Instructional Design: Project Management’s Polar Identical Twin?
Learning solutions can be complex, time-consuming, and expensive. Sadly, many align poorly with organizational objectives and fail to deliver expected performance improvements. This is why the ATD Capability Model encourages instructional design professionals to build project management skills to ensure that instructional interventions achieve the desired learning or behavioral outcomes.
According to the Project Management Institute project management is the application of knowledge, skills, tools, and techniques to a temporary series of actions directed toward a unique result that involves a specified duration, scope, and resources. In essence, each time we employ the instructional design process, we are managing a project.
Although their terminology differs, when we compare the 5 phases of project management to the 5 phases of the ADDIE model, it is surprising to see their similarities. Like polar identical twins, project management and instructional design are more alike than different. As you consider adding project management capabilities to your training tool box, you may realize that your proficiency in the ADDIE model puts you ahead of the learning curve.
Project Management Instructional Design
Projects begin when a sponsor identifies an organizational need that requires more than just a few steps to accomplish. This individual or group conducts analyzes resource allocation to answer such questions as: How will this project enable the organization to reach its goals? The project manager is appointed, a project charter is generated, and potential constraints are identified.
A group or individual within an organization identifies a performance problem. A need analysis is conducted to identify performance gaps and decide if there is a learning need. If training is required, a key question to answer at this point is: how will training contribute to the overall performance of the organization and help it reach its goals?
The next step in the project management process is to create a project blueprint. The project blueprint where all related details including time, costs, responsibilities, staffing, scheduling, and other factors are detailed.
Similarly, the design phase of training results in a blueprint for the training project including the objectives, schedule, deliverables, instructional methods, and evaluation plan.
This is the action phase of the project where the plan is carried out. The project manager coordinates all activities required to complete the project in a timely manner and within budget.
Using the design document as a guide, the training program is developed with materials created internally or purchased from vendors.
|ControllingIn this phase, project leaders verify the scope of the project and manage changes in costs, quality, risks, and schedule as the project is implemented.||ImplementationAt the beginning of this phase, training programs are piloted which often results in changes to content or delivery of the materials. Further, data is collected throughout training to ensure that the objectives are met.|
The close out phase of project management involves the verification that all project requirements are met noting approved changes. Further, lessons learned are documented, project records are archived, and project outcomes are tied to organization goals.
In this phase, the trainer must identify the extent to which the training program achieved its goals related to satisfaction, learning, behavior change, and organization improvement.
Questions for Discussion
Given their similarities, how might training professionals benefit from project management strategies and use them in managing the instructional design process?
Can you locate a link to web-based resources that our readers might use to learn more about project management?