How many words is it worth?

Long before a group of people gather in a room or online to take a training, the training design process begins. At some point during that process, an idea of what that training will eventually look like is generated and subsequently explained.

The creative process varies; both by person and by project. Various tools help designers and developers work to get to the final stages of training. One process I like to do during the training development process is storyboarding. A storyboard is basically a few frames of images, usually with some text, that graphically represent a sequence. In the context of Instructional Design, it is the sequence of your training. I think of it like a lesson plan comic strip.   Continue reading

Instructional Design Lessons from a Stupid Parking Ticket

Ticket

I walked out of a meeting that ran 10 minutes long yesterday and I found a parking ticket on my windshield. I now owe the city of Seattle $47.00.

The thoughtful people at the Municipal Court have offered me a variety of ways to make sure I can pay. There’s a website I can go to. I can call a phone number. I can pay in person. They even left an envelope (though it’s not a postage paid envelope, so I’d still need a stamp) in the event I wanted to mail a check.

Basically, they’ve made it super easy for me to pay. And this is an important design element for anyone developing a training program.   Continue reading

“Time can only be spent… it can’t be saved for later.”

This quote has been bouncing around in my head ever since I read these words in a letter that my father sent to me while I was in the Peace Corps. I must have written to him and alluded to the idea that I was already counting down the number of days I had left before I could come home… and this was after only about 3 months had been completed of my 24 month service.

It changed how I look at any project that I’m working on.

I’m reminded of my father’s words every day when I drive by a neighbor’s house:

Countdown

Like much of the country, they’re counting down the days until the Trump presidency finally ends. Every once in a while, I wonder if my learners ever feel the same way during a training session.  Continue reading

Well-designed training has something for a range of experience levels

Evolution

A guiding principle for good instructional design is to be sure that you know your audience and design something that meets their specific needs.

If you know that your audience is relatively inexperienced, then you need to make sure the basics are covered. If your audience is quite tenured, then advanced skill building would be in order.

What happens when you’re not quite sure who is planning to show up (for example, when you have to design for a conference session)? What happens when you’re told that your audience will have a broad range of experiences?   Continue reading

Is it really a train the “trainer” session? Or is it a train the “SME” session?

sme-vs-trainer

Last week I was talking with a colleague who made a distinction between what she perceives her team as doing compared to what some other teams do. She said: “We really view our team as educators, while there are other teams that get out into the field and don’t even care about who the audience is, they simply have a slide deck and they’re going to walk the audience through the slide deck. We call them presenters, as opposed to educators.”

I normally don’t get too caught up in language and vocabulary and semantics, but this was an important point. Perhaps more importantly, this was coming from an operational manager, not someone in the L&D department. This wasn’t just “inside baseball” talk among training geeks. Continue reading

If you can’t draw it, you don’t understand it

Stick Figure

There’s a school of thought that says: if you can’t draw it, you don’t understand it.

This was a concept that was introduced to me about 7 or 8 years ago during a strategic planning session in which the facilitator asked us to draw an intractable problem we were looking to solve. We couldn’t use words, only images (even if only stick figures).

I found it was a very powerful exercise, Continue reading