8 Replies
Tim Slade

Hi Amanda,

I think we've all been there with tight deadlines....in fact I'm working on a project like that right now. My two tips would be (1) prioritize/sacrifice, and (2) put some of the work back on your SME/business partner.

For the first tip, you need to prioritize what must be included, and then figure out where you can sacrifice. As you mentioned, you're already looking to sacrifice a full ADDIE process. But, this also means that maybe you can't spend too much time on developing really polished graphics or interactions, etc. Perhaps the content won’t be as fine-tuned OR maybe you won't conduct as many review cycles.

Secondly, you need to establish some very specific goals with your business partner. For example, if they MUST have the project completed by a set date, let them know how important it is for them to meet their deadlines (reviews, edits, etc.). Also, you need to be very clear about what you're sacrificing from the project given the time constraint. Perhaps you can convince them to take on some of the work…maybe they can help draft some of the audio narration, etc.

I hope this helps! Good luck!


Cary Glenn

It matters how you look at ADDIE. I view ADDIE as a project management tool. So it is tough to get away from. Some steps can be shortened or sped-up. It really depends on the course, the client, and what can be reused from previous courses.

Analysis - The client has already told you they need a course. You do have find out what the course is and gather all relevant infomation. Get as much information from SME's as possible.

Design - Here you need to get learning objectives and tests questions sorted out. Here we also rough out the sequence and chunk the course, and design learning activities. Here is where I get out my white board and sticky notes and start trying to figure out how are we going to get this done.

Development -  Now we are putting those ideas onto the screen. We can save time by having templates and knowledge of the program you using. Get images from the client, if possible. I find getting the right image on of the longest parts of this step. If we are working to tight timelines I'll probably avoid complex scenarios or game-based learning and go for a more linear flow or simple scenarios.

Implementation - This is when it gets on to the clients LMS and is out in wild with the learners. My biggest concern here is the course going to play nicely with the LMS.

Evalution - This happens at all steps. As Tim said, having the clients meet the deadlines is a crucial step. I have clients review the course at each step and I explain it that the building a course is like pouring a sidewalk. If you tell me at the beginning that we need to also talk about XYZ then I can get it in to the course (I just have to move the sidewalk forms); if you tell me we need XYZ after I've recorded narration and then I have to get out a jackhammer and start somewhere near the beginning again. Getting the clients to respond quickly is crucial and they have to understand and agree to following up quickly.

Having a team (or friends) that you can call on in a pinch to cover skills that you may not have is very helpful also,

Sometimes you may have to explain that their timelines are not appropriate. Their poor planning is not my emergency.

Daniel Brigham

Hi, Amanda:

First, I would ask why is someone (potentially) putting a timeline in front of effectiveness/impact? Timelines are often arbitrary, created by those who don't really understand the process of creating effective training.

But...I'm a realist, too. If someone said to me, "What could you do, given a few weeks?" and I'd first start asking about performance problems and the impact those problems are having. If you can address just one performance problem, that's a pretty good start.


3 words: Successive Approximation Model (SAM)

Successive approximation is a term adapted for use in an instructional design context by Michael Allen. The idea of successive approximation is to design and develop elearning materials through the use of [[rapid prototyping]], each working prototype being a little closer to the desired end result.

The gospel of successive approximation:

  • No elearning application is perfect.
  • Functional prototypes are better than storyboards and design specs.
  • Quick and dirty is beautiful.

Michael Allen's Guide to e-Learning, Wiley (2003)

In other words, start with a quick proto-type of what you think they want and adjust the deliverable based on several feedback/brainstorming sessions to get you to the final delivery.