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Help - I'm getting bogged down with the learning design process...

Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:42 AM  

Right guys.. I've come to a bit of a standstill and I need some advice!

 

I am responsible for all the eLearning at my business (both maintaining the LMS and creating content) - which includes managing others to generate parts of the process. I have developed a system based on the ADDIE model, which I think I am really happy with..

 

1. It begins with an online form to collect the data - the initial request, TNA and stakeholder agreement (you can see it here if you're interested): https://creator.zoho.com/antpugh/elearn/#Form:eLearning_TNA

 

2. Next I have tools such as mind maps and storyboards in order to build the course

 

3. Finally I have the evaluation phase at the end.

 

(I have also attached the full process to this post)

 

This all seems well and good, but how do you guys manage this information? How do you know where you are in the process? I feel like I should have some central area where my team are guided through this process - once they have finished one section and it has been signed off - they are ready to move onto the next section etc. I've tried a Gantt chart but don't find it very user friendly...

 

Do you lot have any clever suggestions for this? Seems like a silly problem when I type it out - but its sending me round in circles!!!

 

Thanks for listening to my waffle...


eLearning process.pdf

This post has 5 verified answers

Verified Answers

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:51 AM  

Verified Answer

Your Post is GREAT!! I think a lot of people encounter this issue. I think it really depends on the technology you have at hand, i am a big advocate of SharePoint and have created a workspace to document all my material and host resources for users to follow. You also have the ability to post discussion groups, blogs or notes. This has been a great tool for most of our projects.


Eric Nalian

572 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:51 AM  

Verified Answer

Hi Ant,

 

I am in the same position as you - primary admin for our LMS and primary content creator.  I use 2 things

  1. Excel Spreadsheet - This is my public list, it shows at a high level the completion status of a project and if it is in review, who is reviewing it.
  2. SmartPad (iPad App) - I can list out all of the tasks associated with a project and add/remove/mark complete tasks for the project.  It also lets me put things on my calendar (drawbacks to this - its private, and it does not sync up with Outlook)

There is a lot of stuff to remember when there are about 10 projects going on at the same time...


Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM  

Verified Answer

I have a list of a few mobile or web applications that I have tried and others I have seen people use:

 

http://www.zoho.com/projects/

Project2Manage – Using that one now with a consultant

Evernote – Use in my everyday life

Twiddla

Teambox

Even google has Google Code for Project Hosting.

 


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,150 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

One of the things we found is a progressive structure works best for our project artifacts. We want to dose outputs at the lowest level possible to encourage reviewers to spend time reviewing critical milestones and minimize the risk that we're putting work in on something that doesn't matter.

 

You can see the worksheets we developed for this process here. The worksheets are in Appendix E (Self-paced e-learning). Essentially, we want to document the pre-work rationale while capturing both the business goals and the anticipated performance outcomes right up front.

 

Our process tends to follow this sequence. 

 

We find that leading with A) assumptions of objectives or B) content tends to skip really important steps in the process. Each worksheet and deliverable builds on a previous increment. So if something goes squirrelly or sideways down stream we can transcend up a level and revalidate approvals in an earlier iteration. As design artifacts tend to get more complex as the project forges on, it's pretty important for us to define the early artifacts in a clean and simple structure. These form the basis (and the big questions / problems) for all of the design work that follows.

 

This approach works for our scales in most cases (which often includes very large solution sets with many stakeholders) but YMMV. We also have a pretty rigorous up front process for defining performance outcomes and solution methods. So this could make a pretty big difference in success or failure of this application. In the end, we're looking to provide solid alignment between expectations of real work application and a reasonable solution that helps us reach that end game with the least resources and most respect for the person at the end of the line.

 

 

We will tend to keep each of the deliverables in a separate document (MS Word) and any data (surveys, user testing) or other calculated artifact in MS Excel (which works really well for the purpose of sorting and filtering records in a portable way). We don't have access to Google spreadsheets here or we'd use that for submission of feedback reports. 

 

The first slide graphic above came from a presentation I gave last fall.


Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 8:27 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Ant,

It sounds like you're looking for two things, possibly three: a scheduling tool to track milestones and project progress, a database to store project data like names of stakeholders, course objectives, risks and issues, etc.  And then possibly some kind of file repository for project artifacts like SME source materials. Okay, four things if you count the need for team collaboration. In other words, you're looking for project management software but tailored to an ADDIE model.  I've never seen off the shelf software that does that; in fact our training org basically wrote our own in MS Access and SQL. (Smartphone/mobile access was not a business requirement.)

 

I was using a web service called "Remember the Milk," (www.rmilk.com) which is a task management tool with some neat collaboration aspects to it.  You create lists, add tasks to those lists with start and end times.  You can share tasks with others, even add locations to indicate where tasks are to be done.  The "Getting Things Done" crowd have latched on its tagging feature, which allows you to assign any number of labels to a task that better contextualize what's being done.  So a "Draft Storyboard" task would get a due date, but might also get assigned   "to_write" or "for_stakeholders" tags. Since we're talking ADDIE you might also add a "Design" tag   So then you can search or filter by tags, which cut across all your lists.  Finally, you can set up an email box that receives messages and converts them into tasks, or you could by their smartphone app.  Great for task management and light-duty notes, but lacks a file repository if you have other documents like PDFs or PPTs. I imagine coupling Rmilk with Dropbox would have you pretty much covered. 


