This post will discuss the use of the popular AGILE strategy (notice I say strategy) in instructional design. First before I start I will note – AGILE does NOT replace ADDIE. In fact, AGILE is just another way to do the ADDIE process – and there are 1000s. There is not one correct way to perform the steps of ADDIE. Each author, expert, company, organization, etc has a different way to do ADDIE. Thus ADDIE changes by entity and should be modified for each project to suite client needs and expectations. AGILE is just one way of many ways to do ADDIE (and really AGILE should only be applied to the design/development stages of ADDIE as you will see below). As a result we are always doing ADDIE, you cannot replace it. Now that I have said that…
AGILE was first created for software development to replace what is known as the waterfall method but has since been applied to many other industries.
So what is AGILE?
AGILE is a strategy that promotes iterative and incremental design and development in order to get out parts of a project to the client instead of the whole at one time (to save time). This is actually very similar to the rapid development strategies – they are for the most part exactly the same.
When can I use AGILE
You should use AGILE when you meet some of the same requirements that you have to meet to do rapid instructional design. It is not something that should be used on every project. Certain conditions should be met first.
1. Analysis is completed – without a proper analysis the project will fail. 70% of projects fail and poor analysis and management are usually the cause. This doesn’t mean analysis needed to be completed for this part of the project. You might know these clients and have done other projects with them so you can take some/all of that original analysis and use it.
2. Constant access to SMEs, Developers, and Graphic Artists (and person who signs off – i.e., client)
3. Project can be rolled out in sections – for instance 1 module can be rolled out by itself without the other 10 modules
4. Already have learning objects from other projects (optional and very helpful – cuts time) – this is not required though but will save a significant amount of time
How do I use AGILE
Once your task analysis is completed in the ADDIE process (as in you have done analysis and design), you can really start the AGILE strategy. Development should look something like this:
1. Design – minimum skills required are taught (think job aid type training). Limited graphics, interactions, etc are used. (it should be understood that these will be modified at a later time. This is more of a rapid instructional design strategy but will cut time with AGILE as well). The more interactions that are taught, the more time it will take. Thus if you are using complex software and have a lot of interactions you will not get the time savings advantages associated with AGILE.
1a. Feedback and test
2. Iterate – Develop the prototype
2a. Feedback and test
3. Review – meet with clients to get feedback and approval
*This process is a cycle that can technically repeat indefinitely until its right. Most organizations go through it 2-3 times before implementation.
What does AGILE look like?
Here are two strategy maps showing how AGILE can be used in Instructional Design (and note how they fit into ADDIE). First note that they are both slightly different as there is not one ‘right’ way to implement these strategies. As I said earlier, these need to change by client and project so they should not look the same. Here is the first from bottomlineperformance.com
Here is another from learningsolutionsmag.com
Do you notice anything familiar about these? You should. They are just defining how to do steps in the ADDIE process. The first chart is starting at Design after your learning objectives are created and showing us how to Develop. Thus that would be a way to use AGILE for development. The second chart also shows us how AGILE can fit into the ADDIE process.
Why are we trying to replace ADDIE? What is wrong with ADDIE? Should we be replacing ADDIE? Let’s replace ADDIE with XYZ.
I keep seeing these discussions over and over again in the field. Why? I am actually not quite sure. One guess is that people can ‘get known’ or ‘make money’ off of a new process. Maybe people just like to see new things – after all we are a tech field where nothing lasts more than 2 years. Honestly though I am not quite sure why we are trying to replace ADDIE.
So what is ADDIE?
ADDIE is a design process used for training design and development. You can read about what it is here.
The big question though, can we replace it?
The simple and short answer is NO. You cannot. Unfortunately for the people trying to replace ADDIE, it cannot and will not be replaced in instructional design. We might call it something else or even have our own unique way of doing it but guess what – its still ADDIE. That’s right. Regardless of what someone tells you – you will always need to do an analysis before you start a project. Always. 70% of projects in corporate america do not meet their desired expectations (as in fail) and one of the main reasons is a poor analysis (1, 2). If you want to fall in that category then do not do your analysis. I prefer to be in the ‘successful’ project category so I do analysis.
Guess what, (and this is the kicker) there is not one way to do an analysis or any step in the ADDIE process. That’s right – each company, project, branch of the military, contractor, etc has their own way of doing ADDIE that works for them. It does not need to be linear and each step, for instance, analysis, might need to be done differently for each project you work on. There is no one way to do analysis. This is really where things like SAM, AGILE, Rapid Prototyping, Dick and Carey, etc come in. They do not replace ADDIE. Instead, they define how to do one or many of the steps in ADDIE. And they are 1 of a 1000 ways to do it. Do not think one of them is the ‘best’ all the time. You need to change these steps for each project or client due to the million different factors that comes with that client/project. So guess what? They are all just ways to do ADDIE. They are NOT replacing it at all.
