As the second “D” in the ADDIE model, Development is all about getting down to business and using the insights collected from the earlier phases to start “developing” the course. As a quick recap and to help you understand how the Development phase is related to the previous phases of the ADDIE:
Now, moving to the Development phase, this is where you create the content and the actual course. Each element is developed in this phase according to the specifications outlined in the Design phase, including style guide, colors, fonts, graphics, etc.
As with the previous phase, creating a prototype helps in modeling what the experience will look like. This more detailed version allows you to collect feedback and approval before moving forward with a full development cycle. Guided by the prototype and storyboards, the instructional designer will begin to create every course element. This includes writing course content, designing questions, or creating multimedia.
The Development phase focuses on developing and refining each element. This means that grammar, syntax, design, and everything else - down to the last bit of every detail – will be ready for learner consumption.
It does not mean, however, that this phase isn’t subject to iteration. Remember, the whole ADDIE process is about continuous improvement. The ‘Development’ phase also includes running periodic quality assurance (QA) testing to make sure development meets the design specification and that a quality course is being developed.
The Development phase can be divided into four main components:
A prototype is used to solidify the vision and concept for the course. It is especially helpful for demonstrating the course to clients and internal stakeholders, such as decision-makers and approvers. As such, a prototype does not need to be detailed or comprehensive. A page or two should be enough to show how the course would work and look.
An effective prototype may contain two to three pages – one filled with illustration and a few text, another with tasks and sample tests, and the last with instructions and other text-heavy content. By demonstrating various kinds of content, the prototype would show use cases to key stakeholders and decision-makers and explain what the rest of the course would look like.
To supplement the prototype, instructional designers (IDs) should also create a brief overview of the course plan. This aims to show the approver a general idea for the course, and how it would run. It could also integrate some insights from the Analysis phase and a glimpse of the education strategy from the Design stage.
This is when the rubber hits the road. As the core of the Development phase, this component is all about the course’s actual development.
To make this part as efficient as possible, the Design stage’s education strategy should feed into this component. Coupled with feedback from decision-makers on the prototype, creating the course should be an insight-based and purpose-built process leveraging information about the target audience and strategies for meeting their learning objectives.
When creating the course, keep these tips in mind:
Quality assurance is a significant part of the Development phase. As the instructional designer, put yourself in the shoes of your target audiences – facilitators and participants.
Break down the course into smaller modules and once each module is created, pass it on to a few sets of fresh eyes for QA and evaluation. Have an eagle eye on typos, grammatical and technical errors. This can be done simultaneously as next modules are created. Gather feedback for each module and update the course materials accordingly. By doing so, this module-based quality assurance will make the process much more efficient.
This is an integral part of quality assurance. Engage a small group of learners for a test run. Collect feedback from potential users and incorporate them into the course. Make a few iterations based on these pilot tests until all areas that need improvement are ironed out. Prior to finalizing the course, submit it to decision-makers for approval.
By going through each phase of the ADDIE, creating a course would be a more efficient and productive process. Carefully and thoroughly performing the Analysis and Design stages should provide rich insights and data that would make the Development phase a much easier step. The four critical components of the Development phase: Developing a prototype, Creating the course, Ensuring quality, and Performing a test run, would ensure that the course is feedback-based and centered on the target audience’s learning objectives. Following these components would also help Instructional Designers avoid a back-and-forth process, proceeding to the Implementation phase with ease.