June 26, 2004

COURSE ANALYSIS: Why Analysis Matters

Analysis is in many ways the most important phase of course development, but too often novice developers who are eager to start writing or creating a graphic interface dive right into the design phase without performing an adequate analysis.

They almost always suffer for it later.

As you can see from the outline presented here (click the image to enlarge it), the decisions you make during analysis affect every key aspect of your course. If you rush into design and development without making sure you've addressed all of these issues, you're likely to face one or more of the following problems:

  • A course that doesn't teach what you want it to
  • Content that needs to be revised almost as soon as it's developed
  • An interface that students don't respond well to
  • Technology that doesn't meet your (or your students') needs
  • A system that you can't easily maintain
  • Budget and schedule overruns
  • Frustrated and unhappy students and staff
  • A course that is discontinued because it is ineffective.

In the end, all this translates into wasted time, effort, and money.

Of course, no matter how many times I say this to first-time developers, there's no teacher like experience. The single most common comment I get from former participants in my classes is: "I just developed my first course module and I wasted soooo much time and energy. Now I know what you meant about performing an adequate analysis."

Posted by Joanne Tzanis at 11:13 PM |