Over the vast countryside in the kingdom of Instructional Design a mist of uncertainty has fallen over many of the loyal subjects residing there. Conversations can be overheard discussing whether Queen ADDIE should stay on the throne or if an Agile usurper like SAM would be a more effective monarch. With all of this uncertainty several are even considering the viability of a Constitutional Monarchy creating a model government where both ADDIE and Agile can play important and functional roles.

Leave ADDIE for Agile?There’s no doubt that ADDIE has dominated instructional system design for more than 40 years. Respect and admiration remain strong, and although advocates generally use a revised form of ADDIE to design courses already, many seem to have apprehension when considering jumping ship over to SAM. Besides, how can we abandon her after all of these years? The truth is we really don’t need to pick sides. It makes more sense to identify the positive attributes that ADDIE has to offer and adapt the process to accommodate your own unique needs and goals. We all do it. We just don’t take the time think up a cool acronym. Recently, I sat down and created my own ADDIE/Agile mashup. I like to call it, AGGIE.

Design like an AGGIE

At Utah State University one of my keys to successful instructional design for higher ed online courses is that I have easy access to our SME’s who are also generally the instructors for our courses as well. Additionally, I have flexibility to include formative assessments throughout each step of the process. Thanks to the team in the Center for Innovative Design and Instruction (CIDI) here at USU I also have access to some pretty amazing innovations that have been incorporated into our LMS to aid in the instructional design process as well.

5 Amazing Innovations Incorporated into Canvas LMS for Successful Instructional Design for Higher Education Online Courses

  1. AscertainAscertainI am not just going to make observations when I meet with an instructor working on a new course development. I want to develop a clear understanding of the direction the course is headed. Rather than simply defining course goals, I want to dig deeper and identify exactly what will work best for each course I design. I want to determine how the instructor intends for students to interact with the content, with the instructor, and with the other students. This involves design that includes the main principles of instruction to improve student learning throughout the course. Additionally, the instructor needs to create a helpful syllabus that includes all vital course details and I will also work with the instructor to create a course map that can be used in the creation of the course shell. 
  2. GenerateNow that I have the essentials established for the course design I will follow the course map and use the USU Template Wizard to create a course shell. There are 5 keys to generating the course shell including: create a template page, customize modules, use custom tools, customize front page and use the syllabus tool. Each of these 5 keys have been streamlined by the integration of USU Custom Tools into our Canvas LMS. Thanks to these tools I can rapidly develop the course shell.Learn more about the USU Custom Tools: http://elearningindustry.com/5-keys-to-rapid-course-development-in-canvas-using-custom-tools
  3. GlamourizeGlamourizeThat’s right, I will make the course look amazing. With the instructor now inserting content into the course shell I am going to go through and add an extra touch. We know that we are presenting high quality content, but I am going to add supplementary graphics, media and videos to supplement instruction. As these elements are added to the course, the team at CIDI, the instructor and I will continue formative evaluations to identify weak points and find room for improvement. 
  4. Innovate/Iterate/ImproveInnovations in my courses include new features like “Quick Checks” which are non-graded formative assessments that can be embedded at the bottom of a page, or a myriad of custom LTI integrations to make the Canvas LMS work the way we want it to for specific courses. New iterations and versions of the course will be produced in the development cycle as we have included formative evaluations throughout each step. Even once the course is running we will continue to evaluate and make improvements.
  5. EducateBefore the course starts running it must score high enough on our course quality rubric to be approved. Formative evaluations continue as the course is taught. When it comes down to it we are designing these courses as a vehicle to educate our students. If students are not meeting course outcomes, or if the design of a course is hindering student learning, then improvements need to be made, and courses redeveloped if necessary. 

We all follow an instructional design process in one form or another. Although I no longer use ADDIE herself, at USU we have transformed her basic model to work for us. We have simply taken what we know and love from ADDIE and integrated the functional, rapid development elements of an Agile model to create our own custom mashup. What do you call your mashup instructional design model?