Training and Academic Course Development

No matter the type of course, there are principles of development essential to all effective curriculum.

See our blog post for more on why we believe that cognitive, affective, and proficiency need to be taken into consideration.

Essential Constructs for Developing Courses

Contact us for strategies on making your curriculum robust, simple, and effective!

Our Process

The system created for curriculum development based on agile methodology involves four 2-week sprints. This allows for providing just the information that the writer needed instead of all of the information for the whole project at once, which is overload. These short iterative and intentional steps, or sprints, allow the designer to be much more interactive with the writer or content expert for feedback. This means that adjustments are only minor instead of the course overhaul that is necessary if the writer misunderstood completely but finishes it before any review takes place.

Blog Series on Model

Tutorial for Using this Model

The following phases were created for incremental development that ensure delivery will be close to the mark with much smaller adjustments, allowing for immediate feedback at every stage.

Deliverable by you…

This involves the determination of outcomes and ensuring that there is a balance of both cognitive and emotional learning to be recognized by the learner. As each sprint means that there is a deliverable course, based loosely on the concept of a prototyping seen in software, this Framework would allow an experienced instructor to facilitate the course based on the available structure. Examples of resources as well as a project example is provided within this sprint as a transition into the next sprint.

Active Learning Flow
Deliverable by experts….

This determines the active learning processes that are to be selected to fulfill the already determined outcomes. It confirms the relevance to the learner and the activity is selected to motivate their interest in completing the activity and experience the actual learning. Also diversity of the learning experience is ensured. The end of this sprint produces a course with a strong framework and specific activities in order for the facilitator to guide learners.

Educational Technology Features
Delivery very easy … options are abundant!

This determines what constructs are necessary to aid the instructor in guiding learners, such as games, simulations, and interactive objects, while also providing additional useful resources for students, such as synchronous video/audio communication options and videos. The completion of this sprint provides the instructor all the tools needed in order facilitate effectively.

Delivery is scalable and repeatable…

The delivery phase is to provide all of the resources in a method that allows the modern and distracted adult learner to quickly and easily connect to the necessary components to experience the learning. Also, the delivery focuses on a systemic solution that allows for fast feedback loops and improvements based on that feedback. The completion of this sprint provides the instructor the necessary slack time to facilitate with full focus on the learning experience for the learners rather than being a logistical coordinator for technology or a course writer as it is offered.

The Value of the Agile ISD
While there are good assessment models available, there are not many models that are strictly for the instructional design process. There are two often used; ADDIE and Rapid Prototyping (RP). Our Agile ISD is a mix of Scrum, an Agile methodology built for software, and RP. However, ADDIE, comparable to the business world’s waterfall method, is simply no longer viable in this fast paced deliverable demanding society.

As we can see clicking on this ADDIE model, there are some major detractors from using it with two major reasons truly sourcing my discarding of it.

  1. Nothing gets delivered or is usable until the end.
  2. The prescriptive nature locks the writer in a forward motion only, creating natural waste and risks complete failure.

While the expertise and experience of the instructor would have to be greater in ratio to fewer sprints being completed in the Agile ISD, the most basic framework created in the first iteration is enough to offer the course if absolutely necessary. The staged approach also allows immediate transference to a different writer or expert if necessary. While uncommon, a writer backing out of a contract can have disastrous effects on just-in-time curriculum, often with the designer ghost writing the course despite lack of expertise in the field. It can be re-written later, but the learners that suffered the effects of that course do not deserve a meager offering; also, it puts tremendous pressure on the instructor. The clarity of the sprints allows a writer or expert entering the process in any location other than the beginning to immediately understand the original writer’s intent and progress for a smooth transition. Even a change in the course’s approach allows adjustments to remain minor instead of requiring a complete and time consuming overhaul.

The courses being prepared and ready only weeks before the first offering in a short burst helps ensure that the course is relevant and current. The fast feedback loops ensures that the course will remain relevant. Also, by waiting until closer to the first offering, any last minute holistic changes to the course can be easily adapted.

It is tempting to start the entire sequence of curriculum for the concentration to be developed at once and have it prepared before the degree is offered. However, as the evaluation team reviews feedback from learners and observes the implementation, adjustments to the general approach of the university concentration or organizational curriculum can be adjusted in minor ways that using traditional methods would have been extremely time costly. Also, a lean approach allows a much faster time to market with the development of several concentrations starting at once, as well as excellent responsiveness — the speed at which a development system reacts to change.

These resources directly influenced the model created above.

Kanban David Anderson

Personal Kanban Jim Benson & Tonianne DeMaria Barry

Six Pages about Scrum Michael James

The Principles of Product Development Flow Donald Reinertsen

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Agile Curriculum Design by Adaptive Learning is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported License.
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About Marian

My passion is centered around ensuring effective learning experiences that improve people's lives. Developing a learning mindset is my ultimate goal whether working with academic programs or corporate training; formal or informal learning practices. It is my belief that our potential for agility is limited only by our capacity for learning.