Development Phase Of ADDIE
The development phase depends largely upon the design phase. Instructional designers understand that without a good design plan, building a course can lead to many frustrating moments and long hours of unnecessary research. With that said, let's explore some of the things that instructional designers need to know about developing course materials.
Tools of the trade
Instructional designers must know the tools used to create materials within the development phase. Appropriate skills and talents are required to build elearning courses or classroom training. Many large organizations are structured with a development team who specializes in just building course material. These organizations focus on hiring individuals who have the skills to work with specific software to create elearning courses. These individuals collaborate with the instructional designer during the design phase to help or enhance the creative process in producing fun and engaging courses. Knowing the capabilities of the tools will improve the quality of the course and increase the learning potential of participants.
Small organizations will require instructional designers to not only design a course but to also build the course. With the economy struggling, you will find more and more companies looking for individuals who can do both instructional design and develop training materials. It is therefore critical that instructional designers take the time to learn the tools of the trade in order to have a long and fulfilling career in the instructional design field. Whether you spend your career in the development phase or in the design phase, you will improve your abilities to be a successful instructional designer by knowing these tools.
The tools used in the development phase vary and may require specific training to learn how to use them. Below is a generic list of tools used in the development phase. Please be aware that this list is not all inclusive as many companies gravitate to specific tools for their business, audience, and capabilities.
- Elearning Tools (i.e., Dreamweaver, Flash, Soundbooth, Media software, etc.)
- Classroom Tools (i.e., Word, Framemaker, InDesign, Desktop Publishing software, etc.)
- Graphic Tools (i.e., Photoshop, Fireworks, Paint, etc.)
- Server Tools (i.e., Flash Media Server, database applications, etc.)
Testing is absolutely critical in the development phase. Many design plans look great on paper but when those plans meet reality, potential issues begin to appear. These issues may be a result of the technology, environment, audience, timelines, procedures, or other constraints over looked in the design phase. For example, a fun and engaging exercise for an elearning course may sound great on paper but you may not have the skill set to create the exercise or your environment may not support the type of media used to implement the exercise. Discovering these issues can only be identified through testing. Below are some tips to help you test your ideas or concepts.
- Test early and often: Do not wait until you have something completely built before you test it. Spending hours on something and then having it fail during testing is very frustrating and time consuming. You should always test as soon as possible to protect your time and energy.
- Test your materials using realistic situations. For elearning, use the same delivery method and servers for testing to ensure that your concepts are successful from the end-user perspective. For classroom, present your concepts to a sample of your audience to ensure that your ideas will achieve your objectives.
- Pilot Tests: Piloting your materials or course to a sample of your audience can help you achieve success in meeting your objectives. Pilots refer to launching your finished course to a small group to ensure the that intended results are achieve. Pilots also help you to discover potential issues overlooked during the development of the course. Pilots are also a great way to confirm that your design and development of the course meets that objectives discovered during the analysis phase.
Editing is a critical factor in the development phase. Many participants are sensitive to things such as misspelled words, incomplete sentences, and even inappropriate images. These items can be a distracter in the learning process and can impact the integrity of your course. It is important that you take the time to review all materials to ensure that the completed product is free of these distracters. Below are some things to consider in the editing process:
- Editing for Misspellings: A good way to catch misspellings is to read backwards. This helps you to focus more on the words rather on the ideas presented.
- Usability Editing: This is mainly used for elearning. Click on every possible link within the course to ensure that all links work. Broken links are very distracting and frustrate the learner.
- Editing Content: Instructional designers usually spend the majority of their time ensuring that the content meets the course objectives. Working with a subject matter expert (SME) can do wonders to your content. You should always attempt to present ideas and concepts that accurately meet the expectations of the client. Also, verifying that the course content is represented in the assessments, tests, or other exercises is extremely important. While it is preferred that you create your assessments or test first before you build a course, many instructional designers do this after they create a course. Creating the assessments before bulding a course can help the developer focus on relevant content that the learner will be tested on upon completing the course.
- Editing Visuals: Images are eye catchers. They represent the "first impressions" of your learner. When images are poorly constructed or lack the appeal factor, your learner will begin to put those invisible walls up that can choke the learning process. Good looking images, clean from pixelation and distortion, can draw the learner into the page and motivate the learner to find out more about your topic(s). There are many ticks that you can learn to create clean images. Just remember, good, clean images can greatly impact the success of your course.
While there are many more things to discuss about the development phase, the items discussed in this article are some of the most important concepts to know when developing a course. The main point is to know the tools you will be using to create your course. Take the time to test your concepts and ideas. Finally, remember to take the time to edit everything that you developed to ensure that the look and feel and the contents meet the objectives and expectations discovered in the anlysis phase.