Designing IDE Academy to make it more participatory

January 1, 2021

Participatory education: a small (but steady) step at time.

In this post, I write about a small project I developed for supporting students in taking a bit more their education in their hands. I proposed a solution utilising the ADDIE Model and  the eLeraning Rapid Prototyping.

The word 'participatory', in this post, means involving the students in understanding their own needs and propose in the form of a workshop a lesson to teach/learn for other students.

Where does this idea come from?

I have been a teaching assistant for the course IDE Academy of Industrial Design Engineering TUDelft for many years, this course provides in the form of workshop several skills and knowledge for master design students. The team and I believed to have a good grasp of what students needed, and mostly we did; however, there was one skill we did not manage to teach well enough to satisfy our students, it was: Graphic design.

After some discussion one of our coaches proposed to involve students to create their own graphic design workshop. The design of the workshop took a bit more than planned but the founders (you can see their picture with me below) created one of the strongest and high rated workshops given so far.

With the students of graphic design workshop

With this in mind, I decided to promote students' involvement by creating templates that could simplify the design phase. The focuses were: to reduce the involvement of the team and to reduce the time spent on designing and supporting the students.

The Addie model

When I think about ADDIE model, the first thing that comes up in my mind is: "OLD but GOLD".

The ADDIE model, developed by Florida State University in the 1970s, is the most well-known framework for designing instruction to improve human performance. ADDIE is an acronym representing the five key stages of the instructional design process: Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation.

It has evolved several times over the years to become iterative, dynamic, and user-friendly, and not surprisingly is still in use. As a designer, I am often using different design thinking models, and I like this method because can be as simple as the 5 stages described above and as complex and thorough as I will show below.

The ADDIE model defines 5 iterative stages:

  1. Analysis: defining user needs, stakeholders, learnings, possible Learning Management System (LMS). I like to use blueprints and customer journeys to synthesize all of the pin-points.
  2. Design: define and outline the project. I often build on the blueprint and start making small prototypes.
  3. Development: create the content and embed it in the LMS
  4. Implement: Communicate and get learners and stakeholders involved and implement the feedback gathered along with the project.
  5. Evaluation: prove and improve your work with feedback. I always look for formative feedback at each stage of the process and then create summative feedback with quantitative feedback.

Here I created an overview of the main stages, steps, and all possible conditions to take into consideration when designing a learning environment (you can look at the Invision board here):

ADDIE model in action

Despite the popularity in the field of learning and development, organizations rarely follow the ADDIE model as it was originally defined. Instead, organizations pull pieces from ADDIE and adapt them to use with other models as they see fit.

During this project, I considered the course IDE Academy as an organization that needed to reduce time and cost for allowing students to propose their own workshop. I redesigned the ADDIE Model according to the Rapid eLearning Design, which focuses on improving time efficiency by standardizing part of the procedures.

The Rapid eLearning Design and ADDIE

In the Rapid Resolution Plan, the course development is streamlined by the heavy use of templates and authoring tools that are familiar to all of the team members. Client and SME interaction and feedback are continuous from the early stages, and prototypes are developed earlier on so that feedback and changes can occur early in the course development stages. Fewer steps mean that the course can be implemented in a shorter period of time.

When facilitating the design of workshops with our coaches, I noticed that the most time-consuming part was related to the analysis phase and the design phase. Therefore, I standardized (and clarified) as much as possible the analysis (here named 'define') and the design steps. All the steps are shown on a board, the IDE Academy team moderates Master and Ph.D. students willing to become coaches for one day. The aim of this board is to increase the independence of the students (and our coaches), to reduce the time and the costs spent on designing the workshops, and to create standard requirements. Clearly, flattening the diversity of our workshop might be counterproductive, thus the steps are suggested and open to discussion.

Below how the board looks like, you can seethe detail in the board here:

Below the translation of the step of ADDIE to Rapid eLearning solutions

In Analysis phase most of the steps are standardised and the students/coach are asked to define only 4 points, they are given basic info on learning theories and possible solutions.

Below a detail view of the ANALYSIS phase (which here is named DEFINE):

In Design phase most of the steps are boiled down into a a blueprint. The decisions are summarised inn form of pos-it/hints within designing the blueprint.

Below a detail view of the DESIGN phase:

In Development phase the students coaches are encouraged to use available sources. The instructional designer supports coherence and the technological management (Miro, Zoom, etc)

Below a detail view of the DEVELOPMENT phase:

In Implementation and Evaluation phases mostly is standardised and explained in the board shared among students/coaches ,the team and the instructional designer.

Below a detail view of the IMPLEMENTATION and EVALUATION phases:


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