TRANSMEDIA: Experience Design

Learners move seamlessly from reading a book to examining and evaluating web-based content to taking digital camera photos to holding an online discussion. How will you guide the learner so they don’t get lost? How do you help users wove together and interconnect the resources and tools?

Needs Assessment

  • What do students need to be able to know, communicate and do?
  • How can learners demonstrate knowledge and skills through communication, creation, and/or collaboration?
    • Game: points, awards
    • Checklist: process activities
    • Rubric: quality elements
    • Solution
  • What are the most difficult elements to understanding? What approach will facilitate learning these elements?
    • If learners need a context, think about narrative
    • If learners need examples, think about different paths
    • If learners need practice, consider different paths
    • If learners need differentiation… incorporate options to meet needs

Approach to Experience

  • What do you want students to do during this experience? What active role will they play in learning?
    • Controlled
    • Guided
    • Free
  • A combination of approaches may be useful
    • Story/Journey-based
    • Inquiry-based
    • Place-based
    • Object-based
    • Artifact-based
    • Problem-based
    • Project-based
    • Challenge-based
    • Simulation-based
    • Game-based

Content Organization and Experience Structure

  • Entry Points. The front door is the obvious entry point for an experience. A dashboard, tent-pole, front-end, or starting point is used to jumpstart the experience. This might be a book, video, website, timeline, map, or artifact. It provides the main line of narrative for the experience. However, there may be other back doors that can be used to enrich the experience through background information, documentation, and social elements. Participants must be able to seemingly move within the system. The interface must be intuitive and easy-to-use. Often called the “rabbit hole,” projects often have a trigger site or event that leads participants into the story or gaming experience. The entry point may also have an introduction, teaser, or trigger that sparks interest, ignites the story… a url on a piece of paper, an announcement over a loud speaker, secret message, a video teaser.
    Technology: The entry could be created with a web page, PowerPoint links, Glogster page, or other tools. Create PowerPoint Frontends and stories rather than the web for Kids. Make them self-contained.
    Spectrum: Basic Front Door to Many Entry and Exit Points
    Example: WebRangers from National Park Service
  • Content Components. The story universe consists of a narrative explored through the plot, settings, theme, conflict, point of view, and characters. It may also include background information, learning sequences, and other resources to help participants understanding and enjoy the experience. Allow the elements to wrap-around a focal point such as a video, book, or compelling narrative. Narratives may be static or metamorphic; changing and adapting based on developer or audience decisions. The key is quality storytelling. A deep, compelling story is more important than a superficial tale with bells and whistles.
    Spectrum: Single Narrative to Complex Story Universe
  • Organizational Structure. Access to the content components may be flexible or highly structured. The timing of access may be linear, non-linear, parallel, or even simultaneous. On other words, participants may experience the content in a specific sequence or have access to various elements based on user choices or developer presentation. In many gaming situations, participants follow a puzzle trailer. One puzzle (i.e., activity, website, email) leads to another (i.e., question, location, reading).
    Spectrum: Linear to Non-linear Access
  • Participatory Elements. Participation involves engagement with the audience. In some situations, the user may passively follow a storyline, in others participants may play an active role making decisions, interacting with characters, contributing content, solving problems, or collaborating with other explorers. Participants may be involved on different levels
    • Individual Involvement
    • Human-Technology Interactivity
    • Creation and Communication
    • Cooperation and Collaboration
    • Extension and Evolvement
    Structure: clues, choices, real-world activities (break fourth wall)
    Spectrum: No involvement to Active Engagement


Go to the next section: Skills.

| Overview | The Wave | Defined | An Experience | Elements | Content| Design | Skills | Fluid |