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Instructional Design:
Create Online Training Modules That Work!

If you’re not a learning professional, chances are you haven’t given much thought to instructional design and may not know anything about it. But it’s the key to developing online training programs that are educationally effective.


Instructional design is the process of creating learning experiences that are efficient, effective and appealing. Since anyone can teach something, in some sense we’re all instructional designers. When you show a co-worker how to do something you are unconsciously employing instructional design. It’s the “how” in how you show them. But in that example, chances are you didn’t give much thought to instructional design.


Professional instructional design is intentional. It ensures that the training won’t be a waste of time, will accomplish the learning objectives, will be interesting to the student and increase the likelihood that they will learn from it. It’s so important that there are even elearning instructional design certification programs.


Here are three reasons you should be intentional with instructional design when developing online training programs:


Time is money:

The hidden cost of training is the time employees are off the job and in training. Let’s say you have 200 employees and you need all of them to complete a training course. Some are production workers who average $20/hour in wages. Others are executives who average $50/hour. But the average for all your employees is $35/hour. Now, if the training takes four hours that means the hidden cost of paying your employees to sit through training is $35 x 4 hours x 200 employees, or $28,000 (not to mention the lost opportunity, especially for sales, business development and engineering employees). But what if, through better instructional design, you can reduce the training time to 2 hours? That’s worth $14,000. Instructional design is your friend.


If you can’t be bothered to make it effective, don’t train:

When’s the last time your boss said to you: “Just for fun, let’s develop some training and make everyone take it”. Corporate training doesn’t work that way. If anything it’s just the opposite. We train because something is broken or it’s going to break if we don’t train our people. It’s critical that everyone is trained, that they learn from it, and that they master everything in the training. This is serious, even if we’re incorporating instructional design training games to motivate learners.


So if you don’t have the time or expertise to use intentional instructional design to create online training modules that are effective, don’t train at all. You’ll just be wasting time.


Poor training communicates low expectations:

Every day in every industry we take newly hired employees who are just developing an impression of the company and put them in an orientation class that’s boring, unprofessional and uninspiring. The result? A bunch of new employees who expect that the rest of the company to be as boring, unprofessional and uninspiring as the training.


But what if the training was amazing like the best learning experience ever? Interesting, helpful, professional, inspiring, challenging and exciting? Think all new employees would have higher expectations for their new company? Could you see that completely changing the culture of the company for the better? Intentional instructional design can do that for you.

Promise yourself right now that when you're developing online training programs you will intentionally incorporate professional instructional design by involving top-flight training professionals.

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