Instructional Design

Posted 15 January 2011 by

Model for designing adult learning

One of the typical methods of performing instructional design for adults uses the ADDIE model.

  • Analysis. Know your audience. Define the behavioral objectives or outcomes for the learners. Determine the options and limitations. List the project milestones.
  • Design. Document the instructional, visual, and technical strategy. Determine how to reach the objectives for the cognitive, affective, and psychomotor domains. Create a prototype.
  • Development. Create the course.
  • Implementation. Teach the course.
  • Evaluation. Determine if the objectives were met.

While I have experience as a high school teacher, my adult instructional experience has been involved mostly in web-based training. Adult learning in the workplace is not necessarily about teaching critical thinking, particularly for web-based training. It is about learning a task or process needed in a job. Enter a prospect in the CRM (customer relationship software). Send the sales contract to billing and shipping. Change prices for a SKU (stock keeping unit). Complete the TPS report.

I joke about the difference between what a high school teacher does and what adult instruction does. Along with teaching facts, a high school teacher has the responsibility to encourage the higher level skills found in Bloom’s taxonomy of educational objective for the cognitive domain. On the other hand, teaching adults is like teaching concrete operational skills to children in the lower grades. After we finish laughing, the person to whom I am talking realizes there is some truth behind the joke.

Adults are busy. They have job responsibilities. It was a problem arranging time for the class. To quote Nike, just do it.

Creating a web-based course

Using technical writing skills, transfer knowledge from the subject matter experts to instructional content. The biggest problem is the definition of what the learner should be able to do when finishing the course. When asked, the typical response is something like “know how to use the software.” Knowing how to use the software has never made a dime for a company. Instead, knowing how to use the software (as a tool) to complete an activity that generates money is what counts. Changing from “using the software” to “completing a task with the software” is normally the hardest part of creating a web-based course.

Using video tools like Adobe® Captivate®, an instructional video can require the learner to become an active participant in the class. Enter responses. Pick choices. Lather, rinse, and repeat to reinforce the learning. Assess the learning. Gather feedback.

Using HTML tools like Adobe Dreamweaver®, the instructional videos can be a part of a complete package. For example, using style sheets, I once coded a web page with a in plain text procedure and an instructional video to print the procedure using the required Boeing proprietary and copyright markings without any of the web page chrome or video placeholder.

Using editing skills, the course uses consistent and appropriate language and branding. It communicates to the learner. It looks like it came from your company. It saves support costs.

Contact Possession Sound Technical Communications, LLC, to find out about instructional design services.

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