Instructional Systems Design

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Instructional Systems Design (ISD) is all about identifying and meeting learning needs. Every ISD model I have ever seen ascribes to this simple-yet-complex concept.

Given this, I am quite mindful of avoiding jumping to a learning intervention before I know who the learners are or where they will be learning. I work with people (Subject Matter Experts, stakeholders, teachers, students, and others) to determine who the learners are and what their needs are. Furthermore, I always try to take into account the “human capital stream” that’s always a part of any instructional design project.

Taking the time to figure out who your stakeholders are and what their needs are is critical. If I am good at my job, it is because I am a pretty good listener.

From there, I put on my Human Performance Technology hat and figure out what the actual performance objectives are. What will the learner be expected to do at the completion of the learning intervention? From there we’ll work together to figure out what the best learning intervention is – Instructor-Led Training (ILT)? Web-Based Training (WBT)? A little of both? Or would a simple job aid, website, or video meet the need?

As an instructional designer and developer, I’m well versed in understanding how instructional components fit and work together. Each system is different and takes time to understand. No part of a system lives in a vacuum – everything connects. The only way to really understand this is to develop relationships of trust with major stakeholders in the system and work with them to identify and meet true learning and performance needs.

If it doesn’t meet the need, I’m not really interested in doing the work required to make a learning intervention. Furthermore, any true learning intervention should have a measurable impact on productivity and provide a return on investment because it is, in fact, meeting a learning need.

Instructional design and development is hard work. Let’s work together to make it meaningful and improve your bottom line.