During this phase of instructional design (ADDIE) we develop our instructional product and get it ready for implementation.
Prototype – From our design, we should build our prototype. This can be a screen shot or mock-up of screens that show what the final product could look like. It is very important to get client approval here before moving onto storyboard development. These should also look good – so get a graphic designer to design them if needed. These will help the developer and graphic designer in the long run when looking at the storyboards if these are done well.
Storyboard – This is the story. Each screen (or scene/action if developing a game) will be depicted. Everything we have done in design will aid in the development of the storyboards. The client should be able to look at these (and see the visual in the prototype) and have an exact idea of what the final product will look and feel like. Again, these need to be signed off on.
Development – Once the storyboards are completed, development can begin. Thus, the instructional developer, programmers, graphic artists, etc. will develop the software or instruction. This might involve one to many different deliverables depending on the type of instruction being developed (i.e., CBT, software, game, simulation, training manual, instructor guide, etc.)
System Testing – During this phase the LMS, network, etc. should be tested (if needed) to ensure that the servers and network are prepared for the implementation. This is the time that the IT team and ISDers work out any system glitches, especially if delivering this to many users. This way when implementation is ready the rollout will run without glitches.
Each semester, many students ask me about ADDIE, Dick and Carey, Rapid ISD models, SAM, AGILE, Rapid Prototyping, etc. There seems to be much confusion, not just by my students, but in the field as to how ADDIE relates to all of these other models (read about that here). I also see a problem with most instructional models in that they try so hard to be an instructional design process that they leave out how and where they connect within the system. Thus you see them as an isolated system. As a result, my students do not always see this connection. Hence, I am going to be writing several blog posts outlining the instructional design process – what is to be done at each step, how you do it, how does it relate to and effect other systems, and a few other things. This is the first part. This is the instructional design process (ADDIE) within a company (*please note that this will change a bit for each project as this process needs to be adapted to the environment but this is the standard process assuming ideal conditions). I have added extra parts because I believe not adding them has in part led to the confusion that instructional designers have in our field. To read specifics on the steps, click the links below:
Well since this is the second time this week I have seen this post, which I addressed on both forums where I saw it posted, I thought I would post it here too:
My take is that the article is wrong – it tells me nothing. No info why ADDIE is ‘bad’ and no info on how they would change it. In fact, the only thing I get from the article is that the people who wrote it are using ADDIE incorrectly and do not understand the process. Here is my response to this article in a linkedin forum:
“So why use another process? What does it do differently than ADDIE? I have seen many people try to replace it and yet they cannot – for good reason. ADDIE works. While a systematic process, ADDIE is not linear. If you are using it in a linear or limiting way, you are using it wrong. Additionally, these two bullet points in the article contradict one another and show you would be using ADDIE wrong if you developed training that has little impact:
* departments spend too much money and time on training that has little, if any, impact on the performance of the learners.
* is in the constant cycle of allocating ever diminishing budgets which are not adequate to build training that has any return-on-investment.
And this bullet point shows me you are not doing a proper learner analysis or using the right instructional strategies (again not using ADDIE correctly):
* are becoming disillusioned and unmotivated by the boring, lifeless click-through training to which they are subjected.
And to address your points, if your ISDers are not using ADDIE correctly or doing proper instructional design and you are running into these types of issues, why blame ADDIE? It seems that the problem is that you are using it incorrectly. In fact, you are probably cutting corners somewhere. I usually see this when reviewing training which looks like flash cards – boring and not effective. Why? The ISDers did not actually design the instructional strategies to match the learning objectives and then did not asses properly (i.e., they did not use ADDIE correctly).
I guess my question for anyone getting rid of ADDIE for another model is, how are you ensuring quality? Because if you are cutting something out of ADDIE then you are cutting quality somewhere. If you are adding to ADDIE then I could understand because ADDIE by itself is missing a PM and Communication piece but its understood that its not meant to have them either.”
An instructional design model is a systematic set of instructions for developing instructional materials. The models are designed so that materials have high quality and that each step in the process follows a set of guidelines/requirements. There are many ISD models, which include Dick and Carey and Morrison Ross & Kemp, ADDIE, ASSURE, etc. In my opinion, ADDIE tends to be the most popular in both the educational and corporate worlds. Below is a quick run down of two models and a very high level description of each step within that process.
Analysis – Includes conducting a need/front end/gap analysis to analyze requirements, cost, learners, resources available, timeline, and developing a course of action
Design – Develop instructional objectives, strategy to present objectives, assessment items for each objective
Devleopment – Development of instruction
Implementation – Implementation of instruction
Evaluation – Evaluate instruction (formative and summative)
Select Media, Methods, and Materials
Utilize Media and Materials
Require Learner Participation
Evaluate and Revise