You have all probably heard of the ADDIE model. Quite a few of you might have used it. So you would probably be able to empathize with me here.
One problem I face while developing courses is in following ADDIE to the E (much better than saying T considering the circumstances don’t you think?)
As you know, ADDIE is an Instructional Systems Design (ISD) model or framework for building effective training. It works in 5 phases – Analysis, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate.
Now, the double D is what everybody does. Ask anybody claiming to be an ID and they will happily do the double D, they are all experts of double D.
Its the vowels that pose a problem though.
Let’s start with the A of Addie.
As part of Analysis, an ID or learning expert is supposed to figure out:
- The characteristics of the audience/learner (Age of the learners, Approximate number of learners, Knowledge of the learners, Familiarity of the learners with different technology, Need of the learners etc)
- The intended outcome/objective(s) of the training
- The learning constraints
- The delivery options
- The timeline
- The assessment strategies
- The content (the essential information and the nice to know information)
And many such things.
As they say, the devil is in the details, and the more details you know, the better a course you can create.
By better, I do mean more effective, not more glitzy. Am not against glitz – but there has to be a balance. Just like a course that is too serious and formal with no glitz or make up would be too boring, similarly, a course too heavy on glitz and make up with too little substance would become a Kardashian.
But, due to various reasons, a lot of IDs do not or cannot do an exhaustive analysis.
When the point of contact at a client’s place is from a learning background, analysis becomes much easier because he or she can anticipate the questions, can give the correct information, the correct clarification.
That’s an ideal situation. Often, the point of contact would not be from a learning background. Let’s say he or she is project manager or a software developer or an engineer. They have a firm grip of their subject, of their product and would be able to answer any questions you might have about the product or subject.
But, he or she might not have a firm grasp of the audience, their characteristics, background, needs. The macro-goal is never the problem; its the micro-goals that get affected as a result.
Sometimes, they would have the required knowledge, but would not have an idea about how to communicate that to you the ID. They would provide you with some information, but it might not be too relevant or exhaustive.
On your part, you might be hesitant to keep on asking similar questions again and again for fear of pissing off the client.
The situation gets further complicated when the person in contact from your side is not from the learning background (say for example a salesguy).
These situations are quite common – and what do we do in such cases?
We make assumptions.
The more experienced an ID, usually the better the assumptions – but to err is human and all that.
More often than not the assumptions world and everything remains hunky-dory.
But if an assumption is wrong, the proverbial may make physical contact with a hydro-electric powered oscillating air current distribution device.
The one thing that binds all stakeholders in a learning project is the desire to come up with the most effective course. Its our ring, our preciousssss.
It does not matter if you are a Targaryen or a Stark or a Baratheon or a Lannister or even an Iron Islander. We all hate the white walkers of ineffectiveness.
And that is precisely why we have to continuously go back to the A of ADDIE.
We have to stop Assuming and have to continuously
Ask and Answer,
Ask and Answer,
Ask and Answer.
The More We Know
The Less We Don’t Know
And Nobody Wants to be John Snow.