Instructional design basics for creating online training
If you’ve ever gone looking for ways to create better online training, you may have come across conversations about instructional design.
While this may be a new term for you, you’ve actually done a form of instructional design every time you teach someone new concepts or how to do something. At its core, instructional design (or “ID”) is the art of making it easier to learn something new. It’s the process of sharing important information with your audience in a useful way.
There are several different ID approaches, but you don’t need to be an expert on them to start building better online training. Here are five principles that offer food for thought while you’re creating course materials:
Understand your audience
This is the most important step in the process since you’ll be making important decisions about your training based on your audience. Consider how they work and what they care about so you can make your online course really relevant to them.
Build your course for that audience and their needs
Use the insights you gather to create training that will have an impact. Think through what skills you want your audience to master. Then, make sure all your training content supports those takeaways. Trying to cram in too much information can cause your audience to lose focus—and keep them from learning.
Present new information in an engaging way
Delivering your message isn’t just about writing well—though that helps! It’s also about deciding what information to share and how to order it. As you build out your course, think about how the content flows and where you can be clearer.
Once you’ve decided on your course structure, you’ll want to layer in media and interactions. See if there are spots in your course where you can invite your audience to engage. For example, let’s say you’re building customer service training. Using a video to show how an upset customer might act is more compelling than writing a paragraph describing the scene. And it’s sure to make a list of tactics for de-escalating the situation more meaningful.
Tie new information to what your audience already knows
Whenever you can, build new information and skills on top of what your audience has already mastered. That will help them feel more confident. It also helps contextualize new information so that your audience is more likely to apply what they’ve learned right away.
Give your audience a chance to test their skills
As you’re building out your training materials, be sure to give your audience an opportunity to test what they’ve learned. People learn from their mistakes, and online training offers them a no-risk space to grow from failure. Rise makes it easy to create quick quizzes and track your audience’s progress as they pick up new skills.
Now you know enough about ID to create more effective online training courses. We’ve covered ID at a very high level—there’s lots more to dig into if you’re interested!
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