In 2002 the Australian Securities Exchange (ASX) approached MCQ International to assist in developing an online application that encouraged ASX staff to think about and plan for their career development. The application is part training course, part self-reflection exercise, and part information-gathering tool. The resource incorporates a high level of rich user-centred interactivity to engage and instruct.
Online Self-Directed Training & Development
The brief for the ASX Career Development Program was to create a web-based program that staff could access anytime, from anywhere. The program had to be selfdirected, entertaining and informative. In addition, the program was designed so that information-gathering activities were embedded among informative material, and this information was then collated into a personalised career development plan for each staff member. Working with The Stephenson Mansell Group, who developed the content, MCQI created the web interfaces and developed the multimedia activities to bring life to the concept.
A Rich User Experience through Interactive Multimedia
The Career Development Program brief placed a heavy emphasis on the use of embedded multimedia interactivity. The widely used Flash browser plug-in was chosen as the best solution for providing a seamless and richly engaging variety of activities and exercises. The interactive exercises ranged from simple question-and-answer activities to sophisticated drag-and-drop card-sorting activities where staff members use their computer mouse to drag cards representing personal attributes into piles that describe various aspects of themselves. The use of engaging multimedia exercises succeeded in making a series of otherwise boring information gathering tasks into interesting and enjoyable activities.
Client & Server-side Application Development
One interesting feature of the Career Development Program is that it is much more than an online training course. Many of the activities it contains are designed to gather and store information about the user as he or she progresses through the program’s modules. This information is then stored in a database on the web server that hosts the program. At various points throughout the program, the content presented to the user actually changes depending on the information gathered. Additionally, on completion the user is able to generate a personalised Career Development Plan. Staff are encouraged to return to the Career Development Program regularly to record their career progress.
Generating Personalised Career Development Plans
The outcome of the Career Development Program is a downloadable Career Development Plan, which compiles all the information gathered from each user as they complete the program’s interactive exercises. This development plan assists each user to identify and prioritise their future career goals, strategies and activities, and is generated dynamically by integrating client-side (i.e. in the browser) and server-side (i.e. on the web server computer) technologies to retrieve and format the personalised report on demand.