Instructional Design: Who, What, Where, When and Why

When developing continuing education and training for a business it is important to have an understanding of instructional design. Instructional Design is the process of identifying the learning needs of a population and crafting content to address those needs. Essentially, it entails answering the five "Wh" questions.


Who is Being Trained?

Knowing your audience is the first step to consider when setting up training. Are all members of the company in need of the training? Do staffers have equivalent familiarity and background on the subject? Answering these questions will help tailor the presentation. If the audience is at different levels then it may be appropriate to break the instruction into alternate tracks. New hires may need a full blown, daylong orientation, while long-term employees require just a brief overview of changes in policy.

What is Being Taught?

Knowing the subject matter will help determine the best means of delivery. Some content can be viewed in a brief slide deck on each employee's desktop. Other material may require live demonstrations, have lengthy videos included or benefit from a question and answer session. The complexity of the subject will often dictate the best design.

Where Will Learning Take Place?

The type of training that can be done on the floor of a factory is limited. Instructors must take location into consideration and look at what materials they and their audience will have at their disposal. If learners are accessing the course online that means the full power of the Internet is available. Multi-media design may be the best option for capturing the learner's attention and delivering the message.

When Will Training Occur?

Sometimes training is necessary because a new billing software is being deployed or there has been a change in company policy. All employees would need training at approximately the same time in such circumstances. In other situations training may be on a rolling basis tied to an individual's hire date. Continuing education is frequently an annual requirement with no set time frames. Instructional design should take into account these variations in timing to best meet company needs and maximize efficiency.

Why is the Instruction Offered?

Some training is obvious. All employees need to know how to login to their computers. Depending on the industry, there may be other less obvious reasons for training on procedures. Companies that perform government contracts have additional requirements dictated by their work order. Those in the technology field frequently have serious constraints imposed by non-disclosure agreements. When training is necessary to meet the demands of a third party, it is even more critical to insure the content and delivery is suitable and well-designed. Documenting that all parties have participated in the learning is usually required as well.

If your institution is struggling with how to meet the ongoing educational needs of your workforce, or would like to learn more about instructional design and how it can benefit your enterprise please contact us via our website or any of our social media channels: Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn. iSpring Solutions is a leader in e-Learning presentation software.

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