why i hate deveLoping wbt

I’m currently assigned to an amazing project that has some real potential to deliver results.  One of those “gift” projects that level one and two assessments will be easy to do, and level three and four assessments will prove behaviour change and return on investment.  I will be one of those lucky instructional designers who smile knowingly when discussing kirkpatrick and have a real life example of a time we used four levels of evaluation.

But my GOSH I hate developing wbt.

Our level ones are “baked”, but I have to create a level two in wbt and publish it to our LMS.  This is the part of my job that does not cause me satisfaction (the entering it into wbt part – the writing of the assessment I enjoyed!).  But I did it, using a template, and it looks fabulous.  It’s lovely.  I even QA’ed it this morning, with a near perfect score.  There’s just one tiny little thing wrong but this one tiny little thing is the exact absolute reason I hate (developing) wbt.

Side rant:  wbt sucks as a learning delivery channel.  I don’t like it, I think we should avoid it, and I have never learned anything useful by popup text boxes and avatars.  Anything you could learn in a wbt could be better presented in a video.  And quicker.  And less stupidly fake looking.

Back to my current issue.  The one tiny little issue is that during the 10 questions, the forward button stays enabled.  Adult learning principles tell me that’s probably okay, let the adult learner do whatever they want – it’s their quiz to fail or pass or do over a hundred times.  However, in the LMS it ends up returning a null response to this and it ends up freezing.  Really – if it happens (which is unlikely) the user is likely to shut it down and try again.  It’s not that big of a deal, but it isn’t elegant.

So I went into the files and tried to fix it. We have an advanced script to run that hides the forward button.  Awesome!  I applied that and tried again.  The downside of this course of action is that the forward button is hidden from all question slides.  So then the user must somehow “know” to use the submit button instead.  Not very elegant.

And worse, if the back button is disabled, so that learners cannot go backward, the wbt goes forward when the user hits the back button because the entire screen works like a hot spot.  Yikes.

I finally fixed these issues and  republished.  The forward button is disabled, the back button is enabled, and the entire thing scores properly and navigates as best as expected.  Of course, all the spacing has been ruined so I had to go in and fix that.  Republish.  Fix something else.  Republish.

8 hours later, I think I have a viable wbt assessment.  And strong hatred for this delivery channel.


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