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Adapting to Adapt: Learning a New Framework for Responsive Design

At Innovative Learning Group, we’ve designed and developed thousands of e-learning courses using many different authoring tools and programming languages. So when requests started coming in to create e-learning using the new-to-us Adapt authoring tool and framework, an application that allows you to quickly build responsive e-learning content, we dove right in — because we know what we’re doing! We got this!

What I quickly discovered is that while all of our experience, knowledge, and expertise certainly still applied, the team needed to shift the way we thought about course design and storyboarding to fit within the Adapt framework — and make it all make sense to our clients. In other words, we found ourselves adapting to Adapt … in the way that we really enjoy a good challenge! Because we got this?!

As a project manager, my biggest lesson learned was that I couldn’t just manage the project as usual, with the typical process and templates. I needed to educate myself so that I could support my team. While Adapt is easy to use, whether you’re an instructional designer using the authoring tool or a programmer working right in the framework, it doesn’t translate easily to the way ILG typically approaches design documents and storyboarding.

So what’s my point here? I’m not going to go into the drawn-out story of how the team learned its ABCs and translated them into deliverables our designers and clients could understand — although I’d be happy to chat about it over coffee sometime if you’re really interested in the gory, nerdy details. What I really wanted to share are some (now) seemingly common-sense tips on what to do when faced with a new way to design and develop e-learning, or anything new for that matter, even if you think you know what you’re doing:

  • Enlist the help of your team (instructional designers, fellow project-managers-in-crime, programmers, media developers, graphic designers, and maybe an innocent bystander or two).
  • Learn the ins and outs of the available functionality and features together (even if the new territory seems familiar), and discuss the possible implications for the upfront phases.
  • Collaborate to plan the project, creating any new job aids and templates needed as you go.
  • Design, develop, and program a course, even if it’s short and about how to bake chocolate chip cookies.
  • Share your lessons learned, enhance your job aids and templates, and embark on the next adventure.

Now that we have a few projects under our belt, spanning topics from leadership to product knowledge to human resource laws, we’ve successfully created several mobile-ready, responsive design courses. As we continue to adapt, we are looking for even more creative ways to add interactivity and fun.

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