Developing a Learning Culture

Why We Integrate Our Instructional Design and Product Design Teams

In most cases (and especially for in-house instructional design situations) the instructional design and product design and development teams operate side-by-side. Each is stored neatly in its box, and any collaboration happens in an “over the wall” type of interaction.

At eLearning Mind, we’ve rethought the way that our ID and multimedia design departments work together, and we realized that these teams are interdependent and collaborating over a wall isn’t the most effective way to get the most out of each. Here’s the methodology our entire team follows. Today, our ID and D&D departments are less divided and less distinguishable from one another: We’ve encouraged out instructional designers to become experts in development and our developers to become stellar instructional designers. Why?

To produce more targeted solutions for the user’s learning needs.

Reason #1: Learner-Centered Design

When instructional design and development come together as one seamless process, the main beneficiary is definitely the learner. Each department has a specific viewpoint that when combined, creates solutions that are better suited to the way individuals actually access information.

Case in point: We recently had a client who needed us to create scenarios to teach their sales associates how to respond and recommend products to customers on the sales floor. Previously, we may have had instructional design wireframe a solution and send it over to development for execution. Our new model, however, put us in a position to talk first to the ID team to conduct analysis to find out what learners already knew and what they still needed to know, as well as how they’d access information before the design department storyboarded a visual method for delivery.

The result of the collaboration was a scenario-based module where learners could listen to real-life conversations and the practice selecting the best product for the customer. Together, ID and development envisioned the learning environment to create the best possible solution.

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Reason #2: More Targeted Designs

Combining ID and D&D means we can better target the exact gaps left in learning.

Instructional designers can analyze current initiatives and compare them with past outcomes utilizing big data. That information is then shared with designers so that when creating new modules, they’re not repeating past mistake in storyboarding and development.

Reason #3: Playing to Department Strengths

When ID and development were siloed away from one another, we weren’t taking advantage of the talent, strengths, and skills each had to offer. If the design and development team was made up of mostly visual artists, for example, why was instructional design in charge of wireframing and storyboarding? We flipped the model on its head so that each department was playing to its strengths.

With ID applying their analysis and architecture to creating a game plan, D&D was better able to use their talents to create a module around the look and feel that clients wanted to create. It only made sense to put ID in front of content mapping and outcome and then have our visual designers create the content and put all the pieces in place.

By changing the way our departments work together, we’re playing to everyone’s strengths for the best product every time. Instead of making development and instructional design a two-step, two-department process, allowing more collaboration and back-and-forth yields better results and happier learners.


We help businesses:
  • Increase learning retention rates for product knowledge and skills.
  • Engage, on-board and retain their millennial workforce
  • Discover and implement the right learning strategy (microlearning, gamification, mlearning, and more)
  • Build learning that fosters innovation
  • Teach highly sought after soft skills
  • Create effective customer education
  • And whole lot more…
Let us know what you are working on here, and our team of learning experts, instructional designers, and talented artists will craft learning that engages and sticks with your learners to foster dynamic and measurable solutions.