AOE #2: Instructional Design; 2.1 Driving Strategy for Business

Introducing Area of Expertise (AOE) #2: Instructional Design; 2.1 Driving Strategy for Business: How does the instructional design process contribute to employee development and organizational success? In what ways do instructional designers help the organization reach its business goals and objectives? (AOE 2. Instructional Design; 2.1. Business Strategy and Drivers) Connect with the podcast host on Twitter: @laurapasquini Or LinkedIn: Are you studying for the CPLP? Want more learning & performance ideas? Subscribe to the pod for the next study session:

The Area of Expertise (AOE) #2: Instructional Design refers to the “designing, creating, and developing informal and formal learning solutions to meet organizational needs; analyzing and selecting the most appropriate strategy, methodologies, and technologies to maximize the learning experience and impact.” This section is weighted 13-14% of the exam; 20-21 questions

A skilled workforce is one that has a competitive