February 2, 2015

Universities, with their ever-increasing emphasis on graduate degrees in Instructional Design, are having a dilatory effect on corporate training.

Higher education has a place in preparing our next generation of trainers and instructional designers. Theoretical understanding is important. However, when it comes to teaching “templates of learning design,” graduate programs in instructional design seriously misdirect their students.

Cookie-cutter solutions are never the answer. Every training initiative challenge undertaken has specific — not, generic — solutions.

Templating (either by the organization itself or by the purchase of a vendor’s templated offerings) will not achieve desired outcomes.

You may create, or purchase, such a course — but, you will not provide a solution.


Because each training initiative you undertake must be tailored to both the trainee population demographics and the specific skills necessary for performing a specific task!

That means knowing the learning culture of your trainees; the specific jobs assigned; and, the specific skills required to perform those jobs.

Therefore, it is critical to focus training where it will have the greatest effect on performance. Using needs assessment and task analysis techniques, you can identify the greatest opportunities to improve performance through training.

Today, rich on-line skills assessment tests are readily available which will help you specifically target the “learning gaps” within your employee population, making it possible for you to design specific solutions while eliminating much of the waste in traditional training regimen —- the “one size fits all” approach.

In addition, you must constantly be cognizant of the fact that about 40% of America’s workforce do not comprehend anything written above a 4th grade reading level —- a fact that should lead you in the direction of media-based learning solutions.

In order to be successful, a training initiative must become a specific solution (packaged in a media-rich environment) that can be successfully implemented within the existing challenges of your organization. That will, most often, include a skills gap analysis of the population to-be-trained; the specific tasks that must be accomplished; and, the specific skills required to perform those tasks.

The so-called “templates of learning design,” taught in our universities, will not do that!

More on Wednesday – – –

— Bill Walton: co-Founder, ITC Learning
(Mondays & Wednesdays)