Notebook and pen the reads "less" and "more"
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December 27, 2023

Revamping Your Instructional Design Approach: A New Year's Resolution Guide

Ah, it's that time of year again—New Year's Resolutions! As we're embarking on this tradition of doing more good and less not-so-good, it prompts a reflection on our roles as Instructional Designers. What should we do more of, and what should we steer clear of? Let’s dive into these resolutions, beginning with the positive steps:

Define the Problem: Before diving too deep, it's vital to pinpoint the problem. Ask critical questions of your stakeholders: “What is the performance problem? What actions should be stopped or encouraged?” And, don’t jump to training as the immediate solution. If the problem doesn’t root from a lack of knowledge or skill, training might not be the remedy.

Create Clear Performance Objectives: This cannot be stressed enough. Dedicate ample time to defining the training's desired outcomes. Use the action, condition, criteria formula to delineate expected behaviors or performance outcomes. Trust me; it's a formula that works.

Partner with SMEs: Truly partner with your subject matter experts. Develop strong rapport by understanding their expertise and valuing their contributions. Get to know them during project kickoff by asking about their work style and communication preference. Explain your process to them. Educate them. This will help you establish yourself as credible and effective. 

Now, shifting focus to the not-so-good practices:

Adding Overwhelming Content: Overloading learners with excessive, irrelevant content is a definite no-no. Ensure all content serves a clear purpose and directly ties back to an objective. If it doesn't, consider ditching it or tucking it away in an appendix. We all know how SMEs love holding onto their content!

Ignoring Accessibility: Accessibility standards must not be overlooked. Guaranteeing that courses cater to learners with disabilities by adhering to accessibility guidelines is crucial. All learners should have equal access to the material, and this aspect should never be ignored.

Omitting Emotion: Emotional connections foster higher engagement levels. When instructional materials evoke emotions such as curiosity, interest, or empathy, learners are more likely to engage. If they’ve engaged, they’re more like to remember, leading to better retention of information. 

Embracing these resolutions can profoundly impact your instructional design approach, setting the tone for a more effective and inclusive learning experience. This New Year, let's revamp our strategies, striking the right balance between the good and not-so-good practices in instructional design!


Jenny Fedullo

By Jenny Fedullo, Director, Learning Experience

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