The intent of the Three-Phase Development (3PD) Model was to provide a new focus for the end-to-end learning content and evaluation development process, especially for Web-based teaching and learning. As discussed yesterday, a central tenet of 3PD was that course creation could not be viewed as a short-term development process, but rather as a long-term collaborative process which would
generate and evolve into focused communities of practice with shared understanding and a philosophy of continuous improvement
(Sims & Jones, 2003 , p. 18)
Three-Phase Design is configured to elicit learning content through a three-step process of developing functionality, evaluating, elaborating, and enhancing and maintaining materials, rather than the more traditional systems approach of analyze, design, develop, implement, evaluate. The approach also aims to align the "three essential competency sets" for courseware development – course design, subject matter exposition, and content production – in an integrated fashion rather than as a set of uncoordinated activities.
Rather than process driving development, it is the context of the educational components which determine the members of development teams in a targeted and effective manner. Ideally, these teams would remain for the duration of the project, potentially over a number of semesters.
(Sims, 2008 p.3)
To achieve this goal, 3PD specifies a series of "baselines" (2008 p.4) that align with implementation iterations – the first focusing on building functional and essential course components, the second on enhancement or interactivity, and the third to ongoing maintenance of the courseware (see Figure 1). These three phases of development integrate systems-based methodological approaches to content development, scaffolding of contributors, and quality assurance.
Figure 1: Three-Phase Design & Scaffolding (after Sims & Jones, 2003)
[Click to enlarge]
According to Sims and Jones, Phase 1 is a predelivery mode, which involves the gathering and preparation of web-based teaching resources, learning channel, specifying assessment-based outcomes, preferred teaching modality, and learning/learner activities designed to attain the prescribed outcomes. Three-phase Design enables a teacher with minimal experience in Web-based training and learning environments to access "functional learning structures" (Sims, 2008 p.4) and in-team expertise from the Developers and the Educational Designers in the group.
Phase 2 (Enhancement) is the delivery stage in 3PD. The asynchronisity of digital network supported learning, and the object-oriented nature of e-learning is such that modifications can be implemented in courseware on an ongoing basis (for example to take account of new learning materials or new knowledge) to enhance the student’s ability to achieve the learning objectives. The second phase can be in this way to take place during course delivery, with Kirkpatrick Level 1 and Level 2-style feedback from both instructors and learners being used to modify and/or enhance delivery either continuously. or in a staged manner. For example modifications may be implemented before the beginning of each new semester, based upon the reactions of learners who took the course during the previous semester.
The third stage of 3PD – the maintenance phase – occurs during the "main sequence" (to borrow a term form astronomy) of the course lifecycle. In time, a course will attain a stable state where the teaching strategies and learning activities are working effectively, it’s materials are up-to-date, and the course is taken by sufficient number of learners to make delivery and maintenance cost-effective for the host institution.
Sims (2008) considers that:
The implications of applying the 3PD model is that the original functional system will always be subject to change, and that development environments need to schedule resources for the life-time of that course. The continual process of gathering and incorporating evaluation data caters for the sustainability of the course.
Phase 3 provides an opportunity for a rigorous quality assurance process to be undertaken, and for stakeholders in the course development project to consolidate the instructional design and collaborative skills acquired during the 3PD process: ideally these skills are then applied to the development of a new learning program, where they continue to be refined, with remediation taking place as necessary.
Sims, R. (2006). Beyond instructional design: Making learning design a reality.Journal of Learning Design, 1(2), 1-7. Internet: Available from: http://www.jld.qut.edu.au/ Accessed 3 June 2009.
Sims, R., & Jones, D. (2002). Continuous Improvement Through Shared Understanding: Reconceptualising Instructional Design for Online Learning. Proceedings of the 2002 ascilite conference: winds of change in the sea of learning: charting the course of digital education. Internet: Available from: http://www.ascilite.org.au/conferences/auckland02/proceedings/papers/162.pdf Accessed 3 June 2009
Sims, R., & Jones, D. (2003). Where practice informs theory: Reshaping instructional design for academic communities of practice in online teaching and learning. Information Technology, Education and Society, 4(1), 3-20.
Sims, R. (2008). From three-phase to proactive learning design: Creating effective online teaching and learning environments, in J. Willis (Ed), Constructivist Instructional Design (C-ID): Foundations, Models, and Practical Examples.
Sims, R. Analysis of Three Instructional Design Models. Internet: Available from: http://www.de-research.com/PhDFinalPapers/CT_3IDModels.pdf Accessed 1 June 2009
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