Preston College

Scientific industries blended learning programme


Direct link: Go to Click on ‘staff’ tab top left of page. Scroll down to ‘My Course’ option and click on the icon. The username is   jisconline. The password is Scorm_2015  (note: capital ‘S’ and underscore)

.Via Jorum to download and upload to VLE:

Commissioned content: Multi-media packages to deliver guided learning for six complete units in the Scientific Industries, covering ‘traditional’ areas and ‘passive’ content that is framed interactively.

Project contact: Steve Smith

Here’s Steve Smith’s blog about the experience of the project:

project people

From Poodle to Gorilla in 12 weeks!
So like Indiana Jones snatching his hat as the stone door slams shut, we just finished our units by the Easter break! We had promised to make 6 units in the pharmaceutical dental and laboratory industries but ended up with 7. Our first unit took us 5 weeks to make and the last units just 5 days.

When we knew our bid had been successful all those months ago we were filled with glee – both aims of the project made great sense to us – our scientific industry apprentices need access to better more engaging online resources and we needed to build our capacity and confidence to author the materials.

Then our only Articulate Storyline author went and moved to another job! Frank and I looked at each other – do we throw in the towel? Hell no! Remember the second aim – build capacity – so we bought several Storyline licences and became avid online tutorial junkies.

Our very first attempt at a unit looked like PowerPoint with lipstick – linear, and boring! Richard Sharples Kath Lowe and I formed a local ‘self-help’ group of project leaders and looking at Richard’s work I immediately knew where we were going wrong – I said to Frank and Joe (fellow authors) back at college we had to reinvent our player format and change to open navigation.

I won’t bore you with our trials and tribulations you’ve had plenty yourself no doubt but I will say how stimulating it has been to grow in skill and confidence as our units took shape. College management have seen us grow from Poodles to authoring Gorillas and have now asked us to:

Design units for our funeral care apprentices for September 2015

Design units for carers in hospices for September 2015

Completely re-vamp our staff online mandatory training materials for July 2015

So thanks for the opportunity Ruth, and thanks for the rigorous quality processes David – I will end with some ‘lessons learned’…

  • Plan the whole unit from the outset – we used a graphic ‘site map’ for each one which was copied to the subject experts and the software authors and became our ‘bible’ for the whole process
  • Decide on who will be editor (they could also be project manager) who are the subject experts and who will author the units – try to keep roles clear e.g. don’t ask unit authors to chase contributions – have one person responsible for quality overall
  • Decide on an instructional design don’t allow features of the software to determine how the unit should play – will the unit take a novice and bring them to a certain point? Is the student already an expert and needs ‘stretching’? Are you going to use conditional or unconditional knowledge constructs? Is the unit to be used for blended learning, autonomous individual learning or for learning in a social context?
  • Set a ‘house style’ and be clear about fonts, colours, sizes and placement – especially if more than one author is working on a unit
  • Action plan well in advance for any media production – try and make your movies ahead of schedule so you have time for post-production work and a ‘buffer’ if the model suddenly becomes unavailable or other uncontrollable situation
  • Don’t accept PowerPoints and Prezis from contributors without question – they are usually didactic instruments that don’t work well in online units without a good deal of re-authoring. In fact spend time training your would-be authors in material submission and matters such as house style while you have got them
  • If a contributor agrees to a deadline for material submission ask them for it slightly before the deadline. We find late submissions of materials was the main cause of project ‘creep’
  • Select apprentices for the unit trials well in advance and brief them on the outcomes you need – then if the time for appraisal has shortened due to drifting publication deadlines they are better able to ‘take the slack’ and turn around their comments very quickly.

Project summary: This project will develop a suite of blended learning resources through the School of Scientific Industries to enhance the delivery of Apprenticeship Frameworks. We will design and produce interactive multi-media packages directly mapped to individual units within the Pharmacy, Dental and Laboratory Operatives frameworks. We have chosen units which contain informative and legislative content, fundamental to the work roles and framework achievement, but difficult to deliver in a stimulating way. ‘Passive’ content will be framed interactively to engage and inspire learners and to provide exciting and effective learning, reflecting real-life workplace experiences. Content will be designed with employer input and will be piloted with groups of learners alongside assessor, employer and workplace supervisors to ensure it meets current industry standards and real-world working practices. Wherever possible, content will be developed use real work place environments, employees and learners to create interactive learning that genuinely represents the current workplace atmosphere.


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