to them. They can explore how they might make content decisions in safe but real-world analogous situations.


Structure

The tutorial is structured as a series of scenarios, followed by questions, leading the user through a series of explorations that build into a picture of how to make good content decisions.


Media

We used a combination of text and graphics. In some ways we were limited by the platform we had chosen to use but we wanted to demonstrate that a well-written tutorial plus excellent illustrations was adequate for the job.


The words

The script is written in an informal style that provides the impression of a conversation with a coach or tutor. We think it is highly important for anyone using learning content to get the feeling that they are interacting with a human, even though this is obviously indirect.


Storytelling

We used characters and followed them through their trials, tribulations and successes, to demonstrate situations that the learner could relate to.


Challenges

The tutorial has a dual purpose – to inform and to allow for exploration. The questioning aspect of Oppia allowed us to challenge and engage in equal measure, providing the learner with opportunities to demonstrate that they’s understood the key messages.

What now?

Script for introduction to the six characteristics tutorial


Eugenie King

Eugénie King is a Director and Co-Founder of Skills Journey