Session notes: Leaving the ADDIE model behind

I am interested in delivering more elearning content, and decided to sit in on Michael Allen’s presentation on Leaving the ADDIE model behind. I am always looking for a better process to help develop content. Being aware of ADDIE, I was interested in Allen’s new approach. Allen has written this approach in his new book,  Leaving ADDIE for SAM, which should come out in October.

The slides for Allen’s presentation can be found on the Web.

Allen asked, what is the criterion for picking the right process for you? Basically, we do what works for us. Most people probably use ADDIE in a modified form. Regardless of the process, we are typically concerned with a number of issues that relate to the products we create: Do the products you create meet your satisfaction within the constraints? Are the products delivered on time? Are the products delivered within the budget? Is the design team happy with the end result? As trainers and instructional developers, our business is to help people meet their full potential. It is important to deliver products on time, within budget, while meeting the expectations of the client.

For those who were not familiar with ADDIE, ADDIE is a design methodology that includes: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. For more information, check out this Wikipedia article on the ADDIE Model.

Seven typical problems that Allen has with ADDIE:

  • Comprehensive analysis up front is unrealistic. We need to conduct a quicker analysis and continue to  analyze throughout the process.
  • Analysis often overlooks essential success factors such as hidden expectations and who is really in charge.
  • Specs and even storyboards miscommunicate.
  • Creativity becomes a nuisance to the schedule.
  • Downstream insights are faults that become trouble.
  • Performance outcomes are rarely measured, so success becomes schedule and cost minimization.
  • Post tests are insensitive measures but become outcome targets.

Because of issues with ADDIE, three typical results occur:  reworks and overruns, contention in team, and boring labored products. “Making a plan and sticking to it guarantees a suboptimal solution.” ~ Andrew Fitzgibbon.

Allen began talking about another strategy for developing products. It begins with a sketch that goes through multiple iterations, resulting in a better product. While explaining this process, he highlighted Bill Buxton’s book, Sketching User Experiences: Getting the Design Right and the Right Design. Iterations are powerful for finding the best solution. Continuously experiment to find the best solution. Embrace good ideas throughout the process.

Allen then introduced the successive approximation model (SAM). He related it to building your own house. First you sketch out your house, and have the rest of the family look at the design, analyze it, and improve the sketch by sketching more. In the SAM model, you rapidly get some background information and put together a design. You then build a prototype and review it. Once you get input on the prototype, you incorporate the ideas into a new design or improved design, build a prototype, and review it again. You repeat this process for approximately three iterations.

Allen stressed that the SAM process will requires workflow changes. He offered this advice: go for breadth first, then depth; don’t iterate too many times (3 iterations is enough); expect and welcome changes; conduct user testing; and get the entire team involved from the beginning.

Here are the steps that Allen uses to make meaningful, memorable, and motivational elearning products.

Preparation phase

  • Information gathering, get background information

Interative design phase

  • Savvy start
  • Project planning
  • Additional design

Throughout this phase, you will be rotating through design, prototype, and review
Iterative development phase

  • Design proof
  • Alpha
  • Beta
  • Gold

Throughout this phase, you will be rotating through development, implementation, and evaluation.

Allen showed a great example as his team worked through a the Iterative Design Phase for a bank training program.

Finally, Allen encouraged us to use the CCAF content development model for developing elearning content. CCAF includes four important elements:

  • Context. What is the situation where task is needed?
  • Challenge. Why should the learner care? Make it personal. What is the consequence of not completing the training.
  • Activity. Provide a meaningful activity that will help them learn the task at hand.
  • Feedback. Feedback the message used to help the learner stay on course.

You can discover more on these elements through the white paper by Ethan Edwards, Creating e-Learning That Makes a Difference.

This presentation gave me a lot to think about. I can’t wait to experiment with some of the ideas presented. What model do you use? How successful has it been for you?

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