Are Your Instructional Design “Development Ratios” Total or Partial Views?

When you’ve seen, discussed, calculated “Development Ratios” are your numbers ‘all in” – a total picture of the total costs of all participants in the effort – or is it a partial view – and what does that do for you? The partial view that is?

I’ve been using and complaining about Development Ratios for a long time – having listened to one client’s claim  that they had a 5:1 ratio – versus the “standard” of the day (back in the day) of 40:1 for ILT. They were challenging me to show how I could beat that.

But theirs was a partial view. Good for impressing the bosses, I guess. But somewhat deceiving. The shareholder was paying for/ investing in at a much higher level to develop a standard unit of output. And let’s not even talk about the quality or effectiveness and efficiency of their efforts and results.

My version of ADDIE:

MCD 6 Phases

Here – below – is a job aid I have been using since the late 1980s – this is the 1996 version – and please note that this is for the ISD side, the Supplier side of the numbers only.

Another version for the Customer-side of the effort is pretty much the same with the far-left column including client (customer/stakeholder) roles involved – because if you don’t count their time too – you are only pretending.

How do you roughly calculate what it takes to get what you produce, instructionally?

And what are you using that data for anyway? How important is to have a more “all in” estimate than a “partial” figure – or even better – a “range” estimate?

I come from the school of thought that it is better to understand what the “total costs” are for doing something – compared to the “costs of doing nothing at all.”


That’s how I would look at it if I were the single shareholder – and it was my money we are talking about investing. As any good steward of shareholder equity should.

MCD is covered in these two books:

lean-ISD (1999)

1999 lean-ISD Book Cover

This book is available as a free PDF, a Kindle and a paperback.

Modular Curriculum Development/Acquisition (2011)

2011 d Pb MCD

This book is for sale as a Kindle or paperback.

Both of these books contain a detailed task listing for each of the 6 potential phases of an MCD effort.

Those task listings are where I start in developing a detailed Project Plan for each effort. I adopt what I can – and “should” given the project’s specific requirements and constraints – and then I adapt the rest.

Then I seek approval and resources from the client and other key stakeholders on the PST – Project Steering Team.

THEN we Execute To Plan. As they say.

Guy’s Books

  • For Free: Book PDFs – several books offered as free PDFs – and please note: most are also available “for sale” in either hardbound and/or paperback versions.
  • For Sale: Books – 13 books – some available as hardbound, and others as paperbacks and Kindles.

See the Resource tab for this and other resources on ISD and Performance Improvement.

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