All Replies

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:51 AM  

Verified Answer

Your Post is GREAT!! I think a lot of people encounter this issue. I think it really depends on the technology you have at hand, i am a big advocate of SharePoint and have created a workspace to document all my material and host resources for users to follow. You also have the ability to post discussion groups, blogs or notes. This has been a great tool for most of our projects.


Eric Nalian

572 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 7:51 AM  

Verified Answer

Hi Ant,

 

I am in the same position as you - primary admin for our LMS and primary content creator.  I use 2 things

  1. Excel Spreadsheet - This is my public list, it shows at a high level the completion status of a project and if it is in review, who is reviewing it.
  2. SmartPad (iPad App) - I can list out all of the tasks associated with a project and add/remove/mark complete tasks for the project.  It also lets me put things on my calendar (drawbacks to this - its private, and it does not sync up with Outlook)

There is a lot of stuff to remember when there are about 10 projects going on at the same time...


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:02 AM  

Thanks guys - we don't have Sharepoint so can't use that, and Excel seems a little outdated in this day and age - but I'm really interested in the Smartpad app though Eric - but does that allow you to share and collaborate?


Eric Nalian

572 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:13 AM  

Sadly, it does not offer any collaboration :(

Excel is outdated, it is just quick and easy.

 

This can be done using Outlook as well - We have a 'Sun University' account (account is probably not the correct word) that is shared by our L+D Department (I am Learning, the manager is Development and we have an admin as well), currently we only use the calendar to keep track of our webinars, but there is also the 'Tasks' feature that could be used to assign tasks/keep track of projects


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:16 AM  

MS Project I'm sure is the correct answer to this subject - but I was hoping for something less clunky and more cloud based - it seems everyone needs to have Project installed to work it - I was hoping to manage everything through a single URL to keep it mobile and simple.

 

I have used something called Basecamp before, that seems closer to what I need, although it still seems a little over complex for something so simple..

 

Thanks for the responses though guys - really appreciate it....


Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:31 AM  

Verified Answer

I have a list of a few mobile or web applications that I have tried and others I have seen people use:

 

http://www.zoho.com/projects/

Project2Manage – Using that one now with a consultant

Evernote – Use in my everyday life

Twiddla

Teambox

Even google has Google Code for Project Hosting.

 


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 8:42 AM  

I've just started using Evernote, seems good for tracking ideas but maybe not enough functionality for projects like this?

 

I also have tried Zoho projects.. seems ok but I wasn't overly excited.. I sound like a right spoilt brat now don't I!?

cue little girl screaming - "I WANT A PONY!!!!!!!!!! WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!"

 

I will check out the others though - thanks


Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:00 AM  

love Google Chrome and my iphone. So it easily integrates with both because its html5 based. I think it’s pretty easy , the free version lets you host a few projects, but if you like it why not purchase. They are still new, so new features unlock each month. Give it a try.

 


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:02 AM  

Wow - that sounds great - i love my working on my iPhone and Chrome too, so it sounds like it could be the answer!!

Thanks a million !!!

 

(ps. feel free to add me on Skype if you need a contact  

 

username: antpugh


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,150 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:20 AM  

One of the things we found is a progressive structure works best for our project artifacts. We want to dose outputs at the lowest level possible to encourage reviewers to spend time reviewing critical milestones and minimize the risk that we're putting work in on something that doesn't matter.

 

You can see the worksheets we developed for this process here. The worksheets are in Appendix E (Self-paced e-learning). Essentially, we want to document the pre-work rationale while capturing both the business goals and the anticipated performance outcomes right up front.

 

Our process tends to follow this sequence. 

 

We find that leading with A) assumptions of objectives or B) content tends to skip really important steps in the process. Each worksheet and deliverable builds on a previous increment. So if something goes squirrelly or sideways down stream we can transcend up a level and revalidate approvals in an earlier iteration. As design artifacts tend to get more complex as the project forges on, it's pretty important for us to define the early artifacts in a clean and simple structure. These form the basis (and the big questions / problems) for all of the design work that follows.

 

This approach works for our scales in most cases (which often includes very large solution sets with many stakeholders) but YMMV. We also have a pretty rigorous up front process for defining performance outcomes and solution methods. So this could make a pretty big difference in success or failure of this application. In the end, we're looking to provide solid alignment between expectations of real work application and a reasonable solution that helps us reach that end game with the least resources and most respect for the person at the end of the line.

