Case Study Overview
VanEd is one of the United States's most successful and trusted online real estate schools. Its mission is to offer the highest quality online real estate courses, which meet every students' needs and meet the most current real estate requirements. VanEd has consistently been reviewed as a top Colorado real estate school and with this in mind, the goal was to implement the most modern distance education features (infographics, videos, and various interactive elements) with a user interface the allows for a harmonious learning experience.
Step 1: Building a New Vision
While VanEd had upgraded the user interface for their LMS (learning management system), there was still a need for creative assets and interactive elements to provide to students within their online courses.
A vision was created with the VanEd course development team to add more interactive elements, videos, and visual learning tools to the courses. There was also a need for rapid development tools, which would make the course development process quicker and more widely accessible. Here is what the team laid out.
Project Goals and Objectives
-Decide on a path for video production that meshes with VanEd's branding.
-Design and develop interactive front-end content (graphs/charts, scenarios, quizzes, etc.).
-Develop ColdFusion-based custom tags for rapid development of these front-end elements.
-Design a variety of infographics and visuals to reinforce concepts.
Step 2: Giving students more of what they want need.
While real estate is a text-heavy subject, VanEd's courses needed to keep students engaged with less of a reliance on paragraph after paragraph of text. In an online course of paragraph after paragraph of text, students were very quickly becoming bored and disengaged with the content.
After making this discovery, it was time to act.
Break text-heavy courses up with engaging content. - done
Use creative ways to teach text-heavy topics. - done
Provide students with a way to "take a breather". - done
Adding different types of infographics and front-end elements, utilizing videos, interactive learning features, and providing more exercises, quizzes, and case studies allowed for students to feel more enthused about the material and really enjoy taking VanEd's courses.
Creating an LMS that utilized a single learning method (e.g. e-learning games) was not the path VanEd wanted to take. From data that was compiled from student feedback, the team decided to work toward an LMS that offered e-learning methods that benefited all types of learning styles.
With this in mind, new front-end content was created, including fill-in-the-blank exercises with images, scenarios in a "choose your own adventure" style, audio snippets, and various other mixed-media content.
Step 4: Providing quick and accessible development tools
After the majority of the front-end content was created, the next step was to extend the ColdFusion custom tags library and to create a front-end development admin site, which would provide documentation and easy access to the myriad of newly created front-end elements. The goal was that this development admin site would allow course developers a quick way to add the necessary front-end elements to courses to speed up the development process.
-Develop ColdFusion custom tags with multiple parameters to display Bootstrap and jQuery elements.
-Organize these tags into meaningful and relevant categories.
-Provide quick and easy-to-comprehend documentation on how to use these tags within the admin site.
-Provide other front-end development tools such as image-map generators, live word count tools, and more.