Three Perspectives on Simultaneously Creating Two Online Learning Experiences in Concussion Education

Benjamin Morse, Design Manager

Lyndsay Wing, Learning Experience Designer

Jeffrey Butler, Media Designer

Jeff Butler filming Coach Hutchinson being interview on the softball fieldFor the first time, the Center for Academic Innovation has created two projects in a parallel design sprint. We worked with the same faculty team from the newly formed Michigan Concussion Center and Michigan NeuroSport to create two online learning experiences around concussion education. First, “Understanding Sport-Related Concussion Teach-Out,” designed to bring learners together to discuss and consider personal action items related to the topic of concussion and, second, “Michigan Sport-Related Concussion Certification Training,” a course that fulfills the state of Michigan’s concussion education requirement.  In three months, we were able to take the exciting opportunity to create two distinct, yet related, experiences to add to our portfolio. Steven P. Broglio, PhD, Director of Michigan Concussion Center and NeuroTrauma Research Laboratory, put it best, “I was initially a bit concerned about creating both the Teach-Out and MOOC simultaneously, but the [Academic Innovation] team was incredible at outlining the process and generating a workflow that made everything doable and seamless.”

Read on to learn about the unique experiences of our Academic Innovation team members during the development of these two learning experiences.

Benjamin Morse, Design Manager

This was a unique project and an amazing opportunity from a Design Management perspective. When the Concussion Center approached our team, I was immediately intrigued by the idea of parallel design for two separate learning experiences with the same project team, but I also knew there would be new challenges.

Benjamin Morse talking to Coach Hutchinson on the softball fieldAs we worked through scoping and designing both projects, I realized how complementary, yet distinct, the two learning experiences were. The training course featured more didactic content and was filmed using lecture-style presentations. We also designed around specific learning objectives and learning personas.

 For the Teach-Out, we used an agile, journalistic approach which enabled our team to design around interdisciplinary perspectives. This approach also allowed our team to quickly adapt to changing design parameters, such as guest availability and shifting timelines.

It is because of these differences that the two projects were so complementary during design. We had a place to put the didactic, lecture-based content, which was intended to train a specific group of learners, and we also had a place to explore the intricacies of concussion using an interdisciplinary lens aimed at a broad audience. This achievement was only possible because the team from the Concussion Center and NeuroSport trusted the process and did an amazing job taking on these two projects in such a short timeframe. 

Lyndsay Wing, Learning Experience Designer

This design was engaging because I was able to apply my knowledge of learning design to a project with multiple angles. The most unique aspect of this project from a learning design perspective was the tight focus necessary for the certificate training course. This course is directly tied to Michigan law requiring concussion training, so the design had to be intentional. Additionally, the goal was to allow the learner to complete the course in about 20 minutes, so there wasn’t any time to spare! We were able to achieve this goal by having well-crafted  learning objectives at the core of our decision-making around content, assessments, and video creation. This notion was reiterated by Carrie Morton, Deputy Director of the Michigan Concussion Center. Carrie returned to Academic Innovation to work on these projects after collaborating with us on the “Self -Driving Cars Teach-Out” with MCity earlier this year. While reflecting on the process, Carrie said, I was truly impressed with the strategic process that [Academic Innovation] used to create a very honed educational tool with clearly defined learning objectives.”

Dedication to the content and strong organization are the forces that made these two projects come together quickly. The commitment of the faculty team was impressive. They were able to ensure accurate, up-to-date, and helpful information for learners participating in these experiences. Their passion for the content was apparent, as well as their desire to educate others about concussion myths and realities. I’m really proud of our joint efforts and the experiences we produced. 

Jeffrey Butler, Media Designer

The nice thing about MOOCs and Teach-outs are that they are inherently different. Between both formats, you feel as if you’ve captured the whole picture. Working with the same team, in that regard, helped keep production organized and on the same page.  Filming and launching them at the same time made this a unique experience. 

Jeff Butler and Cy Abdelnour filming on the softball fieldThere were challenges along the way. Keeping things organized was important. With such a short timeline to complete both the Teach-Out and MOOC, it was important to make sure that we maximized the time we spent in the studio. 

Another challenge due to our shortened timeline, was to create a Teach-Out that was visually diverse and fresh. We used just about every production setup we could in our studio space and had a few location shoots. Location shoots are my personal favorite format to shoot. They can be visually interesting and the subjects tend to be more comfortable on their own turf, but they are time consuming. When you consider all the factors like packing and unpacking equipment, travel time, set up and breakdown,  it can take up most of a day! 

To see our work in action and learn more about this important topic, consider joining these two new learning experiences. The “Michigan Sport-Related Concussion Certification Training” course is available now and the “Understanding Sport-Related Concussion Teach-Out” is live until the end of September, so be sure to enroll and join the conversation today!


screencap of Sean Swider using ViewPoint tool