Part 4: Implementation

After analysis is complete and you have designed and developed your training or professional development you are finally ready to enter the implementation phase. Don’t be fooled this does not mean you pass off the project and kick back. There is a great deal for the instructional designer (I.D.) to do during the implementation phase. This phase should include pilot testing your training or professional development. Piloting includes collecting insight from others besides the instructional designer and modifying the training based on their feedback as necessary (Springer, 2014). The instructional designer should be sure to communicate with all the stakeholders during this (and every) phase. This may include administrators, managers, facilitators and learners. The I.D. will need to tailor the content of the communication to each stakeholder.

Training of instructors is part of the implementation phase (Gardner, 2011). Materials are shared with instructors with adequate time for them to prepare for their session(s). Instructors will need to understand all the details of the training or professional development including, but not limited to, objectives, activities, media and assessments.

Learners must also be prepared for the training or professional development (Gardner, 2011). Learners must know when and where the training will occur and what materials to bring. If there are any prerequisites (previous courses, experiences, readings, etc), learners should be informed and given time (when applicable) to accomplish these tasks beforehand.

Finally, the learning environment must be prepared (Gardner, 2011). This may be a physical environment where desks, chairs, papers, markers, etc. will need to be prepared, a virtual environment where digital connections (both audio and visual) will need to be tested, or some combination or physical and digital environments.

photo-1459749411175-04bf5292ceeaThe implementation phase is like the final week of rehearsal before a stage production. Adjustments are made so the event, in its final form, will no longer need the aid of an instructional designer who may already starting a new ADDIE cycle. At some point (or points), the project should be evaluated for its effectiveness in achieving the stated objectives and goals.   Therefore, the ID should neither “wash her hands” of the training/development nor be intensely involved by the end of the implementation phase, as the instruction moves from piloting to operational.

In teaching, developing lessons and piloting them is an ongoing occurrence. However, in instructional design, this process is somewhat different because the learners are unknown (as compared to students that I get to know well over the course of a semester) and the learning space is not necessarily my own. When implementing for another instructor, communication about content, learners and logistics is paramount. It is essential to ensure the lesson’s success..

This is my final installment. Thank you for reading!

Getting to Know ADDIE: Part 4-Implementation

The Implementation Phase of ADDIE

The ADDIE Model: Instructional Design


Gardner, J. C. (2011, October 8). The ADDIE implementation phase. Retrieved April 18, 2016, from

Springer, B. (2014, April 20) ADDIE: Implementation. Retrieved April 19, 2016, from

Part 3: Developing Your Design

In the development phase of instructional design your project actually begins to take shape. No longer are you simply thinking about what should be done but are actually creating instructional materials…presentations, handouts, assessments, etc. that will be used during professional development or training. Effective instruction is both accessible and supportive of the overall design plan (Larson, 2014).

Effective instruction is accessible “technically, physically, and cognitively” (Larson, 2014, p. 208). Technical and physical accessibility may include considerations such as how learners will travel to a face-to-face training, internet speed available for a webinar, and limitations of learners such as physical disabilities, colorblindness, hearing impairments, etc.pexels-photo-59628

Instruction that effectively addresses cognitive accessibility will use principles of organization and repetition (Larson, 2014). Carefully considering where learners are, cognitively speaking, before training begins is essential to organizing instruction and providing the necessary scaffolding. Instruction must follow a pattern that is in line with the objectives. Organizational charts or concept maps (presented to or developed by learners as a part of instruction) will help learners make cognitive sense of information, ideas, or concepts in relation to one another and in relation to previous knowledge and understanding. Repetition is provided by repeating important “take home messages” and  can be accomplished subtly using different media: text, auditory, visual or a combination (Larson, 2014).

pencil-typography-black-designVisual design of learning materials is very important. Poor design can cause learners to feel overwhelmed, confused, frustrated or angry which will quickly derail training or development. Visual design includes choices about the learner’s visual field that pertain to cognitive load. “To address the needs of (field dependent) learners, the visual field must contain only pertinent information arranged in a way that makes communication meaningful” (Larson, 2014, p. 213). Adhering to some basic principles of graphic design can help to create such visuals. The acronym C.A.R.P. is useful when creating visual aspects of instruction. C stands for contrast, A for alignment, R for repetition, and P for proximity. A short lesson in the use of these basic principles will make good design look and feel exceptional.   Just as when meeting new people, first impressions last. Making a good visual first impression will ensure that learners are as open to your message as possible.

3 Graphic Design Principles for Instructional Design Success

The Ultimate Guide to Font Pairing


Larson, M.B. (2014). Streamlined ID: A practical guide to instructional design. New Your: Routledge.

