WHY GOOD INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN MATTERS?

Training employees is costly. When you account for materials, travel, time off the floor or off the phones, etc., the costs add up. The instructional design must be sound if there is to be a positive return on investment.

 

WHY GOOD INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN MATTERS?

Training employees is costly. When you account for materials, travel, time off the floor or off the phones, etc., the costs add up. The good instructional design must be sound if there is to be a positive return on investment. Skilled facilitators can do much to make a course enjoyable and meaningful, but if that course isn’t thoughtfully designed in a way that will improve or enhance employee performance, it’s like throwing money out the window. 

First let's talk about what instructional design (ID) is and isn't. Texas University defines ID as the process of analyzing...wait, let's skip the academic speak. Instructional design is the way that we organize eLearning. It's the way we take a block of content and refine it into a learning project with value, strategy, goals, and measurable outcomes. Think of an eLearning instructional designer like a sculptor; they take blocks of concrete (the content), work with the commissioner (your company) and turn it into something valuable. 

I've seen projects without good Instructional Design more times than I can remember. The expertise is there, the subject matter experts are there, the content is all prepped...and it flops. The learners don't come away with new knowledge or skills. Time and money down the drain. It's like walking into a classroom, handing the students a book and saying "learn." Maybe it'd save some time and money if you didn't hire a teacher, but would it work? Nope. That's why we need ID taken seriously.

But equally, the poetic approach above might not go down well in an L&D meeting, and metaphors don't work on people concerned with the bottom line. So here are some very practical and clear points to show your boss and help your company understand the 'why' of good instructional design and give it the respect it deserves.

 

 

1) Good Instructional Design helps you and your learners to understand your business

When an instructional designer works with a company, they collaborate with the Subject Matter Experts (SME) and analyze the material. This doesn't just mean that the learners get accurate info, it gives the SME an outside perspective and helps in clarifying, summarizing, and streamlining your business processes. Even the experts get to reflect on what the end-goal of an eLearning project is. In other words, a good IDer puts everyone on the same page.

 

2) Good Instructional Design Maximizes Learner Engagement

A good Instructional Designer takes the time to understand their audience. Why is that important? Because if you take a group of jazz fans to a Justin Bieber concert, they're not going to be clapping.

Good Instructional Designers have the know-how and skills to create and organize activities that are relevant, appealing, and give the course credibility. When learners believe in what they are doing as a valuable learning experience, they'll be more engaged and take on board the knowledge that you're offering more easily. Overall, this means greater return on investment.

Good Instructional Designers also understand how the memory works, how the brain learns and create their courses accordingly. eLearning courses that are not designed with these principles in mind can be frustrating to students. 

 

3) Instructional Designers Know How to Select and Prioritize

It's not enough to be able to organize content effectively. In the modern world, we're bombarded with information every day - emails, text messages, meetings, and the Internet push us all to sensory overload sometimes. If you try and force your learners to do too much and don't identify what's important and relevant to them, you'll increase anxiety and decrease business performance.

I've seen eLearning programs that provide detailed overviews of accounting to entry-level receptionists. While this one is an obvious mistake, an Instructional Designer can pick out the relevance of materials in a way that only a trained specialist can. They get to decide which content is must-know (critical to  achieving the learning outcomes), should-know (important background information that you can give away as handouts), and could-know (nice-to-know information that you may even omit from the course) information. This way, they can present the right information at the right time to the right learners and empower students to decide what and where they want to learn.

 

4) Training is a science, not an art

eLearning projects should be scientific and methodical. Instructional Designers don't just bring practical development skills to the table; they also have access to a wealth of theoretical knowledge and models. This informs the program, based on evidence of what method of delivery is most effective. Doing things the right way leads to better learning outcomes, which honestly, is what we need to provide when we invest time and money in a training program.

 

5) Instructional Designers don't just get results; they measure them too

Creating learning objectives isn't as easy as saying "I want them to be better at this."

Good learning objectives have to be measurable and performance-based, and they have to demonstrate a real improvement. Instructional Design encompasses some different methods to analyze exactly what learners have gained from an eLearning program.

Without this clear outline, guidance, and measurement of objectives, you can't know if a learning project has been successful. That's why ID is crucial to the success of developing your workforce in an increasingly knowledge-based economy.

 

How we can help you in making your eLearning courses a positive return on investment?


We offer optional e-learning development, instructional design and advisory services on the breadth of portal-related issues. Let IBI be your outsourcing partner in e-learning design, and deployment. We transform your subject matter content into effective e-learning. We deliver your e-learning programs in a custom, private-branded portal, mimicking your corporate site look and feel.  Look to IBI for all your e-learning requirements.

You can readily create and maintain your web training on-demand courseware, but if you prefer, we can provide optional outsourced professional eLearning services - from courseware design down to the details of uploading your content. Take advantage of our extensive experience to help you plan, produce and deploy your online training content, exams or assessment instruments in a format effective for on-line delivery. We work with you to address your business requirements in any of these areas: 

  •     Assessing curriculum and trainingware with learning and business objectives.
  •     Strategizing e-learning solutions, planning curriculum, defining training tracks
  •     Instructional design for e-learning effectiveness including self-study online, synchronous online events, face-to-face, or blended formats.
  •     Test and survey design
  •     Deliver high-impact and effective learning assets based on solid creative instructional design.
  •     Integrate existing off-the-shelf components, custom solutions, or a combination of both.
     

 

 

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