Knowledge artefact – Exegesis

Artefact design

© Hyacinth Steele 2016

© Hyacinth Steele 2016


The knowledge artefact (KN) was designed, developed and implemented using the SAM (Successive Approximation Model) as a framework to guide each phase of the learning design and production process (Allen & Sites, 2012). The model includes three phases: Preparation, Iterative Design and Iterative Development. During the Preparation phase, prior to proposal submission, a backwards design approach using human-centred design thinking was adopted (Brown, 2009; Wiggins & McTighe, 1998) to understand the situation, identify challenges and highlight opportunities. During the Preparation phase the desired end result was prioritised to provide a clear direction and purpose. This included determining acceptable evidence which would validate the effectiveness of the artefact during review. The Preparation phase concluded with planning the learning event and selecting an interactive tool (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998).


backwards design McTighe and Wiggins

© Hyacinth Steele 2016

Figure 1 Backward design after Wiggins & McTighe, 1998


Key questions asked during the Preparation phase to inform design were: “Who is my audience?” “What is worthy of understanding?” “What enduring understandings do I want to take place?” “What is the linchpin idea?” (Wiggins & McTighe, 1998). These questions also helped to determine an acceptable evidence of engagement with the knowledge artefact would include, raising awareness of the need for an online knowledge repository and reflections around current practices leading to discussions or debate at team meetings.

Prior to the final selection of the video as artefact to mediate discussions, reflections and debate, consideration was given to which multimedia tool would invite collaboration across the team, give a voice to different opinions and particularly engage the learning designers.  During each stage of the SAM model a human-centered design thinking approach was used which included need finding (insight and empathy through observation and immersion), ideation (brainstorming type of knowledge artefact that suits learning), prototyping (storyboarding and building), final execution (build in iMovie, sourcing graphics, template) (Brown, 2009). The choice of video as the digital format for the knowledge artefact was founded on the need also for an artefact that was easily accessible, incorporated a narrative element which gave voice to the team (Miller, 2014), supported pedagogic practices such as reflection and exposure to different perspectives and shared meaning (Amulya, 2004; Brookfield, 1995; Downes, 2007), and was available asynchronously anywhere, anytime.

The choice of production tools was also governed by practical considerations such as time, resource and equipment availability and intuitive editing software for post-production. The iPad was chosen as a device that was easy to use to film interviews. Additional equipment was available in a Do-it-Yourself (DIY) kit available to learning designers for filming which included a tripod with attachment for iPads and mobiles devices and a plugin microphone for the iPad. Editing and post production effects was completed using iMovie and using original and stock graphics and music. Storyboarding was carried out using sticky notes for scene sequences which supported a simple, iterative process. All interviews were unscripted to include an element of spontaneity and allow interviewees to determine how the narrative would unfold (Brown, 2009, p.134; Colgan, 2011).

Table 1 Summary of models informing artefact design

Models informing design, development and build
SAM Backward design Design thinking Artefact activities
Preparation Identify, Determine, Plan insight and empathy through observation and immersion. See the world through the eyes of others. conversations, meetings, interviews

Padlet for questions

Iterative Prototyping

Sketching to describe a media rich interaction

Discard and discover ideas

Explore and equip

Rethink and revise


Convergent and divergent thinking

Give form to an idea

Just enough work to generate useful feedback

4th dimension designing – let the user determine how things unfold (p.134)

Brainstorming, discussions with peers in other teams

Storyboarding with post-it notes

Time and resources are limited

Unscripted interviews

Iterative development Check for enduring understandings

What will hook the watcher

  Generate various iterations of Wiki the Movie in iMovie

Check for flow of narrative

Getting to gold Final design  Transform and innovate Publishing to YouTube channel

Context of the artefact

The QUT Online Learning Services (OLS) team is a team comprised of learning designers, instructional multimedia developers, audiovisual technicians and graphic designers merged from two previous autonomous project teams. The OLS wiki is an online collaborative space where members of the team can add, edit, share and embed content and media to curate and share best practice processes, procedures and current industry knowledge. The wiki is hosted on the QUTVirtual intranet and staff are able to access the wiki on and off campus.

The challenge this knowledge artefact addresses is the lack of contribution to the wiki by the learning designers. While the Production team readily adopted the space to share and curate knowledge, the designers have yet to use this space for online collaboration, curation and sharing of best practice processes and procedures for their professional practice. Recent discussions at learning design meetings were dominated by comments regarding the plethora of repositories that the designers currently use. These include OneDrive, Google drive, Dropbox and the division’s UDrive with resources buried deep within folders and subfolders. Anxiety driven by frustrations over version control (i.e. outdated information or templates) and location of important documents, templates and procedures housed across numerous locations has added to the already busy workload of designers fuelling genuine distress and information overload (Bawden & Robinson, 2009). Recent new designers to the team have also expressed concern and confusion over the many locations for information.

The purpose of the video artefact is to promote discussion around the use of the wiki as an online space to share knowledge, information and support peer-to-peer learning. The video will be hosted on YouTube which is easily accessible anywhere, anytime. It is envisaged that the artefact will also encourage exploration of the wiki which is simple to use and provides an important function, the capability to dynamically update content reducing misinformation and multiple repositories of information (Honegger & Notari, 2016, pp.1-20; Schatzmann, 2016, pp.157). It is proposed that the knowledge artefact is an important part of an ongoing conversation around a much needed change process for knowledge management (Richardson and Mancabelli 2011, pp.85-86).


