Written by:

Holly Macdonald


June 29, 2012

(Not so) Recently I commented on Twitter about my approach to professional development this year and Steve Flowers (@xpconcept) commented that it made sense in a broader application  to instructional design. Then, I saw a tweet from David Kelly (@LnDDave) who was at an #ASTD2012 conference session with Michael Allen. They were presenting their Successive Approximation Method (SAM) as a substitution for ADDIE (poor girl, everyone’s favorite whipping horse), which sounded a lot like a “T” in my mind. A short twitter exchange between Steve and myself led to this…a blog post idea. And now, hopefully a few weeks later a blog post!

What is a “T-shaped” instructional design process?

As ADDIE is a waterfall method, which allows you to go deeper only when you’ve completed the various hurdles in the step you are on, a T-shaped method favours breadth before depth. You’d look at the aspects of it, going deeper once you have a good overview of all elements (will try to describe elements here), then you flesh it out more fully. With the rapid development tools available, committing to everything in paper up front is not realistic, however, you need to start with paper before you move to digital. I think it is best used as a project framework, but one that is iterative.

My “T” would look something like this (it’s version 1, will tinker with it to see how it fits):

Once the basics of analysis are done: Audience, Concept, Outcomes, & Tech

Then the core of the product (visual, interaction and content) is described and would go deeper with each iteration.

So, you start with a good understanding of what it is going to be, how it will all fit together and then you build it. Not so much a full working prototype, but enough of a proof-of-concept that it allows all stakeholders to understand the essence of the outcome.

I’d love some input/feedback. Am I reinventing the wheel here?  Is this just the SAM method in a clunkier model?