Home > Business, eLearning, Freelancers, General eLearning Design, General stuff, Instructional Design - General, Instructional Designers > Focusing on the experience rather than the “product” – so why do IDs focus on “training” all the time?

Focusing on the experience rather than the “product” – so why do IDs focus on “training” all the time?

Steve Jobs focused on the Apple “experience” rather than the product – you can see a GREAT YouTube video here that shows this.

In the same vein – why do Instructional Designers seem to focus so much on the “course”, and the “training” – rather than the REASON we spend all our hours producing all of this content?

I had a discussion earlier this week on “An Ebola Course”. But for me it was not “…an ebola course”, it would be online content that saved lives. This is a mind-switch.

I would LOVE to see a forum or group of IDs have “No Training Words Week“, where – just for a week, just 7 days, we NEVER used words like “training”, “course”, “authoring”, “quiz”, “test” or ANY of the other “learning’y” words.

Could we/they do it?

Could we get through ONE working week with nothing but discussions on VALUE, or workflow, or profit/loss, or process re-engineering, or risk, or profit, or production or technique or re-financing, or loss, or problem-solving, or creativity.

Is it really too hard? Those are the words our customers and clients use in THEIR daily lives.

Try to talk the same language your customer/prospect/client uses – do you even know what language they DO speak?

Freelancer Instructional Designers – take a risk, sometimes it guarantees success rather than putting the next invoice at risk! Take up that flag of professionalism, but become a “business pro”, not just a “training pro(vider)”. It makes sense doesn’t it?

That mind-switch can be hard, and sometimes, your prospect, customer or client does not want it – but that is no reason not to TRY it. You owe it to yourself don’t you? If nothing else you certainly owe it to your profession.

  1. m.
    October 29, 2014 at 2:43 am

    i don’t publicise this much, but because i deeply subscribe to this view of not running around looking for nails just because you’ve a hammer in hand, i disagree with and dislike tool evangelism. as an instructional designer, my approach really HAS to have a better basis than “articulate will let me do these things”. meh!


    • October 29, 2014 at 8:31 am

      Hi, and thanks for the comment – but I am not really clear on what you are trying to say here.

      An evangelist for a tool, (for example – me and Articulate) does not have to believe it is perfect, sometimes only that it is a good, or the best starting point.

      Also, as Tony Buzan once taught me over a series of meetings, sometimes I should look at my preferred hammer and ask “What COULD it be used for, apart from hitting nails”, (hence my Articulate Storyline website, which while unconventional has served me admirably for 4 years).

      As an ID, neither I or my clients have unlimited resources of any sort, sometimes you need to evangelize as a start-point to an engagement, which then may, or may not become an opportunity, and a paying job.


  2. m.
    October 31, 2014 at 2:28 am

    ah sorry, i should clarify. the impression i have is that you use articulate a lot, but your focus is still on the learning need. you appear to look at the best way in which you can make articulate serve a purpose. the definition of the purpose is before the choice of articulate or any other tool. i was referring to the mindset where the problem framing itself happens only within the implicit or explicit choice of the already-embraced tool.

    i think in the latter case, what happens is that the ultimate methodology is no longer about the learner’s needs, business needs or nature of the content, but rather about the training developer’s constraints, preferences or business agenda. that i think, is a disservice to the profession because it sacrifices the best design choices to tool expediency, to the learner because again, it’s not about the learner as much as the development tool, to the organisation because the best solution is in danger of being overridden by the trainer’s business needs.

    i see the use, expertise and exploration of a development tool as different from evangelism of a chosen tool. in the former, you also consciously retain the awareness of the limitations of the tool and are ready to consider other options (other tools, face to face training, etc) whereas in the latter, your hands are tied. a pre-defined position is assumed and defended for every learning need.

    i hope that clarified things, and would like to also offer apologies for any inadvertent misunderstanding caused. 🙂


    • October 31, 2014 at 7:05 am

      Thanks for clarifying. I think IS a hard business, because at the end of the day you cannot be an expert in all tools, and freelancers therefore have to decide what they learn. As you say though, being true to what we SHOULD be doing means you also have to potentially suggest tools other than the ones you know, thereby losing an invoice. It’s a bit of a tightrope sometimes.


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