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Instructional design: The foundation of all effective training


We've all experienced teachers that really know how to teach. They usually make the subject interesting by ensuring it relates to what the student does or will be doing. They often deliver the lessons in interesting ways and use a variety of techniques. These may consist of interesting visuals, possibly some hands-on time or an eye-opening experiment and a well delivered lecture that involves the student and invites them to learn more. Any teacher that delivers needed information to an audience in need of that information, and can make them understand, has spent time doing real "instructional design." Before that teacher began putting the lesson together for their intended audience they probably asked themselves two very basic questions:

  1. Is there a performance problem?

  2. Is that problem due to ignorance? In general terms the failure of an adult to accomplish specific tasks may be due to:

  3. Motivation

  4. Equipment

  5. Incentives

  6. Time

  7. Clear goals The only type of performance problem for which an instructional designer provides solutions is a lack of skills or knowledge. At its most elementary level, all instruction consists of these three steps.

  8. Presenting information

  9. Eliciting responses from the learner

  10. Providing feedback to the learner All three steps are required to achieve satisfactory results. VISTA Training employs all of these principals of teaching and instructional design in the development of topic specific training. Nearly all of our training programs have been developed in conjunction with the intended audience to determine what the real issues were that needed to be taught. Representative learners were involved throughout the development phase to assure relevance to the intended audience. The end products were field tested with different groups and learning results were evaluated to assure maximum retention of important points. It's a lot of work. But real teachers do that sort of thing and reap enormous rewards by watching their efforts pay off in improved performance, better safety records and measurable increases in productivity. We believe it's worth the effort. - Ray Peterson

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