July 08, 2020
New Series: Better Childbirth Education by Design - Using the "ADDIE" Process
By: Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE | 0 Comments
Today, Connecting the Dots introduces a series written by Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE. Andrea has been a frequent contributor to Connecting the Dots over the years with some very popular and informative posts, and I am delighted that blog readers can once again benefit from her knowledge and perspective. Instruction design is a field that applies systematic approaches to planning education. Lots has been written about its use in a wide variety of fields, from K-12 education to higher education, corporate training and even the US military. In this new series - Better Childbirth Education by Design, Andrea will introduce readers to a very common model of instructional design, called ADDIE, and demonstrate how you can use this process to create and refine your childbirth classes. - Sharon Muza, Connecting the Dots Community Manager
ADDIE is a five step process for designing trainings and education that has been used in other settings for many years. The system can also be used to help you develop and refine your childbirth classes. When ADDIE was first developed, it was created more as a “waterfall” style method, each step coming in turn. When you are initially developing your classes, this can be a good way of thinking about it, especially if you plan on revisiting the waterfall process 2 or more times as you adjust and revise to incorporate the feedback from the evaluations. This process can work well for one time events as well, like a training or conference.
If you are looking at ADDIE as a means of refining your existing programs, thinking of it as more of a continuously ongoing cycle, with evaluation happening at every stage. This works well for your regular offerings and can help keep them relevant and meeting the needs of your learners over time.
Let’s take a quick overview of the various steps in the process and how they might apply to your childbirth education work. There will be future articles in this series that cover each of these in more depth.
Before you do anything else, take some time to look at things like your learner characteristics, their needs, what they want from classes, what your technological and budget restraints might be, the facility you have to teach in, etc. Taking the time to really understand your situation can help you design and develop a program that actually meets the needs of your students within the framework you have available.
At this stage, you are setting the overall design framework of the course. You will set overall objectives for the overall course plus 1-2 overall objectives for each class in a series, and smaller enabling objectives to support those overall objectives. You will also determine the course structure as far as location (in person? online?) and timing. Will it be a weeknight series, and if so, how many sessions? Or a weekend series instead?
Now it is time to take that framework and fill it in with specific strategies. You will design and develop activities and materials to support your learners as they meet the objectives. One thing you will want to keep an eye on is the alignment between your activities and your objectives. It’s really easy to hear about a new and fun activity and want to add it without first stepping back and determining if it aligns with what you’re trying to do.
Here you will actually teach the class you have been planning. If you’re planning a one time event using the waterfall version of ADDIE, you could conduct a pilot program. You could do the program for a few select friends, or even just by yourself in your room. Immediately after class, take a few minutes to sit and make notes about how things went, areas that need work, time management, etc.
Evaluation can happen all along the way (which is why it is placed in the center of the cycle version of ADDIE). Getting evaluation along the way is called formative evaluation, because it can help you adjust course if needed. Evaluation at the end of a series would be called summative evaluation and anything you learned from it would be applied to the next run of the class.
It might seem like this process is pretty long and involved, but ultimately, taking the time to really understand the context of your teaching and put careful thought into your goals and making sure your classes align with those goals can save you time in the long run and create a more effective class for your students.
About Andrea Lythgoe
Andrea Lythgoe, LCCE is a childbirth educator and doula with over 20 years of experience helping families as they move through pregnancy and birth. She is also the author of UnderstandingResearch.com, the place for birth professionals to learn how to find and read research. Recently, she has gone back to school to study instructional design and strengthen her skills. You can find Andrea at andrealythgoe.com
TagsChildbirth education Andrea Lythgoe Better Childbirth Education by Design Series: Better Childbirth Education by Design ADDIE