eSTEMequity.com

eSTEMequity.com is a website promoting the persistence of ethnic and racial minorities in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics, or STEM, education. The site is the home of a STEM peer mentoring program led by Dr. Amanda Rockinson-Szapkiw. As Dr. Rockinson-Szapkiw's doctoral advisee and graduate assistant, I had the opportunity to support the mentoring program as Lead eDeveloper for an online mentor/mentee training program. I designed and developed 8 eLearning modules based on expert mentoring content using Articulate 360.

Representative and Authentic Cases

To build mentoring competencies and mentor and mentee confidence, the eLearning course learners needed to see characters like them completing often very challenging mentoring tasks. I used Vyond.com's animated video tools to allow learners to observe mentoring skills and behaviors in action. I created and voiced the example case video at the bottom of this page.

Interactive & Engaging Content

Learners also needed the opportunity to actively apply the skills in a risk-free environment. I combined animated videos with Articulate Storyline to present cases with multiple possible responses to mentor/mentee dilemmas. Learners used their module knowledge to choose the correct response.

Theory Driven & Evidence Based

The module design was guided by Albert Bandura's Theory of Self-Efficacy. Learning elements were aligned with his four sources of self-efficacy. After the initial design, the modules needed to be tested with users similar to our target population. I wrote and implemented a usability test protocol with ethnic and racial minority women in STEM fields. Results from that study strengthed the design and led to authoring scholarly articles in learning experience design.

Results

The mentor training modules are currently being implemented at two Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs). Early usability testing suggested that ethnic and racial minority women responded positively to the modules. They specifically appreciated character diversity in the videos and connected to women that looked like them. They found the video-based cases relevant, realistic, and memorable.

I think it [video] wouldhelp you envision yourself as a STEM professional. And so, it may help you develop that identity, let me see, assist you in developing self-efficacy and self-regulation. This is funny. It makes you feel happy about being a woman.



Usability Study Participant