Learning Design Models Are Fine: But Are They Practical?
One of the most important things a learning experience (LX) designer can do is apply a sound, repeatable process to one’s designs. The problem I have with design processes is that they are often too vague and do not actually tell you what to do in the moment. For example, take a look at the A in ADDIE. Analyze. The books on ADDIE will generally tell you that before you begin creating a learning experience, you will want to figure out what is needed. Of course this makes sense, but what I really want to know is how to actually determine those needs.
Now, there are many ways to skin a cat, so design models cannot give precise prescriptions. However, the problem remains, that I still don’t know what one mean when one says, “Do the analysis phase first.” And I certainly do not know how to repeat that process every time I have a new LX design project.
I like simple. I like articles, books, processes that actually tell me how to do something. So, for the LX design work in my organization, we wanted to create a checklist that would actually tell us what steps to take to help us be more efficient about our design projects. Plus, we wanted those steps to be organized in such a way, that they could be easily placed in our project management tool, Asana, so that our projects can be easily set up, tracked, shared, and of course, completed.
In a recent blog post, Learning Design: When You Just Don’t Know Where to Start, I wrote about practical steps an LX designer can take to move along their learning projects. From the ideas in this blog post, the check list below was born. I use this check list to set up my project plan whenever I begin a learning design project. It is certainly not perfect, but it is specific enough that I know what to do next.
Analyze Need (Key Milestone)
- Interview Stakeholders
- Review Reports
- Determine Need
Design and Develop Content (Key Milestone)
- Outline Subject Areas
- Write Learning Objectives
- Write Assessment Questions for Each Learning Objective
- Develop Content for each Learning Objective
- Write Scripts
- Develop Slide Content
- Create Activities/Review for each Subject Area
- Create Learner Guide
- Record Audio
- Get Content in Authoring Tool
Review and Test (Key Milestone)
- Proof Read and Edit Material
- Review course for time (record length of course)
- Publish to LMS
- Test the course – for errors, glitches in screens and assessments, etc
Implement (Key Milestone)
- Assign course to appropriate groups
- Communicate course readiness to target audience
The intent of this check list is not to criticize existing design models or to come up with a new one. The intent is to create a practical, repeatable process that I can follow to get work done. I wonder if you do something similar. If you do, please share your ideas below. How do you set up your project plans so you can get work done?