Developing a Learning Culture

Fast Answers to Your Most-Asked Instructional Design Questions

It’s something we hear often when first working with new clients: “This might be a dumb question, but…” And we’ll stop you right there. Because, in the arena of eLearning, there’s no such thing as a dumb question. Especially when it comes to instructional design questions. 

In fact, some of the most-common queries are the best questions of all, because it proves that you’re thinking beyond traditional training to come up with real solutions for your learners.

Here, we’ll outline a few of the most common questions and their quick and dirty answers, straight from our instructional designers’ mouths.

“What’s the best way to deliver my training?”

The answer is that it really depends on the type of training you’re hoping to deliver. While we like to approach each company with which we work on a case-by-case basis, there are a few rules of thumb to go by when you’re planning out delivery methods.

If the training is procedural, it’s best to make it highly visual and dependent upon media. That’s because there’s not a lot that you can do with the actual content when tackling procedural training: It’s usually step-by-step and prescribed by a need for compliance. Still, using animation and other graphic media, you can make it more interesting and engaging.

Are you trying to train for real-life skills, like customer service or sales? Those go best with scenarios and simulations to show learners the right way to do things.

“What’s wrong with my old training?”

Here’s the thing about training that’s been around for a few years: Technology, society, and even organizations can change quickly. One of the biggest mistakes we often see is when companies present learners with scenarios and training that is outdated. And we don’t just mean out-of-fashion or bad editing, but training that doesn’t relate to younger employees and the way they interact with tech and each other.

Updating training is more than simply inserting new information; it’s updating the look and feel of what learners experience.

“How do I assess my training efforts?”

A better question is probably “What’s worth assessing and what’s not?” Asking that can point out some areas in which you could improve and where you’re doing well. If you’re mostly concerned with improved customer service, for instance, there’s really not much sense in assessing a bunch of memorized information. Instead, taking surveys from customers would be more effective. At the same time, if a course is simply a pass/fail or just requires learner completion, the assessment can be built into the training module. Assessment can be slippery in eLearning, but once you narrow your criteria to include the results you want, it’s easier to come up with an assessment method.

Of course, we get a lot of other questions from our clients, but these are among the most common and some of the easiest to answer.

Hey, training doesn’t have to be complicated. Keep it simple and you’ll come up with more effective, more engaging material for learners.