How Instructional Design Can Meet Your Training Needs

By Jonathan Susser | February 26, 2018

Are you looking to train employees or educate customers or stakeholders on a new program, energy efficiency measure or technology? If so, the time-tested approach to training known as instructional design may be ideal for you.

Instructional design is an internationally recognized training process. Its roots stem from the intersection of adult learning principles and the need for training on a massive scale during World War II, when soldiers needed to be trained quickly and efficiently. It was later applied to high-stakes emergency services, such as the police and medical industries, and is now the gold standard within information technology fields. Having demonstrated its effectiveness, it continues to be refined and applied to new industries throughout the globe as it becomes even more fluid and learner-friendly. Industry leaders are specifically asking for instructional design and implementing training standards that increase the use of adult learning principles, leading to more relevant trainings focused on solving real-world problems.

One of the most popular historical instructional design systems is the ADDIE model, which consists of five phases: analysis, design, development, implementation and evaluation. The ADDIE model provides a logical flow to creating a training solution and can be adapted for quick training prototypes or high-stakes trainings delivered many times per year. No matter the approach, though, the goal of instructional design is always the same: transfer new knowledge, skills or attitudes from a training environment to a real-world environment.

“The Advanced Energy team consistently exceeds our expectations in designing and delivering top-notch, industry specific trainings to support our Duke Energy programs.”

– Mark Otersen, Senior Product and Services Manager, Duke Energy

Instructional design’s systematic process documents the needs and motivations of both the project champion and training participants. From here, solutions – whether they be in-person trainings, webinars, e-learnings, etc. – are built outward to align with various stakeholder expectations.

An instructional designer guides subject matter experts in utilizing adult learning best practices and works closely with a project champion, who usually both funds and provides criteria for a training’s success. The instructional designer documents business and training goals and then teams up with the subject matter experts to provide a learning solution designed to meet big picture goals.

The bread and butter of instructional design is the design document, which is a blueprint that can be as comprehensive as needed. It typically includes the project champion’s goals; desired outcomes of the training; a description of the target audience; analyses of available resources, current processes and motivations; an outline of how the outcomes will be measured; and an overall training agenda. Similar to how a home’s blueprint makes it easier to alter the design of a kitchen compared to doing so mid-construction, this training blueprint is an ideal place to make changes to training design before the final product is built.

“My experience working with Advanced Energy in delivering training programs has always been very positive and productive. They understand our organizational needs and deliver a comprehensive and impactful package that produces positive results for our program stakeholders we are engaging in the market place.”

– Tim Carter, Energy Efficiency Program Manager, Georgia Power

No matter the topic or audience, the place to start for ideal knowledge transfer and behavior change is instructional design. With its easy-to-use process and application of adult learning principles, instructional design produces results that last long after the training solution is delivered. Furthermore, the components are well-documented, and the materials can easily be updated and adapted for future use. Let us know how we can help you or if you are interested in more information. One of our experts would be happy to help walk you through the process.