Part 2: Design Does Matter

In what environment do you work best? Do you need clean surfaces and good lighting, like me? Do you need silence or do you prefer to work in a crowed café with background noise? Messy work spaceDesk- organizedIf our real world environment impacts our learning, it follows the same would be true on-line.  Whether learning is on-line or face-to-face, media that are cluttered or overloaded with color and irrelevant images can impede the learning process.

Streamlining content, using appropriate backgrounds and font choices, and choosing images that are relevant and professional can make lessons memorable (Nokes,, 2010). Images, including diagrams, are an effective way for learners to understand and recall information. Effective visualizations…”(improve) comprehension, memory, and inference” (Agrawala, et. al, 2011, p.60). Learners (whether formal or informal) are often overwhelmed with information. Well-designed sketches, diagrams, animations, etc. can greatly enhance the effectiveness of training.

With a background in science and education, design elements, such as media selection, can sometimes feel wholly outside my area of expertise. However, an experienced teacher can be invaluable in the process of selecting appropriate images as they may “…be best able to identify images that might be misinterpreted or unfamiliar to the learner group” (Ley, et. al., 2014, p.29). Although research by Ley and Gannon-Cook found that collaboration between designer-researchers did not ensure appropriate graphic selection (2014), it stands to reason that a healthy collaboration among people with different areas of expertise would likely result in appropriate graphics selection more often than with content experts alone. I am interested in learning more about graphic design and believe knowledge of this discipline will help me select images that truly help learners understand and recall content.

When design is begun after a complete analysis of needs, learners, environment and situation along with a task analysis, the design choices will be much easier to make. These decisions should be made with the target learners in mind. Any photographs used should increase learner engagement and interest. This can be accomplished, in part, by making sure people in photographs reflect the learners, in my case, K-12 educators (Nokes, et. al., 2010). A complete analysis is necessary because design choices made must be supported by available technology in order to avoid disengaging and/or frustrating technical difficulties. ADDIE_Model_of_DesignThe analysis and design phases (the A and first D in ADDIE) are important first steps in designing instruction. Instructional design is an iterative process, however, requiring us to revisit of each step of the ADDIE process often. I will continue to refer to my analysis as I design a professional development for  the proficiency-based grading.


Agrawala, M., Li, W., & Berthouzoz, F. (2011). Design principles for visual communication. Communications of the ACM, 54(4), 60-69.

Ley, K., & Gannon-Cook, R. (2014). Vital signs for instructional design. The Quarterly Review of Distance Education, 15(2), 21-34.

Nokes, J., & Sappington, E. (2010). At first sight: Improving your training with good visual design. American Society for Training & Development, 64(8), 31-33. Retrieved March 22, 2016.

Part 1: Instructional Design Models and Processes (a 4 part series)

In this four-part series, I will be discussing various instructional design models and processes.  Each of the four posts will cover a different topic relating to instructional design and posted within the next eight weeks.

In these eight weeks I hope to learn more about design models, choosing the best model for each learning environment (on-line, face-to-face, blended, etc.) and applying instructional design models. I hope to apply one model to the design of instruction for my colleagues regarding the theory and implementation of proficiency based grading. This is a topic that I will likely be asked to provide professional development on during the next school year so it will be motivating for me to spend time thinking about a project that will likely be put into action.

Project Management: Knowledge First, Experience Required

Project management requires skills that are somewhat outside the scope of those needed for someone hired specifically for instructional design.  Although both work within certain constraints of time, budget and scope/quality, the project manager is involved with these on a larger scale.  For this reason, project managers must possess the ability to budget, manage a team, schedule activities, communicate, manage risks, manage project scope and resources, promote collaboration and analyze the project environment (van Rooij, 2011, p. 152).  Instructional designers, however, are often given some or all of the responsibilities of a project manager so it important that they have some understanding of what they are likely to encounter on the job.  Even if they are never asked to manage a project, they will be a part of a project team, making an understanding of their project manager’s responsibilities important for good working relationships.

There are many technical aspects of project management: project charters, scope statements, work breakdown structures, task analysis, stakeholder analysis, communications plans, risk analysis, and on and on…

Determining which of these aspects to incorporate into a project will depend on the size of the project, the size of the organization and/or project team, the scope of the project, etcetera.  However, it is the implementation of all this planning that is the difference between effective and ineffective project management.  Project managers must behave as leaders in order to be successful.  Although I am now familiar with these terms, I think that experience and mentoring would be the most logical and effective next step.  Having familiarity with the process of project management would definitely be helpful if I were to become a project manager and will help me relate to project managers as a member of a project team.

