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Keeping Instructional Design Simple – Learning Objectives for the New Year

1/26/2015

In my first attempt at this, my first blog post, I immediately lost sight of the objective – keeping it simple…

Most of what I have learned about instructional design over the years I can sum in a few words: keep it simple. In concept, this might seem straightforward, but in fact, the road to effective instruction, regardless of the delivery method, can be anything but simple.

I found that in order to make my instruction effective, I have to build it on a solid foundation. This includes determining the end task, or tasks, or knowledge that the job requires of the learner, writing clear and instructionally measurable learning objectives to meet those requirements, limiting instructional content to that which is required to meet the learning objectives, and providing means for the learner to demonstrate their knowledge and/or skill acquisition. It also helps when I can make the training engaging.

When I started developing training, I was doing so for topics in which I had a good deal of expertise and I was easily derailed into writing content that was nice-to-know, but did not really support the learning objectives, which inevitably seemed to be crafted to meet the content. Now, I start with a solid learning objective and I make sure that everything I put into my training content either directly supports the learning objective, or is foundational knowledge or skill that is required to support the content that in turn meets the learning objective.

In short, one of the most important things that I learned about instructional design was to write specific and measurable learning objectives. I avoid vague language in my objectives such as “know” or “understand”, replacing them with direct language such as “state”, “describe” or “demonstrate”. By using direct, measurable language, I know exactly what to include for training content, and the learner knows exactly what to expect in the training.

Keeping it simple, one objective at a time…

Posted by Robert England, Content Specialist, Epicor University

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