Our Approach To Instructional Design
Our instructional design approach is multi-tiered and very extensive. We work from a high level design document, determine the template (look and feel and use a style guide if the client has one, if not, we have one) and then start the documentation development portion of the ADDIE cycle.
TrainSmart’s fully-scalable instructional methodology is based on a proven five-phase instructional design model. TrainSmart’s number one objective is to align your training needs with your business goals and strategies.
Do you think training is the issue? Training doesn’t solve all performance problems. A training need assessment is the process of identifying performance-based problems and pinpointing those problems that can be addressed through training. This type of assessment will determine the performance gap (examining the current performance against the optimal performance) that must be improved to increase productivity, response time, customer satisfaction, etc. A training needs assessment will also evaluate your current training to see if it is relevant as well as establish a direction for future training development. There are many factors that impact performance including: tools, incentives, environment, teams, and access to information. A needs assessment is most important so that the right solution is determined for the problem at hand.
Designing and building a training program is not an easy 1-2-3. You must take into consideration the audience – who will be receiving this training. Group A might be all engineers where Group B might be an entire sales force…the personality and behavioral make up of these two audiences are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Understanding your audience means gathering data through focus groups, interviews, conversations with SMEs, surveys/questionnaires, observing, etc.
Training is only relevant if the audience can apply it to their jobs. It must be task-oriented and focused on improving actual on-the-job performance. A task analysis will help define the training’s performance objectives for the audience.
Delivery Method Analysis
What is the best approach for training? Instructor led, web-based, eLearning, self-study? This analysis will determine what the best style(s) of training is for the target audience. TrainSmart believes in a blended learning approach, which uses a variety of teaching and learning techniques. People learn in all different ways so by reaching out to all types of learners your training will be most effective.
Good communication and organization equals positive, successful results. TrainSmart feels the best practice for project management is to set clear project deliverables that have set milestones along the path to project completion.
A builder would never start building without a blueprint from the architect. Same goes for content development! The course design comes from the analyses, especially the task analysis. Using the performance objectives uncovered from the task analysis, content developers create a whiteboard for the course. This is a preliminary plan for all lessons and modules with their associated performance objectives and activities. There is also the proposed method of evaluation for the course.
The course design is reviewed by the Project manager(s) and SMEs before the course development occurs.
Full development begins only after the client has approved the course design – outline, performance objectives, activities and evaluation. Each lesson will contain the objectives, activities, evaluation and feedback. Instructional designers use the blueprint, “course design” to build the content for each lesson. It’s the trainer’s job to bring the objectives, content and activities to life with motivation, articulation and excitement.
Review, Review & More Review…
After development, it’s the job of the SMEs to conduct a thorough review of the content. This is to ensure the content is technically accurate. It is the job of the instructional designer to take the information gathered and delivery it in a user –friendly, non-technical style of writing. The SMEs will double check the content makes sense and is giving the correct message. On a different level of review, editors must check for grammar, spelling, formatting and style consistency.
Before course roll out, a pilot takes place with actual learners. This is a chance for the trainers and client to review the course one last time before its implementation to the participants, department or even company wide audience.
This is an integral part of the development process itself. It allows the development team – including the training specialists, SMEs, instructional designers and instructor, to gather feedback from actual participants in a real world setting.
Some questions and topics to keep in mind while running the pilot include:
Revisions and fine tuning of the course continue until the entire development team signs off and everyone is in agreement with the final product.