Writing online courses? Fail Fast and Fail Forward!
August 6, 2016
The amazing Ramit Sethi fails sometimes. He even keeps an updated list of failures available for public viewing. Ramit has a mindset that says, "I might have failed but HERE is what I learned from it"! He advocates for successful people to be open about their failures.
Here is my failure story and what I learned from it...
Some time ago, I worked with a company that completely ignored the design process. There was no ADDIE, SAM or AGILE - nothing even close to a "process".
It went something like this-
The SME wrote content for an online course, organized it into modules and then aligned modules with a set of standards that seemed to match the content. Content that did not meet standards is left in the course.
Company markets the course to if anyone is willing to use/purchase the content. Strike out. Realize that the content is flawed because it does not meet a need, is text-based without interactivity and is overpriced.
I was called into the project after this happened. Only after I signed on the dotted line did I learn that the company did not believe that a process was necessary.
My failure came when I agreed to work on the project without ANY process at all. Shame on me. There it is.
We don't NEED to follow a particular process. It just makes everything run much smoother. A flexible design process is better than none at all.
The company ended up stopping the project and moving to training clients with a 438 page manual. Yep, no joke, I double checked the page count.
As I look back (it has been a few years), here is what I learned...
As you design and develop your online courses, consider some form of a process. Iterative methods like Agile focus on the fail forward technique. Fail fast. Get it over with. Then start succeeding.
There is nothing wrong with failing. In fact, failing right out of the gates is a great thing. You have nowhere to go but up!
As years have passed, I have developed a different approach to design processes. The name of the game is FLEXIBILITY but when companies ask me for a process, I have a customized path that I like to follow.