As an instructional designer over the last decade, I’ve come across a number of methods that have been introduced to enhance the design process. From understanding by design (UBD) to rapid prototyping, each approach brings about a fresh perspective that designers are charged with considering as techniques to utilize as he or she hits the “refresh” button.
I, like most designers that have been doing this work for a while, have a foundation in the ADDIE model – a methodology that was first developed in the 1970s for the U.S. Army by Florida State University. Its focus is based upon a 5-phase approach to design: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation. For more information on the ADDIE model, check out an ADDIE infographic detailing the nuances of each phase.
A methodology that’s gaining traction with instructional designers across industries – and for good reason – is the AGILE instructional design process. The AGILE method is a project-oriented approach introduced by Conrad Gottfredson, a performance-support practitioner. It encompasses the five stages involved when designing eLearning experiences: Align, Get set, Iterate and implement, Leverage and Evaluate (Pappas, C. “The Power Of AGILE Instructional Design Approach…”).
In the table below, note the similarities and distinctions of the ADDIE and AGILE approaches to design.
How do the models compare?
|ADDIE Model||AGILE Model|
Iterate & implement
|Comparison of models||Content-centered: Focus is on creating measurable objectives with outcomes and activities that are in alignment.
Linear: moving from one step to next without evaluating as you go along creates longer production times.While it’s an iterative process, it occurs once the project is done which can be more costly.
|Learner-centered: Focus is on the learner and how they engage and interact with the content.
Non-linear: an adaptable approach allowing for collaboration, flexibility, and revising throughout. Equates to more cost savings since the revisions are embedded in the 3rd phase (iterate & implement).
Collective approach to design
As a designer, I don’t look at one methodology as the answer to creating solutions. Instead, I combine a mix of ADDIE, AGILE, UBD, and other strategies to develop customized learning experiences that align with the needs of the learner and stated outcomes. My rationale is simple – perspective changes how you engage. Your perspective is contingent upon the industry that you’re working in, the organization’s culture, and client expectations that have been defined (whether explicitly or implicitly).
Working in varying industries with relation to instructional design is one of the key factors in terms of your approach to design methodology. For example, in higher education, it’s not uncommon to develop an online course as a “build as you go” – meaning all content is not delivered at the outset of development. In a scenario such as this one, the AGILE design process – centered around collaboration throughout – is tricky when you’re working with a narrow window to receive, build, and deliver content on a consistent (every module/week) basis. While ideal, collaboration throughout is not always realistic thus the ADDIE model of an end of course debrief is more suitable.
Another implication of the AGILE model, such as having a learner-centered approach to design is feasible and highly encouraged. In addition to thinking about the objectives, outcomes, assessment, and activities, creating purposeful interactions for learner engagement can be incorporated in the design strategy.
In short, the collective approach of extracting the best practices, theories and methodologies that have been introduced by researchers and practitioners has worked well. This holistic strategy looks at each aspect of designing effective solutions – learner, content, and instructor – without narrowing the focus to one component.
- Pappas, Christopher. “The Power Of AGILE Instructional Design Approach – ELearning Industry.” ELearning Industry RSS. N.p., 19 Apr. 2015. Web. 30 Apr. 2015. <http://elearningindustry.com/the-power-of-agile-instructional-design-approach>.