Sunday, January 22, 2012

Reading Report 1 - Rapid Instructional Design

Reading Report 1 – “Rapid Instructional Design”

Thiagarajan, S. (2012). Rapid instructional design. Retrieved from

Article can be found here:

Key words:
Instructional design, “just-in-time” strategies, efficiency, shortcuts, faster, rapid instructional design, cheaper, quick-and-dirty

This article is about (main discussion):
Making changes, combinations or deletions to the conventional instructional design model to save time. Many steps in ID may be viewed as superfluous, especially when covered in a specific order and in great detail. The article provides a list of 10 strategies and 20 guidelines to use to speed up design. The strategies include tips such as using a partial process, using templates, and using existing materials.

The author argues that:
  • The conventional ID model does not need to be followed for all designs. In fact, many cases require the instructional designer to complete designs much more quickly
  • There are two major trade-offs to consider when designing rapidly.
    •  The first trade-off is between design and delivery. Depending on the resources, such as the group size, the instructor, instructional time available and the alternative resources, you should find an optimal balance between design and delivery. It would be inefficient to focus too much on “idiot-proofing” materials for every single instructional situation.
    • The second trade-off is between presentation of materials, activities for learners, and feedback given to the learners. All instruction must include those three key pieces, but with rapid instructional design the pieces can be initially created independently of one another
  • Instructional designers should not feel guilty about changing the ID process or skipping certain portions of it

The author makes the following statements or cites the following references on support of his/her argument:

  • “As long as you treat the conventional ISD model as a flexible framework (and not as compulsory commandments), you can use it to prevent waste of time. The important point to remember is modify the model to suit your needs.”
  • “the final criterion for evaluating instruction is how well the trainees learn. My experiences (which are confirmed by the experiences of my students) actually suggest that quick-and-dirty instructional packages often result in higher-quality instruction.”

The author concludes that:
In designing, the “strategies you select and how you combine them should depend on the resources and constraints in your instructional design situation.”

The author feels that:
Rapid design is often more effective because “when you do not have time to make a big production out of instructional design, you are forced to focus on the basics. You and your team are not tempted into bells, whistles, and other embellishment. The resulting instructional package is lean and powerful.”

References: none

Relating this to our project:
  •  We were wondering whether or not the need is actually there for the website and certain features. The article suggests that we can just trust what the client wants, without taking the time to do a needs assessment
  • The idea of templates could apply to using pre-built photo hosting services, such as Flickr and SmugMug. If possible, it makes more sense to use existing sites instead of building our own
  • Off the start we are using all of our team members in horizontal teams to create different prototypes; this is efficient use of our team members rather than having everyone work on all of them 
  • As we continue to design, we should form vertical teams with certain team members completing different parts of the design. This way each person can be more focused on one phase. When doing this we need to set criteria for each phase in the process.

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