Asset 1300 px

4D Process

Our 4D process was born out of a single idea. What if, starting today, we assumed we knew nothing? What if we started with the outcome in mind, then ignoring what we think we know, we create the best possible way to reach that outcome? We remain informed by our expertise and experience, not controlled by them. The result is a highly collaborative and fluid process, with end results that delight clients and learners alike, while engaging students and exceeding performance goals.


Preparation: Information gathering. We bring all resources together; people, materials, stakeholders, and developers. We then concentrate on going beyond what’s needed. Exceeding performance goals is a baked-in part of the process. All of this is filtered though a hundred questions, building a unique picture of the path we will take. Designing vs. Doing. It’s like breakfast. It’s where we start every time, and it’s the most important meal of the day.

Concurrent-Iterative Design:

Our SmartStart RDM process engages visual communication immediately. We come from both a marketing and instructional design model. Our marketing brain informs us to create a visual narrative that best meets our learner audience. We do this so that the very fabric of the course itself becomes a teaching tool. We blend in color psychology, heat mapping, and many other principles to ensure that learners are captured and engaged at new levels. We do this at the very beginning of every project. We work closely with our clients to make sure that they love what they are getting while we create a unique visual language and style guide for each and every project.


For us, Development starts before Design finishes. From the kickoff, we begin developing the visual and functional framework for every project. We brainstorm and sketch, while applying design thinking to the desired outcome. Again, from the Designing vs. Doing model, when we take a step, it‘s the right step. We hate surprises and for the most part, so do our clients. Therefore the development process focuses on creating a shared language and narrative that allows the client to know and understand exactly where we are all going. Also, ultimately, this allows us to be faster and frequently significantly more economical than our competitors.

Our SmartStarts RDM Development process is fast and highly visual. We want hands on working examples and models of the final result early on. Our Alpha phase then serves as confirmation of an already established story. In many situations, our Alpha courses are accepted for immediate release by our clients, cutting valuable time and resources from the process.

From our marketing background we ask ourselves: ‘if this course was a brand, what would it be, and how best do we accomplish the brand's goals?' The best and most technically correct course in the world will fail if it does not engage its audience and get the learner to interact.

Also, we are on average 40% faster and 33% more cost effective than our clients' previous vendors - something we are very proud of.


Having clearly defined where we are going at the beginning of a project, we deploy sequentially, and often. We want to get courseware into the hands of test audiences as soon as possible. With the best will in the world, we cannot anticipate every learner experience and response. By tracking learner movement, engagement, success, and response as learners take courses, we are able to learn massive amounts.


The dissection of a project takes place all the way through. We remain highly aware of the process and constantly question what we are learning and how we could achieve our goals better, faster and more effectively.

Armed with data from testing and deployment, we forensically dissect what we have learned. We allow that information to drive change, iterating and improving courses immediately, as well as learning how to be better at what we do now, and on future projects. By learning directly from our audience and not assuming anything, we create learning that engages them at new levels, ultimately creating interactive experiences that delight learners and clients alike. We don’t do ANYTHING without a reason; not a mouse click, not a period, not one instructional or design choice. Every aspect of every course is thought out, tested, and proven or changed. 


Now our first choice...

“We chose ilx because of their design and evelopment model. Other vendors were stuck in the last decade, using 3 column word formats and the like to design courses. The ilx module is visual and immediate. We saw results within days and felt that we knew what the outcome would be all through the project. This helped us be confident in the product and the relationship. Over time, our experience with ilx has been so consistently positive, they are now our first choice as a training vendor.”

- Healthstream

Delivered the impossible...

“We had an idea. Something crazy that we dreamed up that didn’t think was possible. We wanted a virtual version of our HQ as the main user interface, allowing the user to move from department to department, fulfilling each of the training requirements. ilx took the idea and improved on it. The outcome is amazing.”

- Paul Hughes, Avis Europe

Learner retention and engagement doubled...

“We have our own in-house development team, but due to a new product push, we needed to engage an outside vendor to help us keep up with a sudden increase in workload. At first we were concerned that a vendor may not be able to match the quality of our in-house team, and that they would struggle to fit into our established workflow. Our concerns could not have been further from the truth. ilx created and delivered a huge amount of work in a very short time. They raised the bar on what was possible for us and became an extension of our organisation. Learner engagement and retention doubled. The standard they set has become our new benchmark.”

- Applied Educational Systems

Our trusted partner...

“We met ilx under somewhat stressful circumstances when a previous vendor had let us down. We were somewhat gun shy. We needent have worried. Over the last 4 years, ilx has become our trusted partner in delivering our massive library of learning world wide. They collaborate so closely with us, and have immersed themselves so well in our culture that we now rely on them to produce programs and results with greatly reduced management on our part. They take such a high degree of ownership and responsibility that we simply could not meet our production schedules without them.”

- NACE International

Trimmed development times by nearly 35%...

“Working with ilx has helped us trim our development times by nearly 35 percent. They are very responsive, easily accessible, and excellent in what they do.”

- Healthstream