Starting somewhere gives you both a starting point and a direction. You begin at starting point 'x' and move forward to ending point 'x'. The journey may not be a straight line but at least you are moving toward the end goal.
I may have started with learning how to storyboard, the pro's and con's of the "Big 3" (Adobe Captivate, Articulate Storyline 2, Trivantis Lectora); and why Techsmith Camtasia is not one of the main three products.
I also may have started by learning about the course topic I have selected for my project: fruit and vegetable organic gardening. Or I may have read a handful of blog posts by companies and developers such as eLearning Brothers and Jennifer Valley.
Another starting point may have been searching the Internet for current e-learning materials on organic gardening.
There are many possible starting points, the important thing is that I selected one and started. As I gain experience in the field and develop expertise in the different areas of eLearning, I can use a more systematic, educated approach to selecting a starting point because I will have knowledge to draw from in making that decision. My beginning point with this project was "I don't know what I don't know" so I need to start knowing something so that I can learn something more.
The starting point that I selected is to read through Robert F. Mager's The New Mager Six-Pack, beginning with Preparing Instructional Objectives. The reason that I selected this particular piece of work is 1) the author was highly recommended by a colleague 2) I currently teach in-person training classes and writing good objectives is something that I can apply immediately.
Mager's main point in Preparing Instructional Objectives is that all good instructional objectives include three characteristics:
• Performance: What will the learner be able to do? (write, circle, underline, etc.)
• Conditions: Under what conditions should the learner be able to perform? (without notes)
• Criterion: How well must the learner perform? (percentage correct)
Here are the objectives based on what I learned. The objectives are for a capstone project for my to-be-developed course:
• Select a geographical area along the Inter-Mountain West to make a 3-year plan for an organic produce garden. Submit the city or area name of the selected area along with the elevation, soil conditions, beginning and ending months of main growing season, and any other factors that may influence produce development in the area.
• Using local and national resources such as Utah State University's Extension Services, create a year-long planting schedule for a 3' x 15' gardening plot that meets the following criteria:
- Incorporate at least 3 companion plants during the main growing seasons of the selected area.
- Cover the entire plot area, including during off-growing seasons
Provide a written description as well as a drawing of the plot area and planting plan.
• Using local and national resources such as Utah State University's Extension Services create a 3-year rotation schedule for a 3' x 15' gardening plot that uses either same plants or new plants from objective 1, but still with at least 3 companion plants during main growing seasons of the selected area. Provide a written description as well as a drawing of the plot area and planting plan.
• Using local and national resources such as Utah State University's Extension Services identify any special needs or considerations, such as clay soil or common pests, for preparing and caring for the garden plot.
As I work through this educational journey I am certain to find better starting points for future projects, but for now just starting is the best starting point.