How to get the most from your Instructional Designer

26 June 2019 | Sophie Tilley | ,

In the process of creating your next piece of e-learning, your Instructional Designer (or ID) is your best friend. They are the person who gets to know your company and your learners best, amalgamating what your business wants and what your learners need.

In my role as an instructional designer, I’ve taken a lot of steps to really understand the content I am working on. From creating huge content maps with clients over several cups of coffee to actually qualifying for my VHF radio operator’s certificate, it is important to me to get the best possible understanding of the material we will be teaching.

However, the courses I create would be nothing without client input, working closely with you and your subject matter experts to really get to the heart of your learning requirements. When starting to work with your Instructional Designer, there are several things you can do to hit the ground running.

Know what you like and what you don’t

As ID’s it is our job to be creative and imagine concepts that bring your learning to life. However, it is always useful to have guidance and if you can point us in the right direction it helps us hit the mark. So, if you have seen other courses, websites, or books you like the look of, let us know. If it’s something that exemplifies the delivery style and subject matter we’ll be covering that’s great, but even if it’s just a style of art you like, or don’t like, it all helps us to build the best possible picture of what you want.

Focus on your content

You may know your subject matter inside out, but remember, your ID won’t. It really helps if you can give us a clear idea of which sources of information we will be using to create your course. It’s even better if you can specify which bit exactly, looking through one hundred pages of on boarding materials can take time. Have you provided us with all the documents we need, and are they the most current versions?

If the content itself doesn’t exist, can you identify other sources we can use to draw key information from? Perhaps you have subject matter experts that can meet with your ID to map out the content for your course.

 Think like an ID

It can really help to use a programme like PowerPoint to plan out the structure you think your learning should take. It is also useful for streamlining your material. Imagine each slide of a presentation is one screen of learning, what topics will we need to explore and in what order? Each slide should be roughly 150 words, which is roughly the limit for one screen of learning. If you can organise your content in this way, it will help your Instructional Designer create the best possible interactivities and ensure that your learner has an easily digestible experience.

Be open to challenge

When we work with subject matter experts, we recognise that you are very close to the details of the course, often having spent hours working on content. We know it can sometimes be difficult to hand over control of your content, but don’t panic. Instructional Designers are there to help you make the most of your content and most importantly, to engage your learners. Any suggestions we make are based on our experience and understanding of learning theory, which we apply to make your course the best it can be. Your ID is a fresh pair of eyes that can bring new life to your content, often seeing it from a completely different perspective.

These simple steps will really help your ID get to grips with your content, helping them to create the best possible experience for your business and your learners.