I try to develop scenario-based, character-driven courses whenever possible. Consequently, I spend a lot of time thinking about where the action will be set. In fact, I allocate a large part of my development time to what I call "building the set." It's the most difficult part for me because those early decisions influence the rest of the development process. In this post, I'll provide some insight into my process.
Setting is the place and time and in which the story takes place. I choose my setting intentionally because I know they influence how the learner will experience the course.
My settings fall into three categories:
There are two types of environments: a still image or a assembled image. If you can find the right still image, you can simply put it behind the action. If not, you’ll have to assemble or create it (or change your strategy). You can also begin with a still image and build onto it by adding other objects. Obviously, creating an environment is more difficult and time consuming so tread carefully.
Either way, here are few considerations when building or selecting environments.
Identify the number of settings
Unless all the action is taking place in one room, you’ll need multiple settings. Even if everything could happen in the same room, you may want to add a little variety. Some image libraries will have several shots of different locations in the same office, like the images below. You can take you own images too.
Use the set to display content
One reason I may customize a setting is because I plan to use parts of it to display content and I need a logical place to do it. I typically use a whiteboard, a chalkboard, a projection screen, and a desk.
Use multiple perspectives of the same space
You may want to use different perspectives of the same space. I start with focal point of the design and build out from there. For example, I will build out the office scene with the desk, making all my core design decision there – décor, colors, key objects. Most of the other sets will be variations of the desk setting with the same wall color and type of furniture.
Select an office type
You need to select an office type and be intentional about it. Beyond décor, the biggest consideration is single office vs. cubical farm or shared office space. I typically try to match the typical learner’s office type.
Choose a décor
The décor becomes part of the story whether you want it to or not. The style you choose, whether it be modern or rustic, it sends a message to the learners about the work environment, the people in it, and what’s happening there.
How do you choose your settings? What factors do you consider?
Hadiya Nuriddin is the CEO of Focus Learning Solutions and the founder of Fresh Eye Reviews.
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