Awareness of Weak Design = Delivery Excellence

What’s the difference between an instructional designer and an instructional deliverer, aka, an instructor?

It’s kind of like the difference between an architect and a realtor.  A good realtor can make a badly designed house look good… they can sell it despite the leaks in the roof, whether by skillfully placing buckets below the leaks, or better yet, by turning those leaks into “water features.”

For this reason, in the corporate training marketplace delivery talent is more highly prized — and developed — compared with design talent.

Reflecting on my own career development over the past few years, I’ve noticed that the more I learn about instructional design, the better an instructor I become. One of the less-obvious reasons for this is because I can now more quickly and easily recognize when I’m working with a weak design (or an audience-mismatched design) and not be thrown-off by it or try to “defend” it when the learners challenge it. I know which pieces to salvage and which pieces to discard.

Another analogy: If you understand how your tools and equipment are constructed, when someone gives you a faulty piece of equipment to work with, you can more easily and appropriately compensate for it, apply the correct patches and so forth.

More importantly (and perhaps more obviously), becoming a good instructional designer means really really really (yes, really) understanding adult learning principles… assuming you’re designing for adults.   Having those adult learning principles deeply ingrained in your thinking will come in very handy when, as a instructor, someone hands you something half-baked to deliver.

Ultimately, it is always always always (yes, always) about matching the performance goals with the learner and context analysis and synthesizing those into specific learning objectives.  What it is NOT about is the learning materials, instructional media or, least of all, the assessment.

Keep your roof water-tight and let your realtor take care of the rest.


About danspira

My blog is at: My face in real life appears at a higher resolution, although I do feel pixelated sometimes.

Posted on February 22, 2011, in Instructional Design, Learning and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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