National Lazy Day: 5 “Lazy” Instructional Design Tips

national lazy day

Ever heard the phrase “don’t work hard, work smart”? It’s not about shirking duties or cutting corners, it’s about finding the most logical and efficient way to get done what needs to be done. 

Well, to celebrate today’s National Lazy Day, we’ve put together some “lazy” instructional design tips to help you work smarter, not harder!


Designing content for your courses is easily one of the most time-consuming tasks in the instructional designer’s “to do” list. Couple that with needing consensus and approval from an entire training project team and it can feel endless.

Storyboards can help cut down time spent discussing content, deciding what should go where, and the types of multimedia that will fill your topics and lessons.

Plus, storyboards are helpful for more than just content selection and placement. They can help you save time on deciding your course:

  • Structure
  • Duration
  • Flow
  • Assessment placement

And team collaboration becomes a breeze. Decisions can be made early on without getting into the weeds and provide much tighter direction for content design and courses building.   

2. Templates

Templates are particularly useful for training teams who are consistently creating similar courses or updating existing content. Creating and storing templates for these scenarios can save hours of development time.

Your templates can be as basic or as detailed as you need them to be. For example, creating a microlearning course template where all you have to plug in is the learning objective, content, and assessment can help to churn out courses quickly without compromising on the quality of your instructional design.

3. Prioritize

When training projects are piling up, how do you prioritize what should be done first?

Having a streamlined prioritization process can help ensure that you’re spending your time as wisely as possible. It can also help you assess whether a course is really necessary, or if an update can wait another few months while you deal with more important tasks first.

Take a look at your training intake process and see if there is an opportunity for “tagging” training requests and new projects according to standardized priority labels.You and your team will soon be spending less time discussing what to work on next in meetings and more time sending new courses out for your learners.

4. Beg, borrow, steal

Is it absolutely necessary to spend hours in InDesign or Articulate for every piece of content? Or can you source pre-made media from elsewhere?

Whether it’s graphics, videos, images, or animation, identify some tried and tested sources for existing content. Of course, sometimes you won’t have an alternative to creating the content you need from scratch. But there are plenty of opportunities to embed existing videos or incorporate premade graphics into your design to save you time.

Not only that, creating a content repository can help you gather useful pieces of content throughout the organization that may be suitable for use in your learning experiences. You can use the same pieces time and again or make small adjustments rather than starting over every time.

On that note, what about sourcing the entire course from elsewhere? For more “out of the box” scenarios such as basic sales know-how or compliance training, find some vendors and assess their off-the-shelf courses. That way, you can focus on training that is specific to your organization and focused on driving performance.

5. Why start from scratch?

If you’ve been creating learning experiences for a long time, chances are that very little of your course library is completely brand new every year. Updating existing courses is a large part of the L&D remit. 

But even if a new need for training is surfaced, jumping straight to starting from scratch on a new course isn’t alway necessary, or even efficient.

Take a look at existing courses, content, and even outside courses and content and see what exists that you can either piece together or incorporate into a new course. This is especially prudent if you already spent a significant chunk of budget on existing courses with fabulous content. If it works for one purpose, who’s to say it won’t do just fine for another?

So, happy National Lazy Day! Here’s to finding the quickest, easiest way to create learning experiences without compromising on great instructional design. 

Want to save time and heartache while working with SMEs? Don’t miss this webinar!

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National Lazy Day: 5 “Lazy” Instructional Design Tips