ExperienceMap: A Tool to Help Training Managers Develop Learning Experiences
Learning professionals in both commercial and military organizations use various education and training planning tools to construct courses and full curriculums for a given training need. Most of these tools use some form of job analysis to break down the entire job into a set of competencies and associated knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSAs). The identified KSAs are then mapped to learning objectives that are often grouped together to form a course or series of experiences. Currently,
... ing courses are mapped into this framework using a manual and labor intensive process. There is a noticeable gap in the ability for training managers to have a visual way to diagnose gaps in a current curriculum based on required competencies for a given role. In this paper, we discuss a tool to help business and learning professionals design integrated, engaging, targeted, and multidimensional learning experiences in a visual and fluid way. Through curriculum design research, interviews with subject matter experts, and best practices in usability, the Experience Map (or xMap) was developed to replace spreadsheets, text documents, and manually created visual diagrams. The focus of xMap is to help learning professionals plan, design, visualize, and diagnose experiences through an iterative, four-step fluid process: (1) Define tags such as roles, regions, competencies, time requirements, mode; (2) Design activities with a fluid drag and drop functionality; (3) Analyze results by sorting and filtering on specific activities; and (4) Enhance experiences by rearranging or adding activities. Our team involved several corporate clients and learning experts to help define the requirements and overall design of the xMap tool. Also presented in this paper is formative evaluation of the tool with both commercial and military training experts. Results from the formative evaluation show that learning professionals rate the xMap high in usability and effectiveness over manual methods currently used.