Working at the intersection of training and technology is a rewarding but challenging place to be these days. The way in which we develop and deliver instruction is going through an irreversible transformation. The constantly evolving online e-learning landscape is forcing continuous growth, learning, and adapting to different kinds of technologies and methods including learning management systems, personalized learning, and mobile delivery of training materials. Training systems are now often incredibly complex technical systems consisting of multiple interrelated and interacting pieces. It can be challenging to get the technical aspects of a learning system to work together seamlessly toward common goals. But even the best technology is no guarantee of success without the right instruction and training methods. This is where Instructional Design comes into play.
Instructional Design (ID) applies design thinking to the art and science of learning and teaching in order to determine how to best teach a given subject matter; how to discern what methods of training and delivery will be most effective; and how to ensure that the training yields the desired results. At its most basic, Instructional Design (ID) is a framework for training that seeks to answer these questions:
Instructional designers use ID to facilitate change by implementing a system that assesses training needs, creates a framework for the learning processes, builds the environment for the learning experiences, and develops methods of assessment for measuring learning outcomes. Instructional Designers do this by using design models to design, develop, and deliver their instructional products and experiences. Using a design model helps ensure that the instruction is delivered in a consistent and reliable fashion.
There are many different models available to Instructional Designers, but the ADDIE model, with it’s five phases of Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, and Evaluation, is the most common model currently in use.
The ADDIE model starts with analysis. In this phase, the current situation is analysed to determine if there are knowledge gaps that could be improved upon or opportunities that could be taken advantage of through relevant training. At the end of the phase, an Analysis of Training Needs and a Training Plan are prepared that include answers to questions such as:
In the design phase we proceed through the course in a systematic and specific manner. We start with a subject matter analysis and then clearly define course learning objectives, determine our methods for assessment, develop the course content and any exercises and resources to include, choose media to incorporate in the course, decide upon a visual design strategy, and then pull this all together into a lesson plan.
Questions that are addressed in this phase are :
We then develop prototypes/storyboards of the course to act as a blueprint for the course and that highlight the user experience and user interface, and provide an overview of overall look and feel of the course. Prototyping allows for an initial testing phase to iron out any issues that arise and also provides a means to quickly communicate the value of the training with all stakeholders.
In this phase Instructional Developers create the full course based off of the prepared lesson plan and guided by the prototype/storyboards. Any course content and assets created in the design phase are fully fleshed out. Programmers work to develop and/or integrate chosen technologies and perform debugging procedures. The process is iterative and the project is reviewed and revised based on stakeholder feedback. Once the course is approved, a rigorous process of testing the course is completed to ensure there are no errors when using the course.
Implementation starts the process of rolling out the training to the learners. The course is loaded to the live LMS, delivery options are set up, and the course is tested with a pilot group to be sure it functions as anticipated.
A Train the Trainer (AKA T3) session is often also conducted to instruct training facilitators. The T3 training covers the course curriculum, the intended learning outcomes, the method of delivery, any resources such as websites, PDFs or handouts, workbooks, hands-on equipment, or tools that are in place for the learners. This training also completes a review of any technical components the facilitator should be aware of such as learner registration, training the learner on new software or hardware tools, and assessment procedures.
The evaluation phase consists of two parts: formative (in progress) and summative (at the end).
Formative evaluation is present in each stage of the ADDIE process and the course development is adjusted based upon formative feedback as it is being developed.
Summative evaluation consists of assessments designed to assess learning that has happened as a result of the training and to provide opportunities for feedback from the learners. Getting feedback on the courses is important to allow for improving and revising the course content and user experience.
We design the summative evaluation to help answer these questions:
Once we have the summative feedback, we take the information back to the analysis phase and approach revisions to the course in an iterative manner.
Utilizing Instructional Design will improve your training. Using ID methodology in the development of high quality instruction helps by ensuring that the instruction considers the strengths and weaknesses of the learners, ensures an appropriate training delivery method for the instructional content, and allows for the measurement of the outcomes of the training.
Good Instructional Design:
At Edgeworks Creative, we firmly believe that good design makes a difference, and we know how to make a difference with good design. We have a proven track record of success and extensive experience with Instructional Design. We encourage you to view our website and online portfolio at edgeworkscreative.com to gain a sense of our capabilities and see our high-quality products including our Interactive.Training platform.