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

Mar 22, 2012

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):

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...

35 Replies
Nicole  Rivera

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

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...

Eric Nalian

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Excel is outdated, it is just quick and easy.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

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....

Ant Pugh

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

Steve Flowers

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.

Steve Flowers

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.

Minh-Triet Nguyen

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," ( 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. 

Ant Pugh

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?! 

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