The Power Of AGILE Instructional Design Approach

The Power Of AGILE Instructional Design Approach
Summary: The AGILE instructional design may have its roots outside of the world of eLearning, but it is now being widely used by Instructional Designers in all niches. In this article, I’ll share with you the basics of the AGILE instructional design approach and I’ll show you why it can be so powerful when designing eLearning courses.

The AGILE Instructional Design Basic Principles 

The term AGILE is becoming increasingly popular these days and for good reason. It offers a broad spectrum of advantages to eLearning professionals, as it makes the eLearning design process more effective, efficient and practical. But what exactly is AGILE and what benefits can it offer you when developing your next eLearning course?

The AGILE instructional design approach is a project-oriented approach introduced by Conrad Gottfredson, a performance-support practitioner. It encompasses the five stages involved when designing eLearning experiences: Align, Get set, Iterate and implement, Leverage and Evaluate.

According to Gottfredson, AGILE instructional design is geared toward meeting the needs of today’s organizations to be “agile” and adaptive. Organizations are always looking for faster and more efficient ways to train their employees and improve on-the-job performance. AGILE is an iterative process that gives them the opportunity to use collaboration, feedback and iterations to streamline the eLearning design and development process. This does not only speed up eLearning course development time but it also makes the finished eLearning deliverable more successful.

The AGILE Instructional Design Process

eLearning content development based on the AGILE instructional design approach involves the following process:

  1. Instructional designers meet with all stakeholders, eLearning professionals, eLearning content creators, clients and employees to brainstorm and formulate a plan for moving forward with the development of the eLearning course.
  2. All members of the group agree upon the appearance and core eLearning content of the eLearning course. Typically this involves smaller segments of the eLearning content, which will be discussed in great detail.
  3. The segment of the eLearning content that was discussed is then developed rapidly, before another meeting is called to address any modifications or additions that need to be made before moving forward.
  4. Once all the issues have been remedied and concerns have been discussed, the eLearning team then repeats the process again for each section of the eLearning course. Thus, every segment of the eLearning content is fully developed prior to creating the next module or unit.

The AGILE Instructional Design Benefits

  1. Focuses on learners and their interactivity with the eLearning course.
    Rather than focusing on the process of learning itself, the eLearning authoring tools that will be used, and the eLearning design approach, the AGILE instructional design focuses on learners and how they will be interacting with the eLearning course, itself. During each meeting, the needs of the learner and how they will engage and participate in the eLearning course are seriously taken into consideration. This allows eLearning professionals to design eLearning experiences that are more engaging and immersive, as they are able to concentrate on how the learner is expected to perceive every eLearning activity, piece of eLearning content and design element, in general. This guarantees that every eLearning experience will be learner-centered and will meet the specific needs of the audience.
  2. Produces higher quality eLearning deliverables more rapidly.
    The eLearning project, as a whole, is divided into smaller chunks that must be completed before moving onto the next chunk or module. As a result, it is easier to identify and remedy all the issues that might have been overlooked, if the entire eLearning course had been developed at once. For example, a graphic that may be out of place or text that may be too lengthy might have not been corrected if you were looking at the project as a whole, as these are perceived as minor details that can very easily be overlooked. However, since an entire team of eLearning professionals is there to analyze every individual section of the eLearning course, these problems and other eLearning mistakes can be modified and corrected early on. This leads to eLearning deliverables of higher quality that are designed at a more rapid pace, which benefits not only the eLearning professionals and the client, but also the target audience.
  3. Reduces the need for extensive "last-moment" revisions.
    It is very common for eLearning professionals to have to devote a significant amount of time to last-moment meetings in order to address any issues or challenges that have been revealed during the final editing process. AGILE instructional design, on the other hand, is carried out in stages. Every member of the group regularly evaluates and tests each section of the eLearning course, having the opportunity to make changes, throughout the eLearning development process. This, in turn, leads to a variety of benefits. For example, instead of having to delay launching the eLearning course due to unexpected revisions, you can roll it out right on schedule and start building your learner enrollment numbers and profits. It also gives you the power to avoid making repeated mistakes. Instead of including the same flawed graphic in every module of your eLearning course, for instance, you can iron out the issue during the first section and save yourself the time and expense of having to fix it in every eLearning course unit.
  4. Allows for greater collaboration.
    An important aspect of AGILE design in eLearning is collaboration. Members from every cross-section are involved, from the stakeholders to the actual learners. All of them share opinions and offer feedback, which can offer eLearning professionals the chance to benefit from the insight and expertise of other members of the group. All parties are encouraged to voice their concerns, highlight any issues they might discover and offer advice that will make the finished eLearning course a more memorable and engaging eLearning experience for the target audience.

Knowing all of the benefits of AGILE instructional design approach, you may want to think about implementing it when designing your next eLearning course. It can not only make the development process more streamlined and productive, but it will also provide a better eLearning experience for your audience.

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Another powerful way to create effective eLearning courses, is by implementing the mistake-driven approach. Read the article 7 Benefits Of Mistake-Driven Learning where I highlight the many benefits learners can expect to receive when you take a mistake-driven learning approach. After all, mistakes should be viewed as amazing opportunities to grow, rather than resounding failures that stand in the way of the learning process.