Edu 627: Project Initiation and Design

This is the second blog post of a four part series for edu627 Managing Instruction & Technology. In the first part we examined how instructional design and project management overlap as well as essential elements of project management and how it relates to technology.  For the past two weeks, however, there has been an emphasis on initiating the project and designing the document as it pertains to PM and ID.

In our 2nd unit, there was an attempt to clarify the difference between PM and ID as each pertains to the life of a project.  The Project management Institute (PMI) “…defines project management (PM) as the application of a body of knowledge, skills, tools and techniques to project activities to meet project requirements, all of which are documented in the project management body of knowledge” (Rooij, 2010, p. 854).  With initiation serving as the first phase of project management, clarity to the purpose of the project is revealed. Cox (2009) illustrates how a project charter outlines the specific business need as well as provides an explanation of a particular product or service. Specific roles of individuals or groups of individuals are often identified in the project charter as well as stakeholder recognition and purpose.

PM supports ID and both share similarities. First, both can be structured into individual projects that are temporary in duration and result in a unique deliverable product. Second, both are considered successful if the project or product is delivered on time, meets the requirements of the stakeholders and is within budget.  According to unit two course notes and presentation from Post University (2014), “Project management supports instructional design through the application of these standard tools and approaches in the specific domain of instruction….these practices provide support and optimize the efficiency and effectiveness of your instructional design projects” (Post, slide 7).  The ID model of ADDIE helps establish the project lifecycle for delivery in a diverse environment. Rooij (2010) states “Project management complements the instructional design process by offering a set of repeatable processes with which to describe, organize and complete the work required for each phase of the project lifecycle…” (p. 855).  Rooij further clarifies how PM’s spend most of their time engaged in instructional design tasks (2010, p. 860).  Instructional designers and project managers have many skills that overlap and complement one another. 

Image

 

Sometimes the list of tasks can be overwhelming…where does one begin?  (Photo used with permission from creativecommons.org)

In our 3rd Unit, we focused on task analysis which is the process of determining what a particular learner needs to know or do as it pertains to specific objectives (Unit 3 lecture, slide 5).  With primary tasks serving as the most significant tasks to be fulfilled by the learner, main tasks involve things that need to be accomplished to satisfy primary tasks. And finally supporting tasks can be described as tasks that need to occur to help complete and satisfied the main tasks (Unit 3 lecture, slide 5).  Tasks can also be broken down further according to physical or cognitive (thinking) tasks.  Task sequencing logically dictates that “tasks be completed in the same order as the job that the learner will eventually perform” (Unit 3 lecture, slide 7). Here, tasks can also be ranked by importance which is determined by time spent, difficulty and significance (Unit 3 lecture, slide 7). 

The purpose of the design document is to allow for a clear overview of a particular training program (Cox, 2009). Once the design document is created as part of the project management side, the identified needs, as part of the instructional design side, can then be embedded within the design document. From that point, tasks can be categorized as primary, main tour supporting and identified within the document. It’s also important to build in performance measures to identify anything the learners or trainees will need to know prior to training as well as determining “… the amount of time and practice necessary to acquire knowledge and demonstrate skill and behavior at the desired level given the difficulty, significance, and time spent on the task” (Cox, p. 54).

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(Photo used with permission from creativecommons.org)

Reflection

I work in a small public school district on the CT shoreline and we are attempting to address the following question as it relates to the ISTE technology standards for student achievement: What type of digital learning environment do we want to offer our students?  With a multitude of questions revolving around types of devices, accessibility, learning management systems (LMS), professional development and overall technical support, this district is at a critical juncture to implement a new instructional design plan for how technology will be used with its students and teachers. As the project manager, and in part as a result of my new learnings from the past two units in edu627, I have decided to create a strategic planning committee within my district to allow for ample discussion and testing of applicable technologies in response to the leading question of this project. Careful analysis is occurring now and I am beginning to identify and sequence all of the tasks that will need to be completed for this project to yield reliable and valid results.

References

Cox, D. (2009). Project management skills: A practical guide. New York: iUniverse.

Unit 3 Lecture, Post University, 2014.

 

Additional Resources to consider:

1. ISTE National Technology Standards for students, teachers and administrators: http://www.iste.org/standards

2. This is a collection of blog posts all about project management and it’s updated weekly: http://projectnewstoday.com/project-management-blog/

 

 

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