As part of our improvement as a business is to review our processes, look at what works and what doesn’t work. While doing this over the last six months, we’ve identified that we do things our own way – informed by research as well as working with over 50 clients and hundreds of projects.
We’ve put an eBook together to show what we do and to help others working in this space. This blog post provides a little more information about the reasons why we take this approach.
Where do I start… it’s a question we’ve all asked and probably heard it said many times. The hardest thing about starting out, is exactly that… starting. You know where you want to get, but how to get there?
The three major approaches to projects are ADDIE, SAM and LLAMA approaches. The ADDIE process tends to focus on the design stage can result in a lack of time spent on the implementation and maintenance components (this great article opens n a new window). The SAM Model (Successive Approximation Model) uses a quick and iterative approach with early testing and prototyping (this article opens in a new window). The LLAMA (lot like agile methods approach) takes parts of Agile and incorporates it into a learning and development context (this article opens in a new window). Here are some articles that give more information, article 1, article 2, these open in a new window.
What we’ve done with our approach is to take the experience we have and the practices we find work best with clients; to incorporate the innovative aspects to agile and iterative approaches, the user focus of UX approaches and design thinking, while providing the stability and scoping of a traditional style approach. It is then that we are able to take really good learning design principles and apply them to achieve stable, sustainable outcomes.
There are six phases to the approach, with various processes occurring during each phase.
- Analyse and define where evidence, experience and understanding are developed by conducting analysis and defining the problem and possible solutions.
- Design and iterate where design thinking, empathy and agile techniques are used to design solutions to meet outcomes.
- Develop and produce where a highly skilled team in a collaborative, creative atmosphere working to quality processes ensures a stable product for implementation.
- Implement and deploy where a tightly controlled plan, appropriate to the organisation, along with an implementation plan and strong communication processes ensures successful deployment.
- Evaluate and refine where a recursive analysis of user activity data aids the refinement of the solution and measurement of outcomes.
- Track and monitor where ongoing assessment and data analysis in the broader organisational context provides confirmation of success and informs future improvements and projects.
The eBook has all the information, so I’d like to focus on the principles that underpin a digital learning project.
- Narrative plus conversation: Stories assist us to make sense of things. Whether it is telling stories about how users access the learning (like developing user profiles), what their experience will be through to the learning experience (in the learner experience design) or in the actual digital learning project. Providing narratives and conversations will help communication processes.
- Immersion plus engagement: When people are immersed in an environment, they are paying attention. It’s important in your project team. In learning, paying attention isn’t enough, we need to promote attention with engagement. There are many ways to measure engagement; focus on engagement in both the project processes and in the learning processes.
- Knowledge plus application: During all phases of a project, we gain knowledge and learning. Yet there is no point knowing something if you don’t apply it. This is the same in the digital learning project. There is no point in providing digital learning content, with no relationship to application of that knowledge. To freely adapt Miles Kington’s quote; Knowledge is knowing a tomato is a fruit, but you wouldn’t put it in a fruit salad.
- Theory plus practice: Things change. Research can be helpful, but you need to be flexible with it. Balance how things should go with how things actually go in practice.
- Start and end points move: In your project, you may iterate through the processes quickly, having a number of start and end points. The monitor and track phase merges into the next analyse and define phase. This is the same as learning; learning is a process.
- Accessibility: Accessibility is important. Imagine if you broke your arm and couldn’t access your learning resources because they weren’t built for keyboard-only use. There are a hundred examples that can illustrate why accessibility is important. If you’d like to read more, here are some blog posts that provide more context (Accessibility: Some things for content makers to think about and Accessibility: What managers need to know They open in a new window).
You want to be able to spend more time on being innovative and coming up with excellent ideas to apply in your digital projects – this approach lets you spend time on what matters.
Download our eBook to get more information and to use as a quick reference guide.
If you’d like information, have implementation kits to help you get started and standardise your digital product development and provide training to teams. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information on how we can help implement this approach.
BTW If you have a catch-y title for this approach let us know, the current one is a little long!!