A few years ago, a coworker got us all reading this book – Michael Allen’s Guide to e-Learning. Does anyone remember Authorware? Michael Allen was the creator of this flowchart-based authoring tool still (but not for much longer) available from Adobe. These days, in addition to writing, consulting and speaking on e-learning, Dr. Allen runs a company called Allen Interactions Inc. which is one of the leading providers of custom e-learning solutions for workforce training and performance improvement. The company is especially known for designing highly effective simulations and games. Even programs that could not really be defined as games, feel game-like in that they are fun, interactive and engaging.
According to his book, a key strategy used by Allen Interactions is the use of design teams that include the instructional designer, SME and/or client, artist and programmer. Instead of having an instructional designer conduct analysis, then work in a vacuum to create design specs for artists and programmers to follow, the process is collaborative from start to finish. The team uses a process called “successive approximation” which is a micro-cycled version of ADDIE. Beginning with a very rough prototype, the team creates several iterations of the program – allowing the design to unfold and improve with each version. All members of the design team need to be intimately involved throughout the entire life of the project for this to work.
I’ve found at my workplace, it is very difficult to work in this way (although we’ve tried). I think this is due to the fact that we have several Instructional Designers and only a few multimedia team members, who are simply spread to thin to be truly involved in the design process. I’m excited to have the opportunity to work in this way on our projects for this class, and am interested to hear if others have experienced this type of process on the job.