January 24, 2017 at 6:49 pm #34399
I’m working on relaunching two of my existing courses using what I’m learning here at GEA.
The audience for both courses is the same: architects and engineers who use Revit, which is BIM (building information modeling) software. Architects and engineers use this software to create 3D models of buildings.
The courses are technical in nature and pretty similar. One course teaches how to automate repetitive tasks in Revit by coding your own macros and plug-ins. The other course also teaches how to automate repetitive tasks, but this time using Dynamo, a visual programming tool for Revit.
The theme I’m tossing around is a “road trip”. This road trip starts in Manual Town, where everything is done manually, and ends in Automatopilis, a gleaming city of the future where repetitive tasks are all automated.
There would be two routes to Automatopolis – one along the Coding Coastal Route and the other via the Dynamo Pass. Each road trip would be a separate course but they’d share the same theme and general aesthetic.
I’m starting to outline the checkpoints for one of the routes. Each checkpoint would be a stop along trip and will involve a challenge that needs to be overcome (via Revit automation) in order to continue on the trip. I haven’t worked out the challenges yet. I’m trying to figure out a way to relate the challenges to things problems the students will encounter in their everyday work but still fit into the “road trip” theme.
What do you think? Is it OK that the theme doesn’t have an overt architecture or construction metaphor? How about relating the challenges to things students will encounter in their own work? Any suggestions on how to fit these into the theme?
MichaelJanuary 24, 2017 at 7:11 pm #34404
I am loving this Michael. I think the names you’ve come up with and the descriptions of the destinations will paint a clear enough picture for those who are on the road trip with you.
I’m curious how you visually see this course being portrayed via the video lessons or however you teach the content?
What I like most is how you’re taking something that could be so dry and boring and you’re making it a road trip (which I think almost everyone loves going on).
I think as long as you’re able to inspire your students to stay on the road to you, the metaphor doesn’t matter. We managed to mix climbing a mountain with eCourse creation. The two don’t usually go together, but our made enough connections so that it fits.
I could even see you giving your students “road trip music” for doing certain tasks. For the people who love having background music, you could make different playlists for them to listen to while working. Or you could partner with certain companies who use sound technology to promote focus. Lots of possibilities.
I think for the theme to work, it just needs to make sense for your audience. I’d say, keep diging into this idea without fully attaching to it yet.
While on the topic of theme possibilities, let’s play:
Do you have any ideas for more architect or construction themed course ideas?
If you were to make a metahpor for your course, what would it be. For example, ours for the GEA was, “Creating a course is like climbing a mountain….”
So for you, “Learning Revit is like…..?” and why is it like that?
I’m loving the creativity and play that’s coming through with your theme idea.
As for the challenges:
What are 10 challenges that you KNOW your students will face along the way to learning this technology?
What challenges did you come up against along the way?
How can you predict those challenges/roadblocks before they happen and come up with cool ‘challenges’ for your students to get through those roadblocks (using your theme)?
This is where it becomes fun is coming up with the language, challenges and qualities of this world and making it all come to life!
Excited for where you’re at Michael. Great that you built the framework for the course already and now you’re just adding the theme.January 25, 2017 at 7:17 pm #34439
This is great feedback. Thanks Bradley. I love the soundtrack idea!
A couple other theme ideas I have are:
“Worst Day Ever” – This theme uses a work day metaphor where every checkpoint is an hour of the day. You’re trying to leave right at 5 pm but there’s a new crisis every hour that the students need to deal with through automation.
“Building Automation” – This theme uses an actual building as the metaphor. Each checkpoint is a stage of the construction process. The first one is “foundation”, the second “structure”. . . all the way up to “move in”. The activities at each checkpoint would revolve around that particular phase of the process.
I’m also thinking of a super-hero / comic book theme for another class, but it could also work for these classes.
I’m outlining the challenges now. I’ll post them shortly.
Thanks again!January 25, 2017 at 7:56 pm #34441
Love all the creative ideas you’re coming up with. This is great.
As laid out in checkpoint #5, Creatora Heights. Come up with the course layout (modules, lessons, challenges, etc). Once you have those essentially laid out, the BEST theme for each course will become much more clear.
It’s great you’ve got a bunch you’re stoked about and it seems like each one could be a great fit for your audience.
So keep working on the challenges and just notice which of the themes do you find your mind having the most fun with as you start to wrap those lessons in it.
Does that make sense?January 25, 2017 at 8:22 pm #34445
Makes sense. Time to get to work! Thanks Bradley.January 26, 2017 at 2:07 pm #34465
Andy FreistMountain Guide@andyfreist
Awesome, loving the creativity here..
When I read your first road trip idea, i had a vision of Automatopilis being a sort of utopian dream city where everything runs on autopilot and humans don’t have to work.
You could also merge that with your “building” theme idea.. So that you are basically building a utopia from the rubble of a broken/inefficient society.
It seems like you are solid and grounded in the subject matter and course content, now its a matter of packaging it up so that it stands way out in your industry. You’re definitely on the right track.
