Being an Instructional Designer I’m always looking for ways to make the learning programs more effective. In 30 years of designing and enhancing learning experiences, I have found four key tips for ensuring a better learning program:
STRUCTURE: A structure to design and develop your program will bring new efficiencies to the design process. Whether you are designing for face-to-face facilitator-led, e-Learning; virtual facilitator-led training; or some sort of immersive learning like AR or VR; remember to structure your project with a model like ADDIE, SAM, AGILE, or any number of structures that lead to efficiencies for program development.
You can save time, resources and budget dollars by spending 40-60% of your time analyzing and designing before developing your program.
ANALYZE: Avoid jumping straight to development of the project. Make sure to analyze why the learning program is needed, who will receive the learning (audience), and how improving employee performance will impact the organization’s goals. Then outline the program and share it with key stakeholders, end-users, and other team members who will be involved in the development process. Gather feedback, revise your design as needed, and create prototypes to share ideas before heading into the development process. You can save time, resources and budget dollars by spending 40-60% of your time analyzing and designing before developing your program. It’s all about avoiding rework!! Get it right the first time.
One thing to ensure engagement is to provide at least 50% of your program time to learner-centered activities.
ENGAGE: Look for ways to engage the audience. One thing to ensure engagement is to provide at least 50% of your program time to learner-centered activities. Presenting new information should not be more than 10-15% of the program agenda. Keep those lectures to a minimum. Allow participants to take control of their own learning through experiential activities. Choosing learning methods like a game, case study, field activity, or a problem-solving-encounter provide an opportunity for the learner to take charge of their own learning. Being engaged and taking a leadership role causes a deeper learning experience and transfers back to the workplace much quicker.
The more visuals you can provide for the learner, the more memorable you will make the content being presented.
MULTI-MODAL: Avoid the use of screen presentations as the main learning program. If you have to use this media then make sure to use fewer words and more visuals to enhance the learning experience. Remember that the screen presentations are meant to enhance the written and spoken word, not be the word. That being said, the more visuals (but not necessarily screens) you can provide for the learner, the more memorable you will make the content being presented. This applies not only to face-to-face programs, but also asynchronous (self-paced e-Learning) and synchronous (webinar) programs. Rule of thumb for any slide is four by four. No more than four words per line. No more than 4 lines per slide. Use a font size of at least 32 to allow for proper viewing from the back rows.
Here you have four of my favorites to share with new designers and developers of learning programs. There are so many more great tips. What are your tips for designing and developing the best learning programs?
Want to be a better learner? Check out Four Ways to Improve Your Learning Process – A Learner’s Perspective.
Are you ready to create an engaging learning program? Contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Barbara Greenstein, Senior Instructional Designer at Epsilon Systems Solutions, Inc. is a Performance Improvement Specialist providing proven and creative ways to improve human performance in the workplace. Highly regarded for her instructional design and facilitation skills, with over 30 years in the learning and development field, she helps clients put the systems in place to more effectively manage in today’s changing business environment while ensuring optimal performance and job satisfaction for all employees. She received her M.A. in Human Resource Development from Marymount University. Barbara is a Certified Performance Technologist (CPT), from ISPI.