Evolution of Collaborative Instructional Design Processes

Streamed Session

Brief Abstract

Evolution occurs in response to a multitude of external and internal shaping forces. As a new instructional design team entering an untouched landscape of online program design for our university, our design processes inevitably evolved. Hear how we adapted every term to keep collaboration central and connect over common experiences.

Additional Authors

Both an Instructional Designer and a Nurse, I work as the Design Team Lead for a RN to BScN online degree program at McGill University. I am passionate about creating practical, accessible and evidence-based online learning experiences while contributing to new work flows as part of the first fully online degree program at our university.

Extended Abstract

Evolution occurs through incremental changes in response to a multitude of external and internal forces that shape forward-moving change. As a new design team embarking on the development of our university’s inaugural fully online bachelor’s program, we experienced such an evolutionary process. A defining element of our ‘branch of the evolutionary tree’ as a design team was identified as collaboration. This guided our design team’s evolving processes over a multi-year design project, and will continue to shape how we will plan and carry out program design in the future. 

We’ve identified some ubiquitous forces that shaped our program design: Time (shifting timeframes and priorities), Resources (Instructional Designer shortage and Subject Matter Expert availability), Environment (COVID-context), and Population (student feedback). We will share our design team’s experience and evolving strategies to optimize collaboration within the team and with subject matter experts, taking these evolutionary forces into account.  

Take for example our collaboration with Subject Matter Experts (SMEs); we began with a long timeframe, plentiful resources and in a pre-COVID environment. What initially began as an individually negotiated collaboration between a single Instructional Designer and SME, became more structured over time, evolving into consistently defined expectations for such collaborations.  

We will elaborate on how our processes continued to evolve to facilitate collaboration (including virtually during COVID) between instructional designers (IDs), IDs and SMEs, IDs and courseware developers. We’ll get real about the challenges and what did and did not work, while showcasing some of the tools and design outcomes of our evolving collaborative process. Our forward-moving evolution is evidenced in the creative completion of the 65-credit, online undergraduate accredited nursing program, and the establishment of a new online learning office. We will even project into the evolutionary future of our collaborative instructional design process; what evolved organically is becoming the bedrock for how we will plan future online projects and the development of our online learning office. 

We can’t speak about collaboration without putting it into practice! Come prepared to contribute to a shared Mural board resource that will draw on collective experiences with common evolutionary forces that shape our collaborative design processes.  

Session Learning Outcomes 

By attending this session, you will be able to: 

- Describe factors shaping the collaborative processes of a new online program design team and inaugural program outcomes 

- Identify strategies implemented to support successful collaboration within a design team and with subject-matter experts, despite shifting project variables 

- Relate the evolutionary factors shaping our team’s design process to processes and strategies from your own experience