If you’re like me, you’re constantly looking for ways to hone your design skills and improve your development process. Whether your goal is creating a better course for your learners, or saving a client money on development time, constantly improving is key to success. But it’s not just about creating a better learner or client experience—it’s also about optimizing your course creation process. Sometimes you find yourself up against a deadline, trying to get your course out the door on time without sacrificing the quality.

I get it. I’ve been there. Which is how I discovered these time-saving tips that helped me streamline my instructional design process. Want to learn more? Keep reading!   

1. Use a Project Management App

Project management apps are one of the most useful and multifaceted tools available to course authors. You can use them for the obvious—planning and tracking projects—but they also have a whole host of functions outside of this. Let’s take a look at some of the most useful ones.

  • Build a project plan collaboratively. Get on track faster by letting everyone add important information and dates.
  • Share your project plan with your stakeholders. Instead of writing a lengthy document outlining all the project details, add that information here so everyone can easily reference it as needed. 
  • Enable notifications. Many project management apps integrate with calendars or send notifications, making it easier to keep track of your deadlines. 

2. Take a More Agile Approach

Many instructional designers use the ADDIE model to develop their courses. And while the ADDIE model works well for some projects, in the modern world of constant change and evolution, it can leave you woefully behind schedule. And that’s when an agile approach—like SAM—can be really helpful. Here are some of the reasons I recommend switching to a more agile course creation process.

  • Catch mistakes early with ongoing reviews. Letting your stakeholders review as you go and updating courses on the fly makes for fewer and easier edits. For guidance on establishing a review process, take a look at this article: 5 Steps to an Easier E-Learning Course Review Process.
  • Collaborate with others and track resources. Constantly touch base and stay in contact with your coworkers using the iterative and continuous design phases. This keeps the project moving forward and on track.

3. Optimize the Design Process

Once you’ve nailed down your project planning and review process, it’s time to start thinking about design and development. The way your course looks can have a big impact on the learning experience, so it’s important to design thoughtfully. But when you’re on a deadline, you can’t spend hours researching design ideas. Here are some tips for saving time without sacrificing aesthetics. 

  • Use Content Library 360. If you’re an Articulate 360 subscriber, you have access to Content Library 360—a library with millions of royalty-free course assets—directly from within our apps. It’s a huge time-saver when it comes to finding the graphics for your course! 
  • Keep an eye out for inspiration and save it. Nothing is more helpful when you’re stuck designing than having a place to go for inspiration. For more ideas on getting inspired, check out this article: 8 Ways to Get Design Ideas When You Feel Stuck
  • Keep design elements in one place. Use a cloud-based service to host your design assets. This keeps you organized and lets others access and contribute to design elements.


With these three tips, you’ll be well on your way to building courses faster and better. But don’t stop there! Keep your eyes out for other ways to streamline your instructional design process as you work, so you’re always making incremental progress. 

If you’re looking for more project management tips, check out the links below. 

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