Instructional Design

What is Rapid Development in eLearning?

“I need this eLearning ready yesterday!” That’s the battle cry of leadership heard ’round the world, and today, it’s with good reason. With lightning-fast changes in the workplace, speed to market is vital. The workforce requires constant training to remain in compliance with local, state, federal regulations—something over which leadership has no control in today’s regulatory environment.

Rapid Development Maintains the Standards of Traditional Development

Rapid development relies on the hallmarks of traditional eLearning design and development, including learning exercises and activities instead of teaching. The difference lies in the process. Rapid designers repurpose content and design elements that already exist to the extent possible. Rapid development can also allocate human resources in ways that compress time. There are many ways to speed development:

  • The Project Plan – The SME can replace the design team to help push out the prototype. The SME is the keeper of the knowledge, and working together, a professional designer and the SME can come up with a plan, a storyboard and interactive elements, before a design team could even convene!
  • Nix the Developer – Modern authoring tools allow you to nix the developer for rapid development projects. Code is already written for all of the elements the in your selected tool.
  • Design Once, Use Many – Templates are to instructional designers what ready-made blueprints are to the general contractor. Templates for project planning, interactive features, storyboarding, page layout, etc., can save months of work. The authoring tool won’t write your storyboard, tell you where to pull content, drop in graphics based on your text; it’s not a Swiss Army knife, but it will make designing and implementing elements quick and easy once you learn the tool.
  • Repurpose Content – Repurpose content from PowerPoint presentations, audio and video, interviews, quizzes, etc. When you’re designing to a tight deadline, you don’t have time to recreate the wheel.
  • Iterations – The hardest part of any project is the first draft. You can’t obsess over every module in the learning. If you do, you won’t get past the first one. Rapid design goes hand-in-hand with the SAM methodology—spit it out and pretty it up all at once—at the end.

Once you’ve completed your first rapid development project, you will have laid the groundwork for many future projects. You have a project plan and a supply of templates ready to tweak and customize as the foundation for future rapid development projects.