It’s a fair question – organisations are time poor. They are making an investment in their staff’s learning and development for one overriding purpose: to make their staff more effective, efficient and productive. Time is money. Taking staff ‘offline’ to attend training is a significant investment and that’s not counting either the time of another staff member designing, developing and delivering the training or the cost of bringing an external trainer in.
'We can only take our workers offline for an hour and we want them to learn how to use the new business information system''
So what’s the answer? How much can you fit into your training program?
The answer is in understanding:
- the purpose of instructional design
- your training program is not a Tardis! (it’s not bigger on the inside than the outside, you can’t just keep cramming more and more in)
In my blog, ‘I’m an instructional design tragic', I shared these explanations:
- The process by which instruction is improved through the analysis of learning needs and systematic development of learning materials
- The practice of creating instructional experiences which make the acquisition of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective and appealing…Informed by pedagogically and andragogically sound principles’
The real question is: Do you want your participants to actually learn something?
One of the keys to successful instructional design is PACE (a close relative of chunking & sequencing).
Pace is about:
- How fast can you go?
- How much content can you fit into the time you have
- How much can you realistically expect your people to learn?
- juggling your organisations expectations (which are often ambitious)
- the natural limitations of your learners’ brains (I’ll talk about this in my next blog).
Starts at the beginning of the instructional design process – it’s in the scope of the program, your target group profile, the complexity of the topic and the size of the group. It’s about managing the learners’ expectations so at they understand the whole story of what the program is about, how it’s going to run and what they can do to get the most out of the learning on offer. It's about managing the organisations expectations so they can get what they are seeking out of the training.
Here are some questions to ask yourself to help you work out your pace:
- By the end of the program what will the learners be expected to know and do? (What are your learning outcomes?)
- How much time do you have?
- How complex is the topic? For example, is this a task focused topic or is there an expectation that the learners will be able to exercise judgement and discretion once they’ve done the training e.g. to make decisions or solve problems.
- What existing level of skills and knowledge do the learners have?
- What assumptions can you make about what needs to be covered in detail and what can just be referenced?
- How do you want them to learn? For example, are you planning any activities? A field trip?
- Do you need to factor in thinking time?
Remember: Your training program is not a Tardis! There are limits to how much you can fit in. It’s about finding the balance to get the best learning value both for the learners and the organisation.
Join me to learn about instructional design so you can confidently design quality learning programs that get results. Book now for Instructional Design Essentials at AITD (Australian Institute of Training and Development) - Hobart 27 October - Melbourne 11 November