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New Year: New Instructional Design

by Tracy Bissette on January 6, 2015

Instructional Design in the New YearI’m a big fan of Pinterest. I love scouring the site for interior design and instructional design inspiration as well as the occasional recipe (I don’t cook much). While browsing the site yesterday, I came across a New Year’s Resolution poster that suggested ways to improve in 2015. Being very goal driven, I quickly jotted down responses to each of the prompts for my personal life and then realized that it also pertains to my work as an instructional designer. I’ve shared below my own New Year’s resolutions for improving my own instructional design in 2015. Please share your 2015 Instructional Design resolutions below this post.

Break a bad habit

Shorten, shorten, shorten. This is my mantra in 2015. At the outset of a project, we’re often given PowerPoint documents with “all of the content” that needs to be in the course. That PPT may, and often does, contain hundreds of slides. I’m a fan of action mapping because I find it to be a great editing tool for e-learning. In 2015, I commit to editing my work until each and every component is essential to teaching the skill. As Dr. Seuss said “So the writer who breeds more words than he needs, is making a chore for the reader who reads.”

Learn a new skill

One of my big takeaways from DevLearn 2014 in November was how many non-e-learning tools are now being used in the creation of learning solutions. In 2015, I want to learn at least 10 new tools that can innovate, enhance or add pizzazz to my learning solutions, starting with all of the many tools that Adobe has to offer and we already have in our toolbox.

Write something important

Instructional designers are in a position to have a great impact in the world. Weejee Learning has had the fortunate opportunity to design learning solutions on many different topics and with quite a few NGO and non-profit clients. While I consider all education to be important, there is one specific project that I’m really looking forward to in 2015. In January, Weejee will begin working with the world’s largest humanitarian organization fighting hunger worldwide to create a course to train staff on food security indicators, which informs the organization on geographical areas of highest need. This topic is important to a great many people around the world.

Take a risk

Risk-taking is about experimenting. This year, I will remain chronically curious and experiment further with taking the learning beyond the module. As my business partner, Ian Huckabee, often says “Learning is getting chopped up and splattered everywhere.” I commit to taking advantage of the full learning ecosystem in an organization, planting seeds of learning in company discussion boards and Yammer accounts, “moving learning closer to the point of performance” (Bryan Chapman, Chapman Alliance), leveraging Talent Management Systems, implementing blended learning approaches, and coaching organizations on the learning possibilities of xAPI.

Take a stand for someone who can’t stand up for themselves

As I design solutions in 2015, I vow to always hear the voice of the learner in my head. To know the true motivators for learning the new skills, to value their time, to make it relevant, and to make learning as convenient as possible. Create a learner persona and see the learners in action as much as possible. It’s important to hear directly from the learners as you design the solution and observe the learners as they engage with your prototypes. One important goal of instructional design is to help each learner achieve career success.

A new year opens up all kinds of possibilities for new instructional design. I look forward to pushing the boundaries of learning with you!

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Angela April 7, 2015 at 8:03 am

I too am a Pinterest fan/addict who scours the site for inspiration. I’m also a fan of integrating technology into the classroom. The digital age is an era of amazing opportunities. Sadly, much of our current education system is lead by technologically challenged digital immigrants (at best) and unable to provide cutting edge learning tools for our digital citizens.


Jun May 28, 2015 at 8:04 am

Great thoughts. Thank you for sharing.


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