To the contrary, we worried that if some of the stories were different then most or all of them might have to be different, even within a single course.
It would seem odd if most of the stories in a (learner-assembled) course were the same but a few were different.
In the new world, though, I didn't know what the arc of the course would be.
We thought about picking a story that would work across all courses, but since we didn't have a clear idea of what all courses (both planned by the client and created by the learner) would be, we couldn't be sure that our storyline would always work.
Having just read a rather academic article speculating on the notion of "object-oriented instructional design," I suggested the idea that the courses could be created in chunks, or "learning objects," that could be custom-assembled into new courses.
Learners could either string the chunks together in the recommended ways or they could map their own new paths through the content, essentially creating personalized curricula.The reality was that we were all working too hard to produce too many courses too quickly for us to take the time required to write shareable content.Maybe in a year or two, after all the content was up, somebody would be able to go back through it, tighten up the connections, and eliminate the redundancies.After looking over their curriculum, it became clear to me that a lot of their courses were highly interrelated.For example, somebody who was learning about the process of conducting performance reviews might have also found a couple of the chapters in the workplace coaching course to be useful.Would the universe of characters we created work for all courses?Would the three-part design of the objects (tutorial/simulation/job aid) always fit?But in the new world of learning objects, I couldn't assume anything about what content the learner had seen previously.Therefore, I couldn't know what connections I had to make.In this article, I'm going to share what I've learned so far.(You may have noticed already that I referred to recycling "work" and not "content." My experience has been that the content, i.e., the specific words, pictures, and other representations of particular ideas, is cheaper to create and more expensive to recycle than the instructional design and programming which presents the content in a learnable way.