ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate), a 5-step methodology in designing eLearning courseware, is commonly used in the industry. It traces its roots to the 1950’s Waterfall methodology of software design, where the development process gradually flows from one step to another, just like a waterfall. You can’t start step 2 until you’re done with step 1, and so on.
As a result of new developments in how eLearning is viewed by training professionals, and significant enhancements in supporting IT and multi-media technologies, Agile methodologies have now sprung up.
Agile eLearning design and development:
- Promotes a “parallel” way of developing courseware, as opposed to the serial Waterfall (ADDIE) approach
- Endorses the use of team-work as opposed to specialist roles (Designers, Developers etc.) that worked in insulation
- Infuses flexibility, speed and cooperation into the development process
The Agile approach, which is based on short iterative full-cycles that deliver usable components of the courseware, eliminates the biggest drawback to ADDIE, which is a time-consuming and often process-driven method of developing courseware. Agile methodologies, such as Rapid Content Development (RCD) and Successive Approximation Model (SAM) introduce a goal oriented, action-driven efforts that result in:
- More collaborative approach to eLearning content development
- A move to the “fail early, succeed earlier!” approach to content development – all issues are identified and fixed much earlier in the Agile approach than ADDIE
- The ability to reuse, recycle and reprocess previously developed content, saving lots of time and money for eLearning project sponsors
Agile not only speeds up courseware design and development, but also adds a dimension of better quality that isn’t possible with ADDIE. Moving away from the Waterfall and into Agile is definitely a windfall for eLearning projects.
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