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Plan the Design phase

"How do I identify project milestones and deadlines for the design phase of a learning project?"

"What design processes are commonly used, and when should I select them?"

"What might a project plan look like for the design phase of a learning project?"


Now that you have chosen a learning modality, you can create a plan for the design phase of your learning project. Without knowing how you will deliver the information to your learners you cannot accurately prepare a timeline for your project tasks. Failing to set appropriate milestones and deadlines for a project is only a disaster waiting to happen.


Through this lesson, you should be able to create a plan for the design phase of a learning project.



How do I identify project milestones and deadlines for the design phase of a learning project?


Milestones refer to the completion of key tasks or phases within a project leading up to the final deadline. Depending on the type of learning modality selected, learning designers may create the following deliverables during the design phase of a project:

  • Design documentation: Learning designers collaborate with stakeholders and subject matter experts to make design decisions around the target audience, learning goals and objectives, learning modalities, and more. These decisions are often recorded in a design document (e.g. high level design, detailed design, course outline/blueprint) and reviewed (typically several times) and approved by project stakeholders and subject matter experts before advancing to the next phase of the project.

  • Storyboarding: For eLearning projects, designers collaborate with subject matter experts on storyboards to document content, visuals, and interactions for each screen. Storyboards come in a variety of formats, from simple tables to complex wireframes and everything in between.

  • Script writing: Similarly, if a learning solution incorporates custom videos, designers will collaborate with subject matter experts to write video scripts that multimedia teams and/or video production teams can use for production.

  • Prototype: The purpose of a prototype is to design, develop and test (ideally with learners) a segment of the larger learning experience before investing time and effort in the full solution. This process often involves multiple reviews of testing (again, ideally with learners instead of stakeholders and subject matter experts alone).


Scroll through the carousel to discover common project deliverables:


What design processes are commonly used, and when should I select them?


As explained in the Follow learning design frameworks lesson, there are two primary types of processes used in the learning industry to date: waterfall and agile. Whereas waterfall processes (like the ADDIE model) include linear and sequential steps, agile processes (like SAM and, to some extent, the Dick and Carey model) are iterative and flexible.


When selecting a process, consider the following questions and general recommendations:


What might a project plan look like for the design phase of a learning project?


In their basic forms, project plans identify tasks to be completed, who should complete each task, and when each task is due. The complexity of a project plan increases based on the complexity of the project.


Take a look at the following (very simple) Design project plan. It outlines key tasks, who owns the task (e.g. the design team or client), and includes columns to list start and end dates for each task.


Basic project plan for the Design phase of a learning project


You may download this project plan template (an Excel spreadsheet) and modify it to meet the needs of your projects:

Simple Design Project Plan
.xlsx
Download XLSX • 10KB

Airport training: a learning project case study


Amir and Kristine have been collaborating with their client on a learning experience that would help airport staff recognize and report human trafficking. After Amir conducted analysis, Kristine started a design document that described the learning audience, listed learning objectives, and identified eLearning as the modality. Before Amir and Kristine meet with the client again to complete the design document, Amir wants to draft a project plan to identify tasks the team needs to complete during the design phase.


Amir drafts the project plan in a spreadsheet first. Then, he depicts the tasks visually and presents the following to the client:


Summary and next steps


Through this lesson, you discovered the importance of milestones and deadlines to stay on track for project completion. You also learned considerations for selecting a design process, common deliverables during the design phase (e.g. design documents, storyboards, scripts, prototypes). While there is no standard project plan template, you also received and reviewed several templates that you can leverage and adapt for your project needs.


Now that you are familiar with planning the design phase of a learning project, continue to the next lesson in LXD Factory’s Design series: Collaborate with clients on designs.

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