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EPDM Training

Cubic Corporation

Summary

One of the main projects I worked on at Cubic was a collection of internal training material for Cubic engineers. The lessons were built in SmartBuilder, a Flash-based eLearning software. This project involved iterative designing (to achieve adult education goals) and implementation of content.

The implemented design of a screenshot click-through lesson (blurred for confidentiality).

Problem

Cubic engineers use a custom-modified version of SolidWorks Enterprise PDM (EPDM), a tool used to manage files and file versioning. In the past, Cubic relied on linear videos to train its engineers. The team in charge of EPDM requested a better training suite in response to an inundation of support calls and help requests.

In my initial evaluation, I researched the unique goals and requirements of adult education, reaffirming the need to create interactive training with varied repetition of content.

Semantic outline of full lesson based on researched adult learning paradigms.

Process

I met with the content providers to determine what kind of material was desired and possible to display. The software we were using (Suddenly Smart's SmartBuilder) allowed for navigation and advanced logic, so we determined that we could create clickable screenshot walkthroughs that mimic the behavior of the actual software interface.

I sketched out several possible training interfaces, careful to keep in mind the design goals as determined from adult education principles and from the team in charge of the software (who had specific tasks and scenarios in mind). I met with co-workers to informally evaluate the usability of my interface designs, then decided on a template for the training. Ultimately, the design featured passive and active (e.g. following along by clicking on the screenshots) presentation of material.

Designing the information architecture and interaction flow for a full lesson.
Sketch of design template for one type of lesson page, with implemented design for comparison.

Next, I created a template in SmartBuilder, developing it to be easily scalable and adaptive to multiple formats of content. By putting extra thought into the backend template design, I was able to dramatically reduce the amount of work needed to create subsequent pages of content.

Results

I ended up creating lessons for the first version of the content (totalling close to 80 multi-page lessons), which was distributed to hundreds of engineers across Cubic. The training material was seen as a dramatic improvement over the traditional videos because it introduced interactive elements that helped the trainees get a feel for how to use the software, rather than watching a video of it being used.

Later, we began adding audio content to accompany and elaborate on the written content in the lessons. As of March 2012, the source content is being updated, so the SmartBuilder lessons are being modified to stay up to date. Due to the design of the templates, it is easy to add new content for future updates.

Unfortunately, due to confidentiality reasons, I cannot reveal specific details of the interface designs.

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