5 Signs You Should Invest in Instructional Design

Ask anyone who develops or delivers training and they will tell you that training does not solve all your performance problems. Sometimes a performance issue is related to something else like your incentive program, the corporate culture, personal motivation, and corporate leadership style.

If you’ve eliminated all these other performance hurdles and have decided that, indeed, your employees need training to step up their game, an effective training program should raise performance levels.

After you’ve determined that training should solve your problems – and it doesn’t – perhaps you need to go back to the drawing board and look more closely at the training you’ve developed to figure out why it isn’t effective. Yes, first look at the content to make sure you are sending the messages that you intend. But beyond examining the content, look closely at the way you have designed the training because often it isn’t the content that is the problem. The real problem might be the instructional design wrapper that you are using to present the content to your employees.

Here is a checklist of 5 signs that you should invest in instructional design.

  • Your employees’ work products are still not acceptable after training.
  • Your training modules and classes are inconsistent and follow no template or pattern.
  • Your business is still losing money or customers, and you are still getting complaints.
  • Your employees don’t enjoy your training.
  • Your employees can’t pass tests or assessments on the training material.

The Value of Solid Instructional Design

A well-crafted and instructionally sound training program can correct performance deficits and eliminate any of the problems listed on the checklist above. Here’s how.

First, an instructional design plan will assess your training delivery needs, including the best way to present the type of information you want to teach. Some material is best presented live, some skills require role play and practice, and some material is best presented on demand at the learner’s leisure.

Second, strong instructional design will ensure that all your training materials follow a similar structure using proven adult learning principles and strategies. Your training will have internal consistency that you can only get from following proven ID methods. Also, tests will be incorporated and presented in a way that validates and reinforces the learning.

Third, a credible instructional design plan starts with defining educational goals tied to desired performance. Learning objectives are chosen using appropriate verbs selected from Bloom’s Taxonomy that will accurately describe performance outcomes.

Fourth, a good instructional design plan builds a program that is not only applicable to the knowledge, skills and attitudes you want to teach your learners, it also is engaging and enjoyable for the learner. If they are bored or can’t stick with it, you are wasting your learners’ time. Gamification is one way to keep learners engaged and interested.

Fifth, a flexible instructional design methodology is built around achieving employee performance tied directly to business outcomes, including customer satisfaction, sales and revenue. 

When your training is built using proven instructional design principles, methods and strategies, you will have engaged learners, improved performance and a stronger business.

If you are failing in any of those checklist areas, go back to the drawing board and ask yourself:

  1. Is substandard employee performance a result of training deficits or is it something else?
  2. What are the skills, knowledge and attitude deficits that I can identify?
  3. What is the desired performance and how can I quantify and observe it?
  4. What types of training and assessments will most effectively teach and reinforce the desired performance?
  5. Have I designed my training around a proven instructional model – many people use ADDIE: Analyze, Design, Develop, Implement and Evaluate?

Yes, great employee performance is possible as long as you use the right tools. Remember that not every employee performance problem is a nail so it may not need the hammer of training. However, if you need the hammer, get the right tool for the job.

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5 Signs You Should Invest in Instructional Design