My Instructional Design course mates and I have finished our first projects and are in the beginning stages of our second projects. We have been asked to stop and reflect upon our experiences with the first project and consider how these experiences have prepared us and will affect our work on the next project. Perhaps the most important part of the first project was to walk through the entire ADDIE process step by step. Although each of us had completely different projects and outcomes, the ADDIE process could be applied to all of them. Plus, the ADDIE process is not at all what I have experienced in public education (see Analysis & Design Working Together), so it has been interesting to experience the full process and compare it to what I do at work on a regular basis. While my course mates and I will still work our way through the ADDIE process for the second project, we will have fewer benchmark activities to turn in. I view this as an opportunity to go through the steps more quickly perhaps even allowing more freedom to move in and out each step with less structure. I should feel more intuitive and less organized but more authentic to what a professional instructional designer would do. After all, they are likely to be accountable only to their clients and themselves.
As for what worked, my clients were highly knowledgeable of how their content should be structured and organized. Their insight was valuable to the analysis and design phases of the project. I felt these were the strongest aspects of this particular project. However, the development of the actual materials was to me the most exciting and creatively rewarding phase despite the parameters I was bound to. Because the analysis and design were well laid out, both these steps took very little time. I ponder how working with a client who does not have clear objectives or vision and how much longer these phases could take.
As for what did not go so well, the limitations created by the learning management system were difficult to work around. For example, if I created an activity or quiz and found there to be a mistake (which often happens) it was not possible to correct the mistakes without great difficulty, especially if course participants had already worked within the assignment. The lack of computer experience among the young users was also a logistical issue my clients and I had not anticipated. These both made the implementation of the project the weakest aspect, but perhaps the most valuable in learning the craft. As I transform into an instructional designer, I must consider the weaknesses inherent in the implementation process. Some can be anticipated and managed prior to roll-out, but others cannot. It is our job as designers to minimize these weaknesses to the best of our ability and quickly address glitches.
That being said, I would like to go in a completely different direction with the next project and not use a learning management system. Sure, tracking student progress will be a major consideration, but the freedom of using a website format to relay information will be a wonderful learning experience. But perhaps the information could be structured in such a way that the users only access what they need to move them along with their projects.