15 Project Management Quotes to Live By (Infographic)


van Rooij, S. W. (2011). Instructional design and project management: Complementary or divergent?. Education Tech Research Dev, 59, 139-158.  doi: 10.1007/s11423-010-9176-z

Project Planning and Communication Planning

Teachers are accustomed to planning and know that careful planning is often crucial to the success of a lesson.   Although planning is no guarantee that everything will go as expected, it increases the likelihood of handling the unexpected gracefully.  This is true for project planning as well.  Projects by their very nature are not likely to be unidirectional.  Work breakdown structures help make sure that team members are aware of tasks for which they are responsible as well as which member to address for information about each aspect of the project.   Even the most carefully structured team will have differences in work style, deadlines that are not met, stakeholders with varying expectations and a variety of other issues that threaten to derail a project.  The trick is to anticipate these changes with careful planning and enough flexibility to alter plans when necessary in order to ultimately achieve success.

A clearly designed scope statement, like essential understandings and objectives of a lesson, help a project manager and its team members to remain focused on the main goal of a project.  This scope statement should be at the forefront of the project manager’s mind as plans (and alterations to plans) are made keeping a project from going off the rails.

Including communication in this project plan is crucial.  Stakeholders and team members must be kept apprise of various milestones to ensure that time is used efficiently and a project remains on budget.  Robust communication enables stakeholders and/or clients to share their thoughts about a project’s progress and to tackle problems while they are more easily addressed, saving time and money.

Project Management for Instructional Designers

Project Management for Instructional Designers: A Pocket Guide for Project Management

Project Management- Skills for Many Disciplines

Like teachers, instructional designers do more than design instruction.  Just as it is helpful for teachers to have knowledge about other fields including technology, psychology, communications, statistics, etc, it is important for teachers and instructional designers to have knowledge of project management.  While this is not likely the main focus of the job, instructional designers likely spend a portion of their time on tasks that would fall into project management (Rooij, 2010).  Even if an instructional designer is not expected to perform project management duties, knowledge of the project management process is helpful for communication with team members. This knowledge can help enhance conversations with teams and stakeholders, allows instructional designers to see were instruction fits into the larger organization or institution, and allow an ID professional to shift perspectives between that of a project manager and instructional designer (Turner, et. al., 2010, p.5).

Project managers and instructional designers must both complete task analysis.  While this is a more focused process for instructional designers who are looking at the needs of the learners, in both cases, gaps must be determined in order to determine focus and scope.  These, in turn, make the process of task differentiation and sequencing easier.   Once gaps between actual and expected knowledge and skills have been established, primary tasks to fills these gaps can be defined.  Task differentiation and sequencing makes training repeatable and can increase buy-in from learners.  If training is disorganized, learners may become frustrated and are less likely to change their attitudes, beliefs or behaviors. Offering a clear step-by-step plan is more likely to result in lasting change (Freifield, n.d.).

When using project-based learning in the classroom, a stronger understanding of project management will allow me to better define primary tasks and help my students to stay focused by including specific deadlines.  Task differentiation and sequencing would help to manage the chaos that is inherent in project-based learning.

I think that more specific task differentiation and sequencing would have been helpful when I lead a professional development session last winter on learning objects.  Although I had a firm grasp of the content I was presenting, I found that I had not thought enough about the sequencing of learning ahead of time and therefore needed to jump around a bit more than I would have liked.  Had I thought about each primary task as independent, I may have been able to present in a more organized fashion and may have had a more satisfying outcome.

Too narrow a focus in any field is not beneficial.  Just as doctor training in the past did not include how to relate to patients and how to communicate the cost of treatment to patients, so too must instructional designers broaden their scope of knowledge.  This openness to different perspectives is what has long made a liberal arts education so valuable.  Learning should be life-long and broad in order to make each professional the best they can be.



Freifield, L. (n.d.).  Fostering behavior change: What are the best practices for creating and delivering training that results in lasting skill and knowledge uptake and permanent behavior change?  Retrieved September 11, 2015, from

Turner, B. and Croy, M. (2010). Waltzing with Da Vinci: The role of design thinking in project leadership. Project Management Institute.  Retrieved from

van Rooij, S.W. (2010).  Project management in instructional design: ADDIE is not enough.  British Journal of Educational Technology,41(5), 852-856.  doi:10.1111/j.1467-8535.2009.00982.x


Project Management- a whole new world

This week, I was introduced to project management.  My educational background is heavy with math and science with no coursework in business whatsoever.   That being said, I can say that before this week I did not know what “project mangers” (including my own brother) did for a living.  I am hopeful that by the end of this course, I will no longer have a vacant look in my eye when someone tells me his or her title is “project manager”.

I began my journey this week by learning the definition of a project.  A project is temporary; it has a beginning and an ending. (Cox, 2009, p. 6).   Projects also create a unique product or service (Cos, 2009, p.3).  In this way, I think that some things called projects in school are not truly projects.  If the product created is not unique in some way then it should not be called a project.  Cox says that a project can have a unique learning content, unique delivery of content or unique circumstances (2009, p.3).

