Is it possible to take an instructional design model, in this case ADDIE, and apply it to structuring your work and life? ADDIE was, and to an extent still is, the dominant design model for education. It’s also a fairly slow process that is being replaced by more agile models and rapid prototyping. Even so, I feel like the long term scope and slower movement of the model fits well with much of the morning routine and life plan writing of today. As an added bonus, it’s far more flexible than all those oversold gimmicks and allows you to experiment until you find what works for you.
One of my fascinations is taking somewhat disparate items and combining them in unique ways. The first paper for my dissertation does this by taking research from social work and social informatics and using it as a challenge in the adult education field. When I’ve coached sports, I’ve always tried to bring in elements from differing sports to the one I’m coaching. When I first started teaching, I took as much as I could from my youth pastor days and apply it to both classroom management and lesson planning.
The ADDIE process, which I believe is used in several design fields, is rather simple. You analyze the problem, design possible solutions, develop on of the solutions, implement the design, and evaluate the success. At the end, and honestly even during, the process you can take the information gathered and adjust accordingly or even try a new potential solution. Becoming more proficient with the model leads to significant overlap between the steps and increased ability to recognize problems before they fully manifest. As I’ve developed my daily schedule and writing/life plans, I unwittingly was using these steps and realized it was time to share them with you.
What are you trying to solve? Is it what tools you want to use? How about setting up a daily schedule? The first item you need to discern is what is your goal. Once you’ve decided the goal, you might want to write out a potential end result that is satisfactory. Then, you have a specific goal in mind throughout the design process and your evaluation is ongoing (formative) as well as conclusive (summative).
When I was starting on the path of getting a PhD, I started scanning every university website I could to see which ones on the US News top list for Education had programs in my desired field. Once I did, I contacted professors and department chairs. I also read any available syllabi and course progressions I could. I even looked to see how many papers the professors had published. I wanted the best I could get and this was the best way I knew how. Once I had acquired as much knowledge as I could, I took the GRE and began applying to the schools I felt were the best match whose deadline hadn’t yet passed.
What tools seem like they might work for you? What would it look like for you to get things done? What situations are the toughest for you to successfully navigate at the moment? It’s fine to have redundancy and even conflict among the items you’re considering at this point. All you’re doing now is seeing what options you feel are most likely to work, in some capacity, towards your end goal.
During the 3rd semester of my PhD program, we had a seminar class with my cohort and the brand new cohort for that year. Our professors decided to combine the two and try something new. They borrowed the idea of a studio course from architecture classes and applied it to education. The first night we were told that we had 3 weeks to turn in a needs analysis for redesigning the instructional design course in the M.Ed. program, and had no other instruction. Once that was done we entered the design phase as smaller groups. My specific subgroup was focused on finding as many different existing ID courses from other universities to compare and contrast. We then brought as many of the ideas we felt were potentially helpful to the larger group before entering the development phase.
Here is where the elements from the first two phases start being assembled in a meaningful way. Do you think there’s some combination of items or routines that will work best for you? Which tools seem like they would best integrate into your life and allow you to make the changes you most desire? At this point you want to make some choices and put together a plan of action for designing your day in a way that leads to accomplishing your end goals as well as possible.
I wanted to run a marathon. I was fat, though not nearly as overweight as a few years earlier. It was 2 weeks before the 2014 Honolulu Marathon and I determined I would run the 2015 event. That meant I had to figure out running gear, nutrition, schedule, other exercise, maintenance for my existing back problems, and a whole host of issues related to PhD studies and living arrangements. I finally found a combination of things I figured would give me the best chance to accomplish my goal, and put together a plan that I immediately began to implement.
This is where you really start doing things. If you’re working on a morning routine, this is the part where you put it on a schedule. You start attempting the activities and behaviors you’ve decided best suite your goals. You get up at 5 or 6 or whatever. You journal, or meditate, or pray, or all three. You start exercising or eating a certain type of meal. Whatever it is that you’ve chosen in the development phase, this is where you give it a whirl. You might have some training wheels at first, and make some adjustments to be more comfortable, but eventually you have to ride.
During my still never ending job search, I decided to start a blog and a consistent writing habit. I took Jeff Goins’ Intentional Blog course after one of his free seminars. Once I got things set up, I started scouring the internet for ideas from other successful bloggers and writers. Once I gleaned as much as I could from guys like Goins, Hyatt, Rowse, and Manson, I branched out even further. Several “foolproof” schedules and morning plans are free for anyone who wants to read them. I worked through the good and bad as best I could and then put together a schedule using Google Calendar. I put my blog together, came up with ideas for writing, and launched out into ye olde blogosphere. A few adjustments along the way, and a slight reboot overall, led to a habit that has produced 22 blog posts weekly with the last 18 (including this one) on Wednesday.
Evaluation has two parts. Formative, which happens pretty much from the start and is part of planning just about anything, and summative, which is the “final” determination of how well something worked. Depending on what you’re doing, your evaluation will involve various types of assessment. The ease of using a tool or developing a certain part of a routine is a summative evaluation and is somewhat subjective. The overall effectiveness, whether it’s a qualitative feeling or a quantitative fact, does need to be evaluated. With that said, the process is potentially never ending so even if things don’t work the way you planned so you can continue to adapt and adjust as long as you feel like doing so.
I was accepted to 2 of my top 4 choices for a PhD and chose the top one of them. The redesign elements we proposed to our department were mostly implemented and started the program on a path of change beyond what was initially planned. I finished the 2015 Honolulu Marathon despite multiple problems and a time far longer than my goal. My blog views and comments are slowly building and I’ve now started several other projects that I wanted to write including an attempt at a novel during 2017’s NaNoWriMo.
Not everything went as planned, but using a simple yet flexible design model allowed for more success than would likely have happened without it.
So, What Are You Going To Do About It?
Is this similar to something you’re already doing? Are there other plans that you’ve used to inform developing your own routines? Is the idea of picking and choosing among the supposedly “proven” methods that so many people promise something you’ve shied away from?