How To Balance Agile Process With Design Strategy
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How To Balance Agile Process With Design Strategy

Managing custom eLearning projects can be challenging. You’re juggling timelines, teams, clients, and unique deliverables. Moreover, traditional employee training and development teams take an average of 100 hours to create each eLearning course. In the worst-case scenario, the project doesn't create the desired performance improvements. However, there are a few strategies in eLearning design that will help make your training more effective. Beyond that, there are also a few lessons from agile Project Management that would dramatically improve upon the development process. So, let's review 5 tips for eLearning Project Management.

Custom eLearning Development

Custom eLearning projects may have unique deliverables, but that's no reason to step away from a consistent process. While much of Instructional Design is an art, design and development processes must still align with best practices in Project Management. In some cases, this means a rigid structure, but that's certainly not always the case. Regardless of your unique performance challenges, these 5 steps will ensure your custom eLearning activities have the greatest impact on your learners.

1. Define

The first step is to gather data around the performance challenge through needs analyses or other similar methods. You want to clearly define both the training needs and the scope of the solution.

2. Design

Create a pathway to success by designing a custom training strategy for your unique challenges. It's best to use performance mapping to align training activities with the knowledge base, motivational factors, and end behaviors critical to success.

3. Curate

Gather, organize, and analyze content from all of your sources. This may include assets like old eLearning courses, Instructor-Led Training presentation material, Subject Matter Expert interviews, or knowledge assessments. However, it's just as important to determine what information is critical and what information is trivial.

4. Create

With your performance map in mind, begin to develop the custom eLearning activities that will make up your training program. It's best to use an iterative process like an ADDIE-AGILE Project Management strategy to allow for consistent revision and review.

5. Drive

Finally, after extensive testing, deploy the custom eLearning solution, measure results, and follow up with the stakeholders about the success of the project.

Your development processes may be different depending on the unique features of your employee training and development group, but each phase is vital to the success of custom eLearning development. And having a clear process in place is helpful for project managers, their teams, and their clients, regardless of the process.

Agile Project Management

Following an established process, doesn’t mean that you and your team have no flexibility once the project is underway. While you should have a good sense of the scope and the goals of the project, it’s important to be able to adjust course as you continue development. The project teams at AllenComm often use agile-ADDIE hybrid models depending on the specifics of the project to be better aligned with the needs of our clients.

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Regardless of your organization's development processes, Project Management practices like check-ins, revisions, and reviews are key. But stakeholders still find that training doesn't create the desired outcomes. According to data from Brandon Hall, 53% of respondents cited a lack of alignment between learning and outcomes as a challenge to their company’s training success. So, to make sure your custom eLearning is aligned with organizational goals, there are a few best practices from agile software development that will help make your projects a success.

Cycle

Determine and communicate the expectations for each iteration. Discuss the steps for each development cycle, as well as the deliverables at the end of each. Particularly, communicate the roles of all those involved in each cycle. For example, if you're developing an interactive video, map out a timeline for the scripting, filming, editing, and quality assurance, with review and revision in mind.

Development

Perhaps, the most important part of effective development is setting appropriate timelines for the amount of work expected. In the case of video development, if the eLearning Project Management team gives unreasonable expectations for scripting, and the development teams can't deliver on time, then it can shift the entire project timeline.

Testing

Testing is a critical part of the quality assurance process. So, consider deploying your eLearning assets on a staging site. Ideally, your testing should resemble any and all platforms learners would use to access the content.

Delivery

Depending on your project specifications, delivering training assets may not mean deploying them on a learning portal. If the eLearning asset fits within a larger learning ecosystem, then it may not be deployed until other deliverables are also completed. In that case, delivery dates are crucial. Expect that those assets may need to be changed, and plan accordingly in your overall timeline.

Feedback

Accepting feedback on a project isn't only for the training content. There may also be problems with the development process that need improvement. So, be sure to capture any suggestions and work those into the next cycle.

Conclusion

Typically, custom eLearning development focuses on creating training assets that have the greatest impact on your learners. But your project still may not be a success without effective processes for design and development. So, take a few lessons from agile Project Management. Balance the structure of a consistent process with the flexibility of frequent review and revision.

eBook Release: AllenComm
AllenComm
The experts at AllenComm solve business problems with beautiful custom learning solutions. We bring creativity into instructional design. We change behaviors and influence choices. We build better training.
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