We follow a standard Instructional Design process with a twist. It's an accepted and used process in Instructional Design. It's not perfect, though, which is why we add our own twist to it.
The first twist, we never assume that training is the right answer for your problem which is why we start with a needs analysis. That means we look at if training is the best answer and if it is, what the needs are of the project and employees.
And second, we add a lot more to the standard process so we don't miss any opportunities. Our process is based on the Instructional Design ADDIE model but we're more thorough than the model suggests.
Our First Meeting Decides Everything
Meeting about your project is the first step to everything. It helps us decide if training is even the best solution for your goals and requirements or if you need to go a different route.
We're always going to ask a lot of questions so be prepared to answer. You don't always need to have the answer but we just want to warn you. Our goal is to get to the root of what your employees need to be successful in their job. Our first meeting is essential. If we're not aiming for the same goal then we'll end up off target.
And yes, sometimes we do meet you with our slippers on.
The First Five Steps Of Every Project
We'll get together to go over the project details so we can ask questions and you can ask questions. This is where we gather all the requirements from you and any available content, including system training requirements and documentation about the system from the Subject Matter Expert (SME).
This is an excellent time for both of us to get acquainted with each other. It also allows us to understand the project initiative, goals, and the desired outcomes from staff.
Review your project and perform a needs analysis. This will help us determine a few things.
- If training is the best solution for your problem and the required outcome.
- The training solutions needed if training is the right solution.
If training isn't the answer, we'll provide you with a short brief about what we think is the right solution. If you'd like to move forward with training anyway, you're welcome to and you'll move onto step 3.
If training is the answer, you'll move on to step 3.
Compile a training proposal that tells you all about the training solutions we propose, the timeline, and more. We'll outline exactly what we think is the right solution.
We'll lay out at a minimum the following:
- Summary of the overall project and training goal.
- What training solutions we propose.
- How each solution contributes to the overall training goal.
- The timeline for each training solution item.
We'll provide you a link to the training summary document where you can make suggested edits or ask questions. We'll continue to revise this document together until we come to an agreement on the project training requirements.
Once you are completely satisfied with the training summary, we'll create a signable version for both of us to sign and agree upon the scope of the project.
Once the training summary is signed and sealed, we'll begin working on the project. You're not off the hook for providing feedback, unfortunately. We'll send you documents to review each step so you can give feedback.
Our first step at this point in the project is to begin working on the content. That means we're going to put together learning objectives for each item and for more complex items (such as courses) we'll provide an outline too.
Outlines are a way for us to make sure we have the general requirements of the specific training solution. With that figured out, we can then build it into a more detailed course. The process is built in many steps where things get built in stages similar to the steps of building a house. You need a foundation before you can frame it!
If the best solution for your needs and project is training, our requirements document will give you our proposal.
The process of each project will vary a bit depending on your project requirements and what we propose as the solution. It could include self-paced eLearning courses, training videos, performance support, in-app support, or any combination of these.
The project requirements document we provide you will contain the details about what we propose and a brief summary of how each one contributes to your goal.
Below is the process for each of the training solutions that may be necessary for your project. They all follow more or less a similar process with subtle variations.
We meet again or with the Subject Matter Expert (SME) to get a recorded walkthrough of the requirements for employees to be successful. That is the main topic that will drive the walkthrough of what employees need to be trained on.
Since we're dealing with IT projects, there's often software or a visual idea that needs to be trained on. The walkthrough is the opportunity for you to show us what people need to do to be successful after being trained.
This step aligns closely with the Analysis phase of the ADDIE model. Our first meeting helped us understand the problem and the goal. Assuming we determined in our first meeting that training was the answer, we go a bit deeper to understand what needs to be learned or what behavior needs to be changed or reinforced.
This is also where we develop the objectives which are provided with the outline and timeline in the next step. That ensures we're on the same page and make sure the main objectives are met in the course.
