The Discover phase involves research designed to uncover and account for anything essential to the program’s success, such as our partner’s key performance indicators, how best to work with faculty or subject matter experts, successful competitive products or models, existing data about the current version of the program, unique learner needs, and more. The Discover phase might also uncover cultural norms that lie beneath the surface or unaccounted for opportunities. With the big picture in mind, we help our clients refine their vision for the future.
In the Clarify phase, we organize what we’ve learned in the Discover phase to make it functional and useful throughout the rest of the project.
When we deliver something, we focus on getting the work done and ensuring that the work can be clearly quantified for reporting purposes. The Discover and Clarify phases typically have the following deliverables:
1. A Project Brief and Design Document that concisely captures critical decisions about the program
2. A “Core Evidence and Standards” document to capture all of the quality standards and success metrics that we’ve identified through discovery. This document will become a checklist that we will use during course development to ensure our work is satisfying all of the goals we’ve set for ourselves.
3. A Project Roadmap that details timelines, roles and responsibilities, workflow, etc.
Using the ideas and standards generated in the previous stages, we select a portion of one course with at least a single instance of every element we need to design and develop. This prototype will serve as a sample to test with learners and refine our design before creating at scale. Once fully completed, the prototype will also be a blueprint for us to reference when creating the rest of the materials.
A functioning prototype with real content, activities, media, etc. that can be reviewed by learners and other stakeholders is the primary deliverable for this phase.
A playbook is an informative guide and collection of resources that stores everything we need to help us and our clients create courses at scale. The playbook will include templates for the design and development process and best practices that apply to each phase and element of the course. It begins with discerning who the learners are and what overall vision our client hopes to achieve through the course. It then moves to the how of defining more specific learning outcomes and assessments, followed by an in-depth look at each element of the learning model (including instruction, collaboration, assessment, media, etc).
A playbook is a “living deliverable” used by the team as it grows to accommodate a larger-scale design and production effort. It is critical to ensure consistency of quality within the learner’s experience of a course (including look and feel, media and activity types, assessment style, feedback mechanisms, use of the technology, etc).
Using the Prototype and the Playbook, we begin full-scale creation of the courses within a program. At this point, we will have determined what must go into the product, which will allow us to move quickly and decisively.
In full-scale production, project management and communication become increasingly important as there are many more moving parts. Courses will be created in stages with clear quality benchmarks based on the Evidence and Standards document (which will have been revised after creating the Prototype), using the Prototype as an exemplar.