The complexities of customized training are abundant and challenging to navigate. We hear regularly from businesses that want to offer training but just are not sure where to start and who should be involved. They have a goal and an end game but no plan on how to achieve it. IPS recommends that you consider working with either an internal or an outsourced instructional designer.
Instructional Designers (IDs) are the true architects that bridge the gap between the current state and the desired state of the learners.
IDs are skilled in assessing the psychological principles of learning for the training audience. The cognitive principle for instance, is about understanding the learner and how to most effectively transfer knowledge according to their learning style. In practice, as an example, curriculum will be designed for the type of delivery most beneficial to the learner, whether that is traditional instructor-led, distance learning, online, or a hybrid. This is all part of the UX, or User Experience.
Watch a short introduction to some of the models Instructional Designers use in creating content to meet the needs of the learner on LinkedIn Learning Library titled Instructional Design: Models of ID by Shea Hanson.
To craft an impactful training program IDs ensure the audience is assessed for their learning style and content delivered in the right context. The goal is to ensure the learners know what to do, have the tools to do it, have authority to do it, want to do it, and therefore, can do it successfully. Here are a couple points to consider:
- Make the training accessible to prevent an engagement barrier.
- Ensure the learner can apply the concepts of the training into their real world environment.
- Create a safe learning space with room for error and redirection.
Is it the sole responsibility of the Instructional Designer to determine what delivery method will be the most impactful? No, but IDs are responsible for answering for mal-alignment in the delivery model.
One innovative idea for IDs to get the information about learners they need was highlighted in the Society for Human Resource Management article by Kathy Gurchiek. The solution was crowdsourcing. This article demonstrates the success Boeing had using surveys to determine the types of training employees desired. This not only helped with determining the subject matter of the training but also how it would be delivered including modern, accessible learning and support for first-line leaders. Another benefit was in not creating training that would go unused because of irrelevance to an employee’s job or their adoption style.
The role of an Instructional Designer and their work may not fulfill the complete solution but their contribution is essential to create a solid bedrock for strategic success. Next time you have a training plan in front of you think about the planning process behind it and you will increase your appreciation of the role of the Instructional Designer. Do you have someone in your business who can fulfill this role?
Here at IPS, we strive to understand our training audience early in the design phase since we work with such a wide variety of adult learners with different learning needs and styles, in such varied contexts. Our team is made up of experienced talent to help organizations fulfill this critical role when rolling out a program.