An inherent value to the agile mindset is the respect and implementation of continuous improvement, especially, in my mind, to a framework based on agile principles. True to that belief, we have taken the the agile instructional design model that Scott Marsee and I developed back in 2011 that focused on iterative stages of course development into another state of improvement through simplication.
The framework of Scrum gave us the insights to help put aside the frustrating limitations that the ADDIE ISD (waterfall), as outlined below, giving us the bottom line that nothing is delivered or usable until the end, and the development team is locked in a forward motion only.
With the approach we developed, each stage provided a delivery that was implementable:
- Course Framework: Ready for the writer to teach
- Active Learning Flow: Ready for peer experts to teach
- Ed Tech Features: Really easy to teach
- Delivery: Ease for sustainable continual delivery
The visuals that I’ve seen floating around minimum viable products really speak to the differences between the ADDIE process and our goals around the agile process that we loosely based on Scrum.
visuals that I’ve seen floating around minimum viable products really speak to the differences between the ADDIE process and our goals around the agile process that we loosely based on Scrum.
Something that we’ve discovered, however, is the cultural or mindset shift necessary to truly embrace using an agile ISD successfully. As we observed and reflected from our experience in broadening and applying an agile ISD to a larger scale, we realized that the work around the agile ISD was not in perfecting the process, although a smooth one is helpful, but in the collaboration, respect, humility, and focus on the real goals that provides the instructional designer the capability to empower writers to ensure the best courses.
There has been nuances changed in the agile ISD itself, but more importantly, three sets of templates that collected data (at each stage) has transitioned into a single working document. The three sets of templates did articulate the needs at each iteration, but we were seeing too much of “ok, fill this out and I’ll check it out.”
The three sets of deliverables are in the working document, but are now just three simple tables, with the instructional designer working together with the writer(s) as much as necessary until the writer(s) feel comfortable to produce more on their own before the next review and potential continuation to the next table.
Filling out documents without a deep fundamental understanding of why is almost impossible, so why would we expect a writer to be able to perform that without at least extensive practice or coaching?
An instructional designer benefits greatly from coaching, listening, and translation skills. Without those skills, the instructional designer is simply a clerical expert pushing paperwork; not a catalyst to ensure the development a course that will give powerful learning experiences.
Thus, one working document managed with iterative planning cycles. Relationship building. Shared vision. It is the combination of these elements that make the agile ISD actually agile.