Sometimes we don’t have the luxury of being able to conduct an extensive learning needs analysis eg where surveys are conducted, focus groups run and/or individual interviews held. Sometimes all you have is a manager telling you they’re people need training and that you, as the instructional designer, need to do something about it, preferably sooner rather than later and potentially with no additional resources or budget.
Rapid instructional design doesn’t mean that you don’t analyse, but it does mean that you need to get to the heart of the issue as quickly as you can: you need to understand what the problem is and work out whether training is the solution.
You need to talk with that manager (or team leader, or whoever it was who said ‘we need to organise some training’. What is the problem? What evidence is there that the problem exists? Too often organisations think that training will solve ALL their problems but training can’t be all things to all people. For example, if the real problem is about accountability then holding staff to account is the solution, not giving staff more training (although you may uncover a secondary training need eg the team leaders or managers are the ones who need training on how to have challenging conversations).
So you have confirmed that training will help address the problem. What next?
Start with the end in mind – before you do anything else, confirm the learning objectives for your program. When people have attended your training what will be different? Better? More efficient? Know what the end state is before you start doing any design. This will also give you the scope for your learning program and will help you manage expectations.
Once you have a clear and agreed end state, then its time to start designing and developing. Its not uncommon for instructional designers to do these two processes simultaneously. Designing and developing at the same time lets you start pulling materials together as you’re making design decisions and the design decisions you make will influence the materials you collect – it becomes an iterative process.
Stay on track – don’t get too caught up in the ‘nice to knows and nice to dos’ – you need to be pragmatic. What are the ‘must knows and must dos’? These are the most important things your learning program needs to achieve.
Keep it simple – a simple, solid instructional design that delivers the desired learning outcomes is more important than a more experimental design which could blow out your timelines and may or may not deliver the learning outcomes.
So, to get into Rapid Instructional Design: start with the end in mind, confirm that learning will solve the problem, design and develop simultaneously, stay focussed and keep it simple.
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