Critical exposition

The evaluation of the creation of the knowledge artefact and activities associated with its development are closely intertwined. On the one hand, there is the evaluation of the learning design models and design thinking processes adopted during the design and production. On the other, there is the evaluation of participatory nature value of the production of the artefact itself. The conceptual framework proposed by Wenger, Trayner & De Laat (2011) is adapted to assess the value-creation of the knowledge artefact and the social participatory nature of the production of the video and its contribution to laying groundwork for a compelling case for the use of the wiki (Richardson & Mancabelli, pp.85-86).

As noted earlier, the intention of Wiki the Movie as a knowledge artefact is to inform and raise awareness by involving and providing a voice to various team members’ perceptions of the potential of the OLS wiki to hold and share collective. The artefact is seen as an important part of fostering conversations between team members that have previously not taken place. It was anticipated that participation in the production of the artefact would also foster personal reflection and initiate conversations between the design and production areas.

Design processes

The adoption of the SAM design model (Allen & Sites, 2012) and Wiggins and McTighe’s backward design (1998) provided efficient frameworks and methodologies to progress the Preparation phase which resulted in the submission of the project proposal for approval. Design thinking principles also shifted storyboarding of the artefact from a mode of conventional problem solving—we need to find a way to communicate the benefits of the wiki—to one that was human-centered. This approach opened opportunities to follow intuition and construct understandings that moved the design and production-focused tasks to a process that invited authentic and honest reflections and commentary. For example, each learning designer in the video had very different reasons for not using the wiki and the human-centered approach helped to unpack these previously unknown stories. The commentary from the Production team also added a peer-to-peer dimension to facilitate ongoing discussions between the teams. Since the interviews were unscripted, the commentaries also resonate with a note of authenticity


Value creation

The table below summaries the value and contributions to a sense of community that the production of the movie made to the team.

Table 2 Value creation after Wenbger, Trayner & De Laat (2011)

Cycle Questions for evaluation Measures of value Results -Value -creation stories
1. Immediate value –       How much participation was there?

–       What was the quality of mutual engagement?

–       Was it fun, inspiring, convivial?

–       Were any connections relevant to goal development?

·       Active participants

·       Quantity and timeliness of responses

·       Number of discussions

·       Evidence of enjoyable participation

·       Active participation

·       Comments and shared advice

·       Discussion at meetings

·       Challenging inquiries and reflections

·       Sense of community during filming.

·       Generous contributions of time and keen participation.

2. Potential value –       Were new skills or knowledge acquired?

–       Has understandings or perspectives changed?

–       Have members gained confidence to proceed with their goals?

·       Reflection on advice or feedback

·       Information provided e.g. links, suggestions, clarifying questions – knowledge capital

·       Initiatives or risk taken by members (enactment of advice/knowledge capital, sharing narratives

·       Trust – e.g. willingness to be interviewed


·       Sharing of knowledge and viewpoints about the wiki

·       Initiatives and risk: Participation in video interviews and willingness to share and contribute personal opinions.

3. Applied value –       Were newly acquired knowledge or skills applied?

–       Was community/networks connections leveraged to accomplish a goal(s)?

–       How was an idea or suggestion implemented?

·       Use of social connections – Follow-up

·       New perspectives or ways of doings things

·       Transferring learnings practice

Video KN has elevated the discussion  of collaborative spaces for knowledge sharing formally (meetings) and informally (water cooler conversation)
4. Realised value –       Did members save time or achieve something new?

–       What effect did the implementation of a suggestion achieve?

·       Interest in new knowledge or skill

·       Community agenda connects network

·       Commenced work on information architecture for use on a wiki or shared space

·       Investigation has begun into the rationalization of information repositories

5. Reframed value –       Was the process of social learning changed or developed as a result of this community event?

–       Does the criteria of success need redefining?


·       New learning agenda?

·       New vision?

·       New set of expectations?

·       The KN has started discussions around knowledge sharing

·       The wiki is being trialed as a way to share knowledge and skills.

·       KN has achieved the goal of facilitating discussion and review of professional practice.



While Web 2.0 technologies and tools continue to provide opportunities to create, share and participate in personal and professional communities of practice (CoPs), the uptake of these affordances is not always readily seen amongst learning design professionals. The newly formed Online services team (OLS) is an example of a highly skilled team of design professionals who for various reasons had failed to explore the opportunities the wiki offered for knowledge sharing and management. Initially the creation of the knowledge artefact Wiki the Movie was proposed to facilitate discussions and debates around the use of the wiki as a solution to the numerous information repositories that had grown over time. However, in the adoption of a design-thinking approach during the Preparation, Design and Development phases of the SAM design model (Successive Approximation Model), the production of the artefact itself resulted in a sharing of knowledge and stories and became the product of a community of practice collaboration.



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2 comments on “Knowledge artefact – Exegesis
  1. Thanks for posting this Hyacinth. It is great to see the process other people went through and learn from it. Must check out whether our school has an iPad tripod and microphone.

    • Hi Karen We are fortunate to have DIY kits. I did find with the microphone that plugged into the iPad that it didn’t pick up the voice of one of the designers who was more softy spoken…. and I really wanted to use her interview but couldn’t. I was also told later by our audiovisual manager that iPhones take better quality videos. It was a great but time consuming experience editing the footage after. Took much longer than I though it would. BTW I really enjoyed your KN. H.

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