Instructional design/Rapid Prototyping/Techniques

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Prototype Design Process[edit | edit source]

Prototype-design.png

According to Jones and Richey[1], there are four steps to successful prototyping:

  1. Identify prototype content - What salient features of your design do you want to test? What do you hope to learn about your design? Select a minimal amount of content to prototype.
  2. Build prototype - Using the methods described below, build a prototype of your concept.
  3. Review prototype - Evaluate your prototype on pre-determined standards. Does the prototype provide insight into your design? Are all stakeholders satisfied with the results? If not, return to steps 1 and 2.
  4. Freeze design - Once all stakeholders and designers are satisfied, cease adding new features and begin development of the pilot, or beta, version of the instruction.

A Description of Prototype Formats[2][edit | edit source]

Prototypes come in several different formats. Based on your design needs and constraints, each prototype format serves a very specific role.

If your goals include planning, organizing, visualizing, or communicating design concepts, you should utilize a scope/visual format.
If your goals include testing, proof-of-concept, or demonstrating design concepts, you should utilize an executable format.

Scope/Visual Formats[3][edit | edit source]

  • Alpha Prototype: Typically the first version of the prototype that illustrates format, navigation, content, and graphics. May have some user and computer interactions.
  • Documentation Prototype: Models the completed user documentation [paper or online]. Illustrates format, graphics, and presentation.
  • Generic Template Prototype: Used across multiple units to illustrate content; instructional strategies, media, setting, and measurement tools.
  • User-Interface Prototype: Illustrates navigation and flow without complete functionality (syntactically incomplete). Also known as a Mockup Prototype.

Executable Formats[4][edit | edit source]

  • Beta Prototype: Essentially a finished product that is ready for pilot test or research; has complete functionality (syntactically complete). Also known as a Pilot Prototype.
  • Functional Prototype: Demonstrates user and computer interactions. May be syntactically complete or incomplete. Also known as Technical Prototype.
  • Rough Cut Prototype:Illustrates labeling conventions, sequencing, clarity of the message, and pacing in a videotape.
  • Rough Sequence Prototype:Illustrates clarity of images sequenced together in videotape.

Prototyping Methods[edit | edit source]

Once you've selected your format, you can select your prototyping method. Make sure to consider your needs and constraints when selecting your prototyping method.

If you are building a Scope/Visual format prototype, select one of the following methods:

  • Sketching: A rapidly executed freehand drawing that is not intended as a finished work.
  • Storyboarding: Graphic organizers such as a series of illustrations or images displayed in sequence for the purpose of pre-visualizing a sequence of events.
  • Algorithms and Flowcharts: A diagram that illustrates the steps of a given process as boxes of various kinds, and their order by connections with arrows.
  • Scenarios: Brief written draft outlining one or more design scenarios, including detailed descriptions of instructional contexts. Often take form as short stories.

If you are building a Executable format prototype, select one of the following methods:

  • Wizard-of-Oz (Paper Prototyping): Basic interactions and interfaces are constructed on paper and tested by end users. Interactions are simulated by having someone (an evaluator) adjust the prototype according to a user's interactions.
  • Physical Prototyping: Using foam, cardboard, and other materials to construct representations of objects.
  • Facade Prototyping: The construction of interfaces with an ability to specify input behavior. Often contains meaningless data and content placeholders.
  • High-Fidelity Prototyping: Interactive, functional software that includes content. Often developed in Adobe Flash or similar authoring tools.

You will practice using these concepts in the next section.

Please proceed to the next section:

Back Next

  1. Jones, Toni S., and Rita C. Richey. "Rapid Prototyping Methodology in Action: A Developmental Study." Educational Technology Research and Development 48.2 (2000): 63-80. Print.
  2. Jones, Toni S., and Rita C. Richey. "Rapid Prototyping Methodology in Action: A Developmental Study." Educational Technology Research and Development 48.2 (2000): 63-80. Print.
  3. Nixon, E., Lee, D. "Rapid Prototyping in the Instructional Design Process." Performance Improvement Quarterly. 14(3) pp. 95-116.
  4. Nixon, E., Lee, D. "Rapid Prototyping in the Instructional Design Process." Performance Improvement Quarterly. 14(3) pp. 95-116.