In Part I of this series, we stressed the importance of the Instructional Systems Design (ISD) – ADDIE process as the foundation of any eLearning development project. When ISD-ADDIE is used, there are several tangible products that result from each phase that help guide development.
The first product, the Design Specification Document (DSD), will be discussed in part II with an emphasis on how it can be used to create, proof, change and update, and improve the educational software, known as courseware.
For an overview of the key products that guide course development using the ADDIE process and to identify which documents, primarily from the Design Phase, are used for the signoffs of each deliverable and how one product provides input for another, see Figure 1.
Design Specification Document and Style Documents
The first document that is key to successful eLearning development is the Design Specification Document (DSD). The DSD is where all of the critical information of the project is recorded. The key results from the Analysis Phase and more global course guidelines such as the interface design, instructional strategies, and assessment strategies are included in the DSD. The characteristics of learners along with the essential knowledge, skills, and abilities (KSA) they need are identified. The content, structure organization, and goals and learning objectives of the course or program are identified and aligned to keep everyone on track and up-to-date with project standards and specifications. In addition, the DSD also identifies the instructional, delivery, and evaluation strategies. These strategies usually define a set number and type of approaches that may be used in a module of the course. Screen types are also defined in this document. Many developers place the aesthetic specifications such as screen elements, layout specifications, font and font attributes, requirements for color, and special graphical effects in a separate Style Document.
What to look for… are there…?
Topic-learning objective alignment
Screen text (format & font attributes)
Use of color
Video/Audio (Use and parameters)
Buttons/icons (for navigation, tools, etc.)
How a design product/deliverable can be used. The DSD is used in the review of all of the products/deliverables of the Design and Development phases of ISD-ADDIE. Most storyboards have a place where the type of screen, interaction, and/or evaluation, usually identified by different types of codes, may be entered. The detailed explanations of the codes are provided in the DSD. The identifying codes are displayed in the storyboards. Once you commit the different types of codes to memory, you’ll have a quick, ready reference at a glance that identifies what was intended for the completed, fully enabled courseware.