When one hears the term, “instructional designer,” what do we normally think?

Someone well versed in creating effective instruction for a specific set of students or workers?

And, what does one think about the connection between a higher education degree and an instructional designer?

Higher education has a place in preparing our next generation of trainers and instructional designers.  Theoretical understanding is important. 

However, far too often, our colleges spend too much time emphasizing shared-information applications that can seriously misdirect their students.

So, what should these colleges accentuate?

They should know that 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 creation) will not work.  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 the specific skills necessary to adequately perform a specific task!  And, that means knowing your workforce demographics; 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. 

By 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.  They 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 (“one size fits all”).

In order to be successful, a training initiative must become a specific solution that can be successfully implemented within the existing challenges of your organization.

The bottom line is that you need to design your training initiative from the ground up.  And that includes 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.

Higher education could do a much better job with their “instructional design” candidates if they’d emphasize these practical steps-to-learning alongside the pet theories they currently embrace.

More on Wednesday  –  –  –

  — Bill Walton, co-Founder, ITC Learning

  February 27, 2017  (Mondays & Wednesdays)



(This is a personal blog.  Any views or opinions represented in this blog are personal and belong solely to the blog owner,, an independent consultant.  They do not represent those of people, institutions or organizations that the owner may or may not be associated with in a professional or personal capacity.)