I’ve written before that I don’t think the ADDIE model is dead, but I do believe it needs to be implemented more flexibly. The scope of that flexibility is going to be pushed to the edge as we move into different kinds of solutions. That is becoming more real to me based on a few recent events and ruminations…
At the E-Learning Guild Summer Seminar Series, Jeff Johannigman and Clark Quinn shared their experiences and thoughts on how to build games. I especially liked Jeff’s model which described the four steps of game creation as Analysis, Design, Implementation, and “Playtest and Balance.” According to Jeff and the game designers he consulted, the analysis phase is about defining the performance issues that are being targeted by the game, then exploring in detail the goals, possible actions, decision points, variables, resources, and possible situations that should be incorporated into game. You’re uncovering not only the goal of the learning you hope to achieve with the game, but details that will help you to design the game. At the design phase, you work out the setting, the interface, the player’s role, specific goals and subgoals, possible actions and consequences, and other details. Both phases require the active involvement of the artists and game developers – this isn’t something that a designer designs and then hands off for development. And then a miracle happens… The implementation phase includes all the development actions required to create a playable game – although not necessarily all programmed and pretty, mind you. The “playtest and balance” phase is when you test out all of your ideas and see how the game works. It involves your SMEs, target players, and malicious players (who can try to break it so you know what will happen). In this phase, your constantly iterating and tuning your game until it feels like it achieves the learning goals, appropriately challenging players with realistic decisions and realistic consequences, while still providing an element of fun.
That vision of game design concurs with one offered by Kurt Squire in a recent edition of Performance Improvement Quarterly. Dr. Squire did a qualitative study of the design of game-based learning and concluded that the process required providing a holistic model for clients (and setting their expectations), conducting iterative design, obtaining early user feedback, recognizing the increased importance of the artists and visual designers, and creating interdisciplinary design teams. Another echo regarding another way to think about design can be found in the Harvard Business Review article about managing creativity at Pixar, especially related to forming tight design teams jointly accountable for the outcome.
Michael Allen has already offered an iterative design and development model called “Successive Approximation” for e-learning products. And while I haven’t looked into it, I imagine the process of creating other web 2.0+ tools for learning are also quirky and iterative – but rapid as well.
I see the same thinking at work from our IT colleagues. Our organization has been implementing a similar iterative design and development model for IT projects – you may have heard about the Agile methodology that is strongly endorsed in the software development field. This methodology also lays out a plan for the entire stakeholder and technical team working together to define requirements, design, develop, and implement small pieces of a large project rather than launching a months-long process conducted entirely in the back rooms before anyone sees results.
Maybe you see where I’m going here. Adding that all up means…
As we continue to morph and flex the ADDIE model, we need to think about iterative design and development and creating teams of people to complete projects (rather than creating teams of people responsible for one function). It isn’t just about creatively implementing a design and development model to generate different kinds of solutions. It’s about a different kind of working relationship between and among designers, developers, artists, programmers, media specialists and – yes! – even clients – to pool creative energies and decision making. Now that’s turning ADDIE on its ear a bit. Those of you who are Jack-and-Jills-of-all-trades may not understand why that’s such a big deal, but those who work in organizations with functional specialties will see how revolutionary that is. That’s the real change we need to make in our overall process for creating learning. Now all I have to do is figure out what that really means. Mmm…
I wonder if you’re seeing some of these same changes… does your experience lead you to similar conclusions?
Jeff Johannigamn and Clark Quinn (2008). Immersive Learning Simulations. E-Learning Guild Summer Seminar Series presentation notes.
Kurt D. Squire (2008). Video Game-Based Learning: An Emerging Paradigm for Instruction. Performance Improvement Quarterly 21(2).
Michael Allen (2006). Creating Successful E-Learning. Pfeiffer