Prototype To Jump-Start a Large Project

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Darryl L. Sink and Associates, Inc. (DSA) helps organizations design and develop learning and performance solutions that get results. DSA works cooperatively with organizations to:

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In the context of large instructional design/development project, I am using the following definition taken from Wikipedia: A prototype is an early sample, model, or release of a product built to test a concept or process or to act as a thing to be replicated or learned from.

Project Example

Recently DSA completed a large project for our home county in Monterey, California. The project was to design and develop a Contracts and Purchasing Academy for county personnel among 27 different departments.

Where Did We Start?

We were brought in after the completion of a Needs Analysis by the Learning and Organizational Development Department.  Due to the size of the project and the urgent nature of the project, DSA was contacted for help. As you might expect, we went through all the necessary ISD steps and phases. However, to speed up the process and provide the client with a clear picture of what the proposed learning products would look like, we selected, in consultation with our client, one high priority-learning task to build out early in the project.

Learning Products for The Academy

We created prototypes of each type of learning product showing how they were inter-related. The learning products were:

The selected single high-priority learning task would require all three learning products. The authentic learning task selected was “How to Develop and Write Statements of Work” (SOWs).

The lead instructional designer, while still completing a very extensive process analysis, assigned separate designers to the SOPs and the e-learning module to develop the learning products for this one high priority-learning task. The lead designer took on the ILT design and coordinated the integration and unified effort throughout.


The benefits of having this early build out (prototype) of the learning products on a single high priority-learning task were many:

Prototypes will show results early on in your project and help to get everyone on board. I speak from my own project history–I have used this early prototyping method many times with great success, especially for larger design and development projects.  Give it a try in your next project.

See you next time,