Case Studies


Case Study #1

The client was a major music broadcast channel and they were looking for an instructional designer to convert their user guide/manual into e-Learning modules. The user guide/manual was over 200 pages and broken into only four sections. The software was an electronic log of what and when was airing at a particular date and time. Studio programmers and operators were the major audience for this learning effort.

Because the sections were so large and the content was so overwhelming, a new module breakdown was creating with an additional 3 sections, now converted to modules. The storyboard was produced and the client signed off on the content. The storyboard contained all graphic inclusions, assessments, feedback and answers, screen text, audio text, technical cues and much more.

After the storyboard was approved a template was created for the e-Learning module that included the color scheme from the cover of the user guide/manual, the logo, and all requested navigational buttons. After the client signed off on the template the development began. Screenshots were captured and sent over to GCLS as Adobe Captivate files. GCLS then labeled each screen, editing when necessary and deleting unnecessary screens. Adobe Captivate 2 was the software used to create their modules.

The methodology used in the design was based on Dr. Ruth Clark’s adult learning principles and e-Learning design. She believes in breaking modules into logical sections creating a logical flow, creating a balance of white space and graphics, not duplicating audio with the text on the screen, and never exceeding 30 minutes in a module if possible. Every other slide contained some type of interaction that the user must participate in, even if just a click or roll-over, and every topic ended with an assessment of some form. The client wished to limit the assessment to two maximum.

As each module was produced it was sent over to the client for review in Flash format. An online file storage service called YouSendIt.com was used for the transfer of large files. Each module was SCORM/AICC compliant and ready for their LMS. Approximately one module per week was delivered to the client.

The recording of audio was the next step and the client had their own voice talent preferred for this task. The audio files were recorded and saved as separate wav files and then attached to the appropriate slide within Captivate. Timing issues were adjusted and the files were then published as Flash files and sent to the client for review.

After the approval the client published their files to their LMS and the project was launched successfully. The entire process took approximately 2 months, for 7 modules total, with the last module being the Certification module. No SME’s were needed for this project.


Case Study #2

The client was a major pharmaceutical company in New Jersey and they were developing an e-Learning Certification course for all finance specialists within the company. It had recently become necessary for the client to integrate the SOX 404 Compliance laws into their organization or they would face major fines. GCLS was assigned the modules on Control Documentation and Design Effectiveness.

The course content was in 3 forms: PowerPoint presentations, various demos on their LMS, which was Plateau, and hard copy documentation. The first step was to combine the information from all three sources and create an outline. Next the outline was plugged into a template of a design document and the design document was then completed. After approval of the design document, an interview was set up with the SME at another location.

An outline of questions and a formal script was drawn up for the interview with the SME and all data was confirmed, denied or further explained. An action item list was given to the SME before departing for all unanswered questions and the date they were due.

The storyboard script was written and inserted into the client’s standard template and assessments were entered at the end of each module. There was a combination of Multiple Choice, True/False, Drag and Drop, and Matching. Feedback responses and answers were also included in the storyboard template as well as technical specifications such as Roll Over and On-Click actions.

Once the storyboard was approved it was handed off to the Flash developer who created a custom template and plugged it into Macromedia Breeze. In this specific case, it was GCLS’ role to remain on-site and sit with the developer and make sure the storyboard “came to life” properly. The Flash assessments were created by GCLS and emailed to the developer.

One technical challenge faced was that Macromedia Breeze kept cutting off the last few seconds of the audio files on each slide. The timing could not be adjusted and support could not fix the issue, so it was decided in the final phase of the project to recreate the entire modules in Flash only. This set the project back another 3-4 weeks.

The module’s style was based on the concept of “relating to the user”. Talking heads were used to introduce each person who had a role in the SOX 404 Compliance process. The user could then relate to that user throughout the module and understand their job role and responsibilities. Each talking head had a real name so the user could remember that “Susan”, for example, was the person they should “listen” to throughout the module. Therefore, the script had to be written as if the talking heads were speaking directly to the user in a conversational style. It was very effective and the users responded very well to the learning.

The two modules were 25 minutes each and was a contribution to a 12 module course with a Certification at the end. Users could actually achieve a partial CPA certification after passing all assessments in this entire 12 module course. Assessments included an essay that was emailed and stored on the LMS for review before a Certificate was issued.