The next three steps align with the Design phase of the ADDIE model. The Design phase of ADDIE is much too broad and prone to error which is why we've broken it down into more refined steps.
As we analyze the requirements, we use that opportunity to put a high-level outline together. This touches upon the broadest topics that training needs to cover. The outline is a helpful way to make sure we're both on the same page about what needs to be covered for people to be successful. It's also a great opportunity to start from scratch and only add what's necessary for success. Keep It Simple Stupid (KISS) is always a good motto to live by at this stage.
This is also the best time for us to put together the official timeline. Most courses take about two to three months to develop but every project is unique.
Once the outline and timeline are approved, we move on to the next step.
This is where the bulk of the design is accomplished. We produce a rough storyboard of the project that explains what happens at each step of the course.
If the project uses narration then this is also where we write it. If it doesn't use narration, there's still likely to be on-screen writing which we create.
Nothing too fancy or beautiful is developed at this stage. It's a lot more in-depth with all the content added from the outline stage, but it's still pretty basic at its core. Most of the time the storyboard is simply two columns with on-screen information in one column and narration in the other.
As the project proceeds through each step, it's sort of like a bare piece of land that is slowly developed into something beautiful and effective. A foundation has to be poured before the framing can be built and so on.
The draft is no different. We take the storyboard and produce an even more complete product with visuals at least in place. This is helpful to see what the course is likely to look like in the end in a broad sense. There's still a lot of polishing to do and the narration still has to be recorded, though.
The draft is usually a long document with each screen represented with basic visuals and narration below each one.
it's starting to take shape!
All our steps of Design come together in the Development of the final product which aligns with the Development phase of the ADDIE model.
Now it's time to really see what the course will look like! This is a fully interactive version of the course that's visually produced and has the content effectively finished.
The narration is fully recorded at this point and you can click through all the interactive elements of the course. Branching scenarios are also completely developed in order to bring the course alive and let you see the full finished product.
Our expert Instructional Designers do a great job writing and developing quality, approachable content. That doesn't mean they're perfect, though. That's why we always put our content through strict quality assurance testing.
We test for usability, functionality, and more in the most common environments including any specific requirements you have. We just hope you don't ask us to test in Internet Explorer 5!
Good and effective content is only as good as the final quality assurance process that uncovers any of the flaws during the process. We want to deliver as close to perfection as possible.
This is the moment we've all been waiting for. It's time to get the new eLearning course to the planned place where it will have a tremendous impact on the success of your project. Whether it's a new IT application launch you need to train employees on or the goal was to improve performance in a system, this is the moment of truth.
We're not worried, though. Even if the mark isn't 100% hit in the initial launch, we're sure to be able to make some revisions to make the training a huge success.
We like to launch but in the ADDIE model, it's referred to as Implementation. Same difference!
We don't have a clever term for this stage of the process. Just like in the ADDIE model, we do our best to evaluate the success of the launch if you'd like us to. Sometimes our partners decide this is better done internally. That is often true because you are in a better position to evaluate whether employee behavior changed or not.
Whether you want to handle this part and work with us on changes or not, we're here to support the launch and make sure the course delivers the necessary change or launch success in your organization.
Here are two of the main questions the evaluation should answer depending on the situation:
- Was an effective change made in people's behaviors?
- Did employees have the resources and education they needed to succeed?
As odd as it sounds, this step doesn't even exist in the ADDIE model. That's why there are so many competing Instructional Design models today!
Hopefully, evaluating the results let us determine if the project was a success or what needs to be changed to make it a success.
The reason ADDIE has so many competitors is that the instructional process is naturally an iterative process. That means the development of an eLearning course should also be an iterative process!
We're here to work with you whether we performed the evaluation or you did. We'll work to help you revise the course to meet the needs of your project.
If you have any questions about our process, just reach out and we're here to answer questions. If you're interested in working together, though, even just to feel us out, fill out our intake form and schedule a meeting for us to discuss your IT project. We'd love to help you make it a success!