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eLearning Open Mic- Being Flexible With ADDIE and Agile Development

They say there’s a time and a place for most things, and we’re inclined to think the same about ADDIE and Agile in Learning and Development. Today we had an eLearning Open Mic to talk about how eLearning professionals today are utilizing ADDIE (Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement, Evaluate) and Agile.

A big topic today was: Is ADDIE going the way of the dinosaur?

We asked attendees if they were still using ADDIE, if they were moving more towards an agile model, or if they were using a combination of the two?

Most of the attendees said they are still using ADDIE, but many chimed in and said they are needing to be Agile more and more. 

“Good design has always incorporated snippets of Agile.”

-Pam M.

“Yes, using ADDIE but incorporating more aspects of Agile.”

-Brigid M.

Several attendees felt like the Agile model is kind of a bunch of mini rounds of ADDIE:

“I use storyboarding; however, I think we naturally have to do a “micro” ADDIE process within each iterative phase of any design because you are always analyzing and designing…then go on to the rest of the ADDIE model.”

-Jane C.

“I feel like the Agile model really is just using ADDIE in smaller bite-sized segments. You are using ADDIE for your Storyboard…you just get to the E faster. Providing the customer with smaller viable products faster.”

-Lywanda Held

One of our awesome instructional designers, Jenn Fairbanks, participated in today’s eLearning Open Mic as well. She shared that as a trained instructional designer, she was “brought up” with the ADDIE model. However, she’s started to incorporate some Agile principles in order to get to development sooner.

For example, the team at eLearning Brothers often creates visual storyboards—almost like a non-functioning prototype that we send to clients. Within that we include all the notes about the audio and interactivity that will be put into the final course. We do that instead of a 3 column approach because it is easier to find out what clients like/don’t like and make changes faster. It saves a lot of time and effort for our developers if we know sooner that the interaction we thought would be really cool didn’t end up functioning as expected when it was put into the storyboard.

Another topic was whether or not the industry you are developing learning for dictates your choice of ADDIE instead of Agile or vice versa.

For example, it was asked if companies in the technology or software world prefer to see Agile development used for eLearning development too because that’s how software development tends to be and they’re familiar with it?

“I think it depends on the client—and the project. I’ve definitely had that happen with more regulated companies such as insurance or government programs. I tend to use a blend of Agile and ADDIE and it flexes depending on the involvement of the stakeholders.”

-Kathy M.

Some attendees were looking for suggestions on compromising between stakeholders or developers who are staunchly one method versus the other. If you have suggestions, share them in the comments!

“As the process of designing eLearning is becoming more prone to multiple iterations, we are straying away from ADDIE and becoming more Agile however we are constantly challenged to bring those favoring ADDIE and those favoring AGILE to meet halfway. Any recommendations from anyone here on how to deal with that? It is something getting to the point of a collision of two camps.”

-Henok H.

Everyone agreed that the relationship with stakeholders is critical.

“On that—I think you have to bring that conversation to the table in the beginning and make sure that there is a solid plan before the project starts rolling. Ask: ‘How much do you want to be involved? What is your typical process?’ Don’t be afraid to set expectations and ask questions—don’t assume! (I learned that one the hard way years ago…:) )”

-Kathy M.

“We make that involvement – client commitment part of our design plan that they sign off on.”

-Pam M.

What do you think about ADDIE and Agile? Continue the conversation in the comments below.

eLearning Open Mic is a regular series covering a wide range of eLearning industry topics, tools, and techniques. It’s a fun chance for us eLearning nerds to get together and geek out over what we’re passionate about—as panelists, as attendees, whatever you want.

If you enjoyed this eLearning Open Mic conversation, you might also enjoy our weekly webinars. Check out recordings of past webinars, or register for an upcoming one below.


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