Instructional Design 101: Best Practices

Effective training begins with a strong course design. However, figuring out how to create the content and determining how to deliver it to learners is often challenging. Along with having to accommodate a range of learning styles, instructional design trends and learner preferences change with surprising speed. Fortunately, it’s possible to get moving in the right direction. By embracing various instructional design best practices, curating relevant content and delivering it in an engaging way is far easier, leading to better overall results and a strong ROI. If you aren’t sure where to begin, here are some critical instructional design best practices that can serve as solid starting points.

Identify Goals for Every Course

Ultimately, every single course should be connected to at least one goal. For example, modules might target a specific skill with the goal of enhancing a particular capability within a team. Alternatively, increasing knowledge levels regarding a new practice, procedure, or regulation may be the objective. By having a goal, you can ensure that every component of the course is focused on it. This creates a more streamlined learning experience, as every aspect is working toward a core objective.

Correlate Goals with KPIs

Having goals is essential, but you also need to choose key performance indicators that will help you gauge the success of the training. This makes comprehension, effectiveness, and return on investment (ROI) easier to measure while also keeping future assessments data-driven and objective.

Embrace Cascading Microlearning

Microlearning is the preferred approach for many organizations, and with good reason. Smaller, highly-focused modules are easier to digest, increasing knowledge retention and skill acquisition. Additionally, since each course takes less time, it fits better into busy schedules. However, if you have bigger goals that will require multiple steps, don’t look at each course in isolation. Instead, use a cascading approach, ensuring each module flows logically into the next. This allows learners to advance through larger courses with greater ease, as each lesson builds upon the previous one.

Make Relevancy a Priority

Ideally, courses should provide a learner with value. Since not all learners will have the same needs, it’s wise to ensure that broader learning plans are targeted to individual jobs or departments. Overall, that increases relevancy, which can boost engagement. Plus, it ensures that learners aren’t wasting time on information they don’t need, improving efficiency.

Build the Right Design Team

When you’re creating new training, it’s common to turn to learning and development (L&D) professionals early in the process. However, your full design team should include others, ensuring the right perspectives are represented during the early stages of the project. Make sure to include relevant department heads and managers who oversee teams that would engage in the training. Often, they can provide critical expertise into key subject areas that the training will cover, ensuring it’s accurate and comprehensive. Additionally, you may want to speak to a few target learners. This allows you to evaluate learner preferences and engagement from the beginning, increasing the odds that the training will provide ample value.

Are You Preparing to Update Your Training Program?

At Clarity, we have nearly 30 years of experience in L&D, giving us the knowledge and expertise to update your training in accordance with various instructional design best practices. Plus, if you’re trying to expand your internal L&D team, Clarity can be your candidate search ally, connecting you with top talent right when you need them. If you want to partner with leading L&D professionals, Clarity Consultants is here. Contact us today. This is 12 1 1 1

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