Thursday, November 29, 2012

Less Instructional Design May Result In More Learning

Once clear business and learning outcomes have been identified, most training functions follow four age-old steps to make training happen:

  1. Subject-matter experts share the content and knowledge

  2. Instructional designers put an approach together

  3. Facilitators deliver the training

  4. Participants master it – hopefully through relevant practice and helpful performance feedback.
Done right, this instructional design approach can be accomplished quickly and effectively. Done wrong, it can take weeks, if not months, and miss the true business needs while disengaging participants.

One approach to increase speed and effectiveness is to transform participants into subject matter experts and facilitators as part of your instructional design. This forces participants to get involved in the creation of the material and outcomes. It also lifts the effectiveness of learning and can be quickly adapted to different audiences.

Here’s one simple example of how this approach can be applied.

  • Instead of having a subject matter expert present material to participants (as their eyes glaze over), have the participants create a list of questions to try to stump the expert during a question and answer session.
The idea is to engage your participants to create and learn with each other. It is just one approach to faster, cheaper and better instructional design.

To mitigate risks and stay on point, we recommend giving learners partial-design responsibility within an overall design construct rather than the total-design responsibility.

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