Getting to Know Blockchain Technologies

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Technology is now such an integral part of daily life that there are very few areas that aren’t impacted by it. Yet with that impact come challenges. The speed at which technology moves can leave those who don't keep up with changes and new ideas falling behind.  This course marries the technical content of blockchain technologies with approachable and engaging learning methods. All participants can come away with an understanding of blockchain technologies and those technologies utilizing this system.

  • Responsibilities: Instructional Designer

  • Target Audience: participants of EmpowerU, adult learners approximately aged 18-45

  • Tools: Storyline 360, Vyond, Pixabay

  • Budget: low

  • Year2022

Background

As an instructional designer, I am fascinated with new technologies that have the potential to revolutionize the way people think and learn. I have had an extensive interest in blockchain technology and its use in virtual reality platforms.  As a working partner, I was given the opportunity to work with EmpowerU to develop an introductory course with the aim of giving learners the foundational skills in blockchain and Web 3.0 technologies. Using the content for the module given to me,   I was tasked with making it approachable, relatable, and entertaining. This content was designed for a broad participant age range with minimal learner characteristics, which meant I needed to focus on appealing to a broad audience. 

 

To appeal to such an audience, I utilized common associations with technology. I wanted this course to have a futuristic feel and for the background music to feel energetic, youthful, and optimistic. It was important to me that I utilize the EmpowerU brand kit as well as fonts, images, and interactions that had a futuristic and modern feel. I used a futuristic-styled video in the background to create an immersive experience but used a graphite-colored overlay so that the video would not distract from the written and visual content. This background video was also used to simulate video game design giving the course an experiential feel. Muted oranges and yellows were used as the dominant colors while pale white and purples were used to exaggerate key content. 

 

While designing this content I wanted to focus on creating relatable and entertaining content that would keep learners engaged through dense technical content.

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Muted colors contrast the dark video background. 

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Animated videos are used to explain key concepts.

Process 

In working with EmpowerU I was given information on each topic and a rough course outline to work from in designing the lessons. Preliminarily going through this information,  I realized how much technical jargon was included and what I would need to break down or further understand for myself. I researched topics I was unfamiliar with as well as worked with EmpowerU's subject matter experts who answered questions I had along the way. 

In putting together a process that would make the information flow cohesively, I looked at the relationship between different elements on a blockchain. From what I discovered,  the fundamental technology of the blockchain is what all other technologies use. Thus  I needed to spend time really focusing on developing a solid foundation for learners in understanding the blockchain so that users could then understand how the different elements work together.

Designing the Module

This module focuses heavily on the different technologies that use blockchain. Thus each technology had to stand out against the others so as to not confuse participants. While all technologies are similar, they are not the same. I utilized the materials to explain core concepts and implemented animated videos to demonstrate scenarios or bridge ideas. 

 

As an introductory lesson, I was mindful to present content at the surface level. I also incorporated test and quiz questions throughout the lessons to measure retention. These test and quiz questions were introduced with an anticipatory video to bring down test anxiety as well as to give participants a moment to review the material. Questions were clustered in groups of 2-3 questions, mimicking an informal feel. These questions were used to collect real-time data and were not scored at this time (such a feature may be added at a later date).   A variety of quiz types were used such as short answers, multiple-choice, and drag-and-drop features. 

 

The rest of the module includes additions not available for public view.

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Click through features to promote engagement.

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Short answer response question. 

Takeaways 

This project opened my eyes to the possibilities of emerging technologies and the impact they have on not only learning but our future lives. As an instructional designer, teaching and technology will always be a part of my career.  I focused on bridging content, entertainment, and motivation to create a key introductory course that should engage learners in the fundamentals of robotics.