According to Cox, the third and final component of a project is incrementally developed details and information (2009, p.3).  If you already know everything about designing and developing the project then you are clearly not creating a unique product or service and, therefore, do not have a project.   I also learned that the basic steps of instructional design (ADDIE: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation) align nicely with those of project management (1.initiating, 2.planning, 3.executing, monitoring and controlling, and 4.closing) where the “DI” in ADDIE fall under executing, monitoring and controlling (Cox, 2009, p. 11).  The steps of project management differ depending on the source.  For example, Duncan Haughey describes project management in six phases: 1. Project definition, 2. initiation, 3. planning, 4. execution, 5. monitoring & control and 6. closure (Haughey, “Introduction to Project Management”).

In reflecting on my experience with project management (as an outsider), I think that the design/planning phase is extremely important, particularly the risk-management piece of planning.  I think that when problems that should be anticipated are not adequately addressed in the design/planning phase, mediation required later can have a negative effect on the success of a project or at least the amount of time required to achieve the predetermined measure of success.

What is Project Management?

Project Management Skills Map for Educators


Cox, Dorcas. Project Management Skills for Instructional Designers: A Practical Guide. Bloomington: iUniverse, 2009.

Haughey, D. (n.d.). Introduction to Project Management.  Retrieved August 29, 2015, from

Keeping the Learning at the Center: The Role of eLearning in Secondary Education

At the center of all learning is the student.  Although eLearning is a relatively new field, it is still learning.  Therefore, aspects that have always been important in education continue to be so.  Learning, no matter where or how it occurs, must consider the mind of the learner.  Educational materials should consider cognitive load, the construction of knowledge by the learner through connecting their experiences present and past, and the role of reflection in this construction.  In order to optimize learning, educators have long used objectives to focus learners’ attention.  This continues to be the case with eLearning.  What is different about eLearning is that this learning, inside and outside the classroom, is no longer isolated to the printed word.

Things to consider when designing eLearning.

ELearning can incorporate various media to enhance, and even replace, the written word.  When designing eLearning many questions, some of which are unique to learning through technology,  need to be addressed.  Among these questions is how and where technology can be accessed and whether the use of technology is feasible and, if so, to what degree?  Instructional designers must also consider how technology can motivate students and limit or remove barriers to understanding content.   Designers must ask whether or not technology by itself is enough to allow students to reach their goals or do they need or require additional face-to-face instruction and/or collaboration?   The answer to each of these questions will help to shape the design of instruction.

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eLearning Types and Accessibility


Any application that can be accessed via the Internet for the purpose of learning may be considered eLearning (Presenting content digitally, n.d.).  These applications, which may or may not have been designed with an educational purpose, take many forms.  Videos, modules, even games, might be considered eLearning applications if they are used to support a learning objective.

ELearning can be categorized from different perspectives such as its dependence on the Internet, time synchronicity and format. ELearning can have varying dependence on the Internet.  Online-only eLearning relies entirely on communications via the Internet.  Blended learning, on the other hand, has an online component but also relies on face-to-face interactions between instructor and students and among peers.  ELearning is categorized by the timing of communications, either synchronous or asynchronous.  Synchronous eLearning occurs when content is delivered or shared at the time of learning, i.e. webinars. Asynchronous learning can occurs at different times, without the instructor being present at the time of learning, i.e. modules and videos.  Finally, eLearning is categorized according to format, either formal or informal.  An online university course is an example of formal eLearning.  Watching a YouTube car repair video is an example of informal eLearning.

The US National Research Council, organized by the National Academy of Science, recommends a classroom design that is learner centered and community centered (Huffaker, 2003).  ELearning makes classrooms more learner centered by improving teachers’ ability to monitor student progress and students’ ability to self monitor.  ELearning also helps, “…foster collaborative learning efforts that teach students the value of working together toward similar intellectual or project goals (which) occurs when students ask each other questions, help each other solve problems, and build on each other’s knowledge” (Hufaker, 2003).  Various eLearning tools such as Wikis, blogs, and discussion boards help teachers make collaboration and information sharing a more central part of students’ education.  The active engagement provided by eLearning applications, allows students to improve their metacognition, by allowing them to monitor their progress and self-assess.  Web applications are then used to ask students to reflect on their understanding in a way that is visible to their teacher and others (Hufaker, 2003).  Although studies focusing on K-12 education are few (Lips, D., 2010 and Means,, 2009), research done primarily with adult learners suggests that blended learning, especially when self assessment and reflection are incorporated, more successful than soley face-to-face instruction (Means, et. al., 2009).

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