Many individuals in supervisory roles all over the globe have a similar problem. How can you be firm but not too firm, provide feedback but not be rude or disrespectful about it? Many companies try ways to solve this problem using different methods. Some are successful, while others are not. To ensure a positive work environment it is important these guidelines and boundaries are established early on.
Needing a way to show the managers what they were doing wrong, why their behavior may be unacceptable and how to make improvements on it, a non-disclosed client came to Designing Digitally, Inc. wanting to do just that. The company wanted to address the situation head on and go back to the ground roots of the company’s philosophies by providing on-the-job training for its supervisors to increase morale in areas where this was an issue.
Designing Digitally, Inc. created a 2D eLearning module using animations of 3D avatars acting out scenarios in a 3D environment. The team decided on an “undercover” boss approach that would give the learner an outside perspective of what is going on in the workplace around them.
To meet the standards of the company's learning management system (LMS) the development had to be created in Flash. Before submitting a proposal for the project the team at Designing Digitally, Inc. evaluated possible platforms and solutions that would meet this requirement because at the time no viable 3D Flash platform was available. Along with the LMS requirements, two other major factors had to be taken into consideration. First was that the training had been done before and just simply showing pictures and talking about the problem was not getting the message across. Also, anyone in a supervisory position within the company, from a person in-charge of three people all the way to upper management, would be taking this course. Therefore, ease of use for the learner and time to complete were additional key factors. This meant using a full virtual world environment where the learner would walk around as an avatar would not provide the training platform they needed.
Based on these key factors the team decided to move forward with a 2D solution that utilized 3D assets. Dozens of scenarios were storyboarded using multiple characters and scenes. Autodesk Maya was used to create the environments along with the 3D avatars with speaking gestures and mouth movements synced to MP3’s of nearly 10 voiceover talents. Within the training a manager is taken from his normal daily tasks to go undercover as an employee in order to see first hand how some of the supervisors under him are treating employees as well as seeing how upper management is treating its lower level supervisors. The user also learns the consequences of these actions and what they need to do to turn things around. This journey provides the learner with eye-opening real world examples of the culture in the workplace.
Development started with the company's LMS and content standards documentation. The company had very strict standards that needed to be followed, but this also helps to narrow many of the questions down at the beginning of development. The development team started with creating testing files of both the LMS coding as well as the video and audio file format to ensure the development would work properly in their system. From there a shell could be created and full development of all Flash and 3D assets was started.
We learned from the client at the end of the project that after seeing the first draft development, the training staff and even the legal department were excited to see the finished product implemented into standard on-the-job training and so far we understand this has received quite a positive reaction from the learners.
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