 

 

We will tend to keep each of the deliverables in a separate document (MS Word) and any data (surveys, user testing) or other calculated artifact in MS Excel (which works really well for the purpose of sorting and filtering records in a portable way). We don't have access to Google spreadsheets here or we'd use that for submission of feedback reports. 

 

The first slide graphic above came from a presentation I gave last fall.


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 9:45 AM  

Wow thanks for the detailed reply - I am going to have to spend some time reading and digesting that one... appreciate it though Steve


User Rank Natalia Mueller

709 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:07 AM  

We have recently started using wiki's for team collaboration. I don't know all of the in's and out's yet, but so far I really like it.


Sami Hwang

107 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 11:08 AM  

Hello Steve,

Thank you so much for sharing the document. 

This is kind of document that I am looking for.

I will read it and get back to you if I have some question.

Is it ok with you?

 

 

 


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,150 posts

Posted Thursday, March 22, 2012 at 1:34 PM  

Sure, Sami. Happy to answer what I can. The doc was designed around challenges and problems we were having, so it might be deficient / too deep / too narrow for your contexts. There is some useful stuff in there - some of it universal. But scalability was based on our own challenges, so it might not fit perfectly as a whole.


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:28 AM  

Hi Steve - I don't suppose you have 'this presentation' online as a video/webinar do you? It looks great - wish I could have attended!!

 

(http://www.uscghpt.org/_lib/2011sessions/LIFE_DIGITAL_SOLUTION_HO_15SEP.pdf)


User Rank Steve Flowers

4,150 posts

Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 at 3:47 AM  

Hi Ant, 

 

I may have the presentation audio around somewhere. Will look for it. I'll be presenting again at the Army's DL conference in June and will probably present a revised version at our HPT Workshop in September (free workshop in Williamsburg, VA).


Melanie Sobie

208 posts

Posted Friday, March 23, 2012 at 7:35 AM  

Natalia - I'd love to hear some more about how you are using wiki's. I am completely in the dark about the technology of wiki's but understand the concept and really want to pursue this soon for some projects we have here.  How did you get started?


Posted Sunday, March 25, 2012 at 8:27 PM  

Verified Answer

Hi Ant,

It sounds like you're looking for two things, possibly three: a scheduling tool to track milestones and project progress, a database to store project data like names of stakeholders, course objectives, risks and issues, etc.  And then possibly some kind of file repository for project artifacts like SME source materials. Okay, four things if you count the need for team collaboration. In other words, you're looking for project management software but tailored to an ADDIE model.  I've never seen off the shelf software that does that; in fact our training org basically wrote our own in MS Access and SQL. (Smartphone/mobile access was not a business requirement.)

 

I was using a web service called "Remember the Milk," (www.rmilk.com) which is a task management tool with some neat collaboration aspects to it.  You create lists, add tasks to those lists with start and end times.  You can share tasks with others, even add locations to indicate where tasks are to be done.  The "Getting Things Done" crowd have latched on its tagging feature, which allows you to assign any number of labels to a task that better contextualize what's being done.  So a "Draft Storyboard" task would get a due date, but might also get assigned   "to_write" or "for_stakeholders" tags. Since we're talking ADDIE you might also add a "Design" tag   So then you can search or filter by tags, which cut across all your lists.  Finally, you can set up an email box that receives messages and converts them into tasks, or you could by their smartphone app.  Great for task management and light-duty notes, but lacks a file repository if you have other documents like PDFs or PPTs. I imagine coupling Rmilk with Dropbox would have you pretty much covered. 


Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 at 10:57 AM  

There are some great project management ideas listed here! Our team just started using www.smartsheet.com for project collaboration, tracking, and managing. It's very easy to use, is web-based, and the sheet creator can share spreadsheets with anyone for viewing and editing.


Art Sederquist

11 posts

Posted Monday, March 26, 2012 at 8:57 PM  

You guys have listed some great tools and approaches.  Another superb collaborative cloud-based workspace is www.asana.com.


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 3:36 AM  

Hey Minh - just wanted to thank you for your detailed response to my query - very kind of you to go to so much trouble, I will definitely check this out and let you all know how I go.

 

Art and Lori - thanks too.. I have never heard of either of those so will take a look at all of them  and try to get back to you all on my findings....

 

However.. this does beg the question - would there be a market for software like this?!! That managed eLearning projects?! 


Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:40 AM  

Ant, I don't know if there would be a market specifically for eLearning projects - maybe. What's really nice about SmartSheet is that it comes with an eLearning project template. It's pretty good, and you can customize to your needs.


Ant Pugh

194 posts

Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 8:54 AM  

my only slight concern with Smartsheet is that there is no app - I would love to put the planning into the hands of my team via ipad/iphone etc.. so am tinkering with Teambox at the mo


Posted Tuesday, March 27, 2012 at 1:47 PM  

I've used Basecamp project management software in the past, but I've just recently become the eLearning manager and developer for our company and haven't set up the processes in that system, yet.  It's a really user friendly interface and is easy to include content developers, SMEs and other involved parties as they need to be included in the project.  You can check them out at http://basecamp.com


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