Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

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Project Schedule and Estimating Activity Duration

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Planning an instructional design project requires that the project manager, instructional designer, or person in charge of conducting the project to an end applies skills of project management while using the systematic and iterative approach of an instructional design model to ensure proper learning techniques and strategies will be integrated in the final refined solution (Harvey, 2005).

In order to do this in an organized way I have found two resources that can help me in getting my instructional design project schedule ready:

The first resource I found is an “Action mapping for teams” in Cathy Moore blog (2016).


This resource consists on a workflow chart to identify project tasks, persons responsible for each task, and deliverables.

What I liked about this tool is that it begins with three initial steps to determine if training is actually required instead of jumping straight away with steps towards to the design of an instructional solution. Additionally, these initial steps are helpful to have a goal statement which sometimes might get lost in advanced phases of any project. And it allows to have a list of behaviors or what is desired and expected from learners to achieve at the end.

Depending on those first steps, a decision will be made in regards to proceeding or not with a training solution. And if training is the solution, then the chart has a series of tasks to start the designing processes of the solution.

The most useful feature I found in this tool is that it is designed to include iterations and reviews of the prototypes developed until it is refined and approved to a final version. And the use of some simple icons to indicate key deliverables, who is responsible for taking decisions or generate content, and a reminder of stakeholders that should be included for certain tasks.

I would use this tool to define each task of my instructional design projects, assign the tasks to team members, and identify deliverables for each task. I would add to this tool another column to specify duration of each task and expected time for deliverables.

Finally, I can support the development of my project plan with an interactive graphic in Cathy Moore blog (2016) to illustrate its use in a more graphical way.


Action Mapping. Source:

The second resource I found is a “High level eLearning project plan” in “The eLearning Network” Website (2017).


This second resource is a series of charts with specific tasks for each step of the ADDIE instructional design model. For example, in the “analysis” step includes tasks such as review the storyboard, review scope of work, and get sign-off which are relevant steps of a project management approach.

What I found most useful about this tool is that in the context of the ADDIE model it has very specific tasks including resources required for each task. And the tool has already a good list of tasks for the development of an online learning solution, but this can be easily adapted to any other type of instructional solution.

I will be using this tool in parallel or even as a combination with the first tool in order to keep the systematic steps of the ADDIE model. Dr. Stolovich stated “you don’t want to lose track of the ADDIE process because then things can get messy” (Laureate Education, n.d). Thus it is important to keep using an instructional design model as a framework while incorporating all the information necessary to manage a project successfully.


Cathy Moore. (2016). New job aid summarizes action mapping for teams. [Blog post]. Retrieved from The eLearning Network. (2017). eLearning project plan sample. Retrieved from

Harvey, B. (2005). Learning objects and instructional design. International Review of Research in Open and Distance Learning, 6(2),. Athabasca University Press.

Laureate Education, Inc. (Executive Producer). (n.d). Creating a project schedule [Video file]. Retrieved from


About Author


I am an electronic engineer curious about the learning and development field. I think there are many opportunities out there to fully develop our potentials.


Ryan Wiley

February 5, 2017at 5:39 pm

Hi Thais,
I really liked all of those Captivate and Articulate templates. To be honest, though, those are software programs that I am really not very good at, which I think brings up an interesting point. That point is in regards to how much technical and design ability and experience should we have as instructional designers. The obvious answer is that we should have as much as possible. The problem, of course, is that becoming good with these tools takes a very long time. For the time being, I’m focusing more on learning theory and the ID process than I am on becoming a design professional. I wish, though, that I could do both!

James McAdoo

February 10, 2017at 10:10 pm


Thanks for the introduction to the resource “action mapping for teams”. I process information visually so I loved the use of simple icons as a visual representation of where you are at in the process. I also like the interactive graphic you shared in the post but I work in a very conservative corporate setting and I’m not sure I could include that type of document as part of my project plan. Not sure that it would be embraced by the enterprise.

Malik Harness

February 24, 2017at 5:32 pm


Thank you for introducing me to these tools and templates. I found these to be excellent resources which I feel would make the Project Management more organized and well managed.

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