But yeah, I’m really liking the idea of the theme being around the designing and constructing of an automated utopia.. Architecture fits well with this 🙂
I’d love to know more about your target audience.. It seems like they are very rational/technical type people, which leads me to think that the theme would do well with a serious/scientific tone, in contrast to a cartoony/playful like our course.January 26, 2017 at 3:44 pm #34475
Thanks Andy! Yes, the idea behind Automatopolis is that it’s an automated utopia. I really like your “city building” idea. It reminds me of the the Sim City game, which I totally love. Students would essentially build Automatopolis as they complete each module of the course. Definitely some opportunities to add gamification with this theme!
My target audience is architects and engineers who use Revit software. Yes, they are largely rational and definitely technical by nature. One thing I’m going back and forth with is the level of seriousness / playfulness to bring into the course. There are a bunch of similar courses in my market. Many of them are available through Lynda and Pluralsight, which offer access to a huge number of course for a monthly subscription. Many of these courses (my current ones included) are very serious and professional – they don’t have much personality. I feel that making the course more playful will help it stand out but I don’t want it to be so playful that people don’t take it seriously.
Any suggestions on how do you balance seriousness and playfulness in a course?
What do you think?January 27, 2017 at 8:38 am #34500
OK, I did some visioning for the city building theme. Here’s what I wrote up:
Welcome to Manual Town.
You live here. It’s a nice place. But you don’t ever get to enjoy it. You’re too busy. Everyone in Manual Town is busy. REAL busy. That’s the one thing you don’t like about Manual Town. You’re always working. Late at night. On the weekends. There’s just too much work to do. And all of this work takes time. It’s not always difficult work. It’s just tedious.
Sure, you could leave Manual Town. But where would you go? All of the surrounding towns are pretty much the same. They’re all work, work, work too. No, leaving is not the answer. This is your home. You have too much invested in Manual Town to just walk away.
It’s strange but no one else in Manual Town seems to notice. Sure, they complain occasionally. But they don’t do anything about it. They just keep plugging away, working all the time. You’re different though. You’re tired of all the tedious work. You don’t want business as usual.
Something needs to change in Manual Town. The old ways of working are no longer working. Manual Town needs to evolve. Become something new. Something better.
You have a vision. What if you could transform Manual Town from a two-bit backwater to a gleaming city of the future? A city without the tedium. Where you can have time off. Where you could enjoy life. Where you could work on better things. More important things.
You call this new city Automatopolis. There are no tedious tasks at Automatopolis. They’ve all been automated. Rather than doing repetitive tasks all day, the citizens of Automatopolis spend their time working on interesting challenges. They’re maximizing their talents. They develop new automations. Smarter automations. The city hums with purposeful energy. Important work is getting done. The city is efficient. It’s growing. It’s a wonderful place to be.
You snap out of your dream state. You’re back in Manual Town. Everyone is still working away. But the image of Automatopolis is burned into your mind. Having seen the future, you’re no longer content living in the past. You’re a designer. An architect. An engineer. You need to make this vision real.
But building Automatopolis is not going to be easy. You don’t have all the skills you need. But you’re going to learn them. You’re no stranger to working hard. Yes, it’s going to take work. Yes, it’s going to be frustrating. It’s going to hurt. No one ever said building a city was easy. But you have the vision. You can still see that city of the future. You can imagine what life will be like once you get there. There’s no going back.
Step by step, brick by brick, building by building, you’re going to build Automatopolis. Out of the ruins of Manual Town, a new city will arise. A better city. And you’re going to make it happen.
Let’s get to work.January 27, 2017 at 9:10 pm #34526
THIS. All kinds of THIS!
Now you’re flushing it out.
I can tell the themification bug got ya and you’re now really feeling it.
Reading what you wrote here, I was just like YES. There is your world.
This is likely exactly what your tribe is going through when taking the leap from doing everything manually to doing it all through automations.
I think they’ll love it.
I’d love to hear more of an avatar description on your ULTIMATE WHO for this course. What is their life, mentality, day-to-day life like? Are they wanting to automate everything? Do they believe it possible? Are they searching for this tool? What would they give to have this skill set? How much time per day will they have to dedicate to ‘building Automatopolis?’ And how much of their life will they get back by doing? What are they going to do with all of the time they take back in their life?
I wanna know more!
Awesome job with this Michael.January 31, 2017 at 7:26 pm #34615
Thanks Bradley. It’s staring to take shape, at least in my head. I’m writing up my ultimate who, which I’ll post it shortly.February 1, 2017 at 1:37 pm #34643
Gave ya a shout-out on today’s coaching campfire. Keep up the awesome work!February 2, 2017 at 11:25 am #34648
Thanks Bradley! I missed the live session so I’ll check out the recording.February 2, 2017 at 11:57 am #34652
BTW, my last name is pronounced Kill – Kelly. I’m actually quite friendly but my name tends to frighten people named “Kelly”. Go figure. . .March 6, 2017 at 6:47 am #35548
Hey Michael, just wanted to check in and see how progress is for you on the mountain. Would love to help if you need the support!March 7, 2017 at 3:07 pm #35576
Just back from a work trip followed by some vacation. I’m putting on my hiking boots and heading back up the mountain soon!
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