WaitingRoomOne of the most important questions we ask when designing any training is: How can we make this training engaging so learners can put their knowledge into action on the job? Boring training can sap meaning from even the most important topics.

So when DSS asked the Center for a memorable and engaging online version of their mandatory training on the crucial Americans with Disabilities Act of 1996, our Instructional Design and Production team knew that it had to be as engaging as possible.

Beyond legal parameters, DSS staff need to know how they can best serve anyone with disabilities. The Center’s instructional designer had to understand what the law states and the best solutions for DSS workers to use. To that end, we interviewed DSS’s ADA Coordinator and members of the disability advocacy group able SC for their expert perspective and knowledge.

Once we had all of the information, the instructional designer drew up prototypes for the design of the course. These are paper-drawn mock-ups of how screens will show information and the interface for activities. The design had to be engaging and interactive. DSS and able SC members met to review and revise the prototypes. Once the prototypes were final, we wrote the scripts that narrated the modules and the activities. After client approval, the project moved into the production phase, where we created customized graphics to bring the training to life.

Since the Center had the pleasure of partnering with a dynamic disability advocacy group, we asked Dori Tempio, able SC’s Director of Community Outreach and Consumer Rights, to appear on camera to help better teach disability-related rights and solutions. She appears in most of the modules with targeted, practical advice and perspective for learners. She greatly enriches the training.

Once the online modules were created and put through Center quality control, DSS staff were given a chance to “road test” the modules and give feedback to make sure that the trainings were on-target and useful for the diverse functions of DSS staff. Some final tweaking assured the training was ready for roll-out across the state.

Lynn McLendon, DSS ADA Coordinator, worked with great responsiveness on the training as it was created. She says, “We appreciate all of the work the Center has done and I think this is a great product for DSS…It will mean a great deal to the clients we serve and help our workers serve our clients much better.”

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