Case Study #3

This client was a major pharmaceutical company in Pennsylvania. They were implementing a new system for recording, tracking and monitoring clinical trials. The users were to be clinicians, nurses, and doctors, for the most part. GCLS was informed that they were not very computer literate. The system was purchased directly from the manufacturer who offers 1 and 2 week workshops with course materials to train users on the product. The client received authorization from the manufacturer to use their course materials as input towards creating their own custom e-Learning for the product.

GCLS was working with another company on the project and they were responsible for the screen captures, traveling to meetings with the client and the Flash development and XML coding. A software application called Raptivity was utilized for interactive games and exercises, and some coding was required.

After further review it was concluded that the course materials were incomplete, confusing and illegible. Unfortunately, the SME was not readily accessible as the company was going through a re-organization and could possibly be eliminated at any time. GCLS was asked by the client to eliminate certain sentences and paragraphs because they could not be accurately verified.

A review of the course materials was complete and a module breakdown was created. Each section of the course was broken down into 12 modules at approximately 30 minutes each. The client signed off on the module breakdown and the storyboarding process began.

The storyboarding process was rushed because the client was now 3 weeks behind schedule.  There were 2 roles; the user and the administrator and both had 12 modules each, some being duplicates. Because of the time constraints they were both created in 14 days flat.

In addition to time constraints there were other issues within the project. Users in Europe and the US were not only using older computers that could not handle the clinical trial system they were launching, but they also did not have multimedia capability on their computers, such as sound cards, speakers and Flash players. After careful negotiating with the budget the client finally decided to upgrade all of the computers in the entire company (US and International).

GCLS role was complete and the last portion of the project, which was development, was handed off to our associates. 2 months later the project was launched and a great success.

In this case the client already had their own LMS and our associate was only going to show them how to send the Certifications to their server and store it for future printing.


Case Study #4 (2009)

Conversion projects have become quite popular. Clients come to me with everything from user guides and audio books to classroom textbooks, looking to convert the content to an exciting, interactive online course. One example would be a client that worked with young adults in helping them prepare for the SAT exam. They came to GCLS with an audio book and the transcriptions for the audio in hopes of converting to an exciting, e-Learning course for this teenage audience.

Since the audio book was already broken into topics, it was fairly simple to create the outline with subtopics for the course.

There were sections on Math, Reading Comprehension and Writing; all broken into several modules by subject topic. Rapid e-Learning development was used in this instance since the timeline was very tight. The client wanted to not only sell the audio tapes online but offer the e-Learning modules to accompany the tapes at a set fee as well.

GCLS created the multiple modules in TurboDemo and Captivate. They introduced two characters used in the audio, a male and female, with a young adult, casual dress, image for each.  The two characters guided them through the course displaying the learning text on objects such as white boards, flip charts, and more. The client did not want a Next button on any of the pages, wanted the course to run through on set timings, so timer animations and the like were used to allow learners time to contemplate answers to sample or practice exercises.

In the reading section, passages were displayed on the screen as the audio narrator read along, and automatically advanced to the next page when a paragraph was completed.

There was also a reference book that was referred to throughout the course that students could utilize for additional exercises, vocabulary tools, and more.

In the end the client was very pleased with the work and I’m hoping in the end his sales and profit margin increased by adding this additional product on his website.


Case Study #5

Another client that came to GCLS with a product, looking for an additional selling source of income, was an anger and conflict management author. He published a book that had been most successful and wanted to create a set of e-Learning modules to accompany it.

After evaluating the content a detailed outline was created and a module topic breakdown was designed. GCLS informed the client that one long module would not be effective, so 3 one hour modules were created.

Since this was a soft skills course on self-improvement, it was important that the learner felt connected to the material and could participate in the learner to make it highly interactive and interesting. Therefore the learner was asked to evaluate themselves numerous times on numerous topics using survey tools in Captivate, to get them involved. Scenarios also introduced characters, situations, and responses that they could compare to themselves.  For example, they may be asked how they normally respond to stress and check off a response from 5 options.

There were no assessments in this course since it was not a pass or fail course, but interactivity such as on-clicks and rollovers and surveys, as well as audio narration by a soothing female voice, were all integrated to deliver the perfect ‘affect’ for this course.

In the end the client was very pleased with the outcome, and still to this day provides glowing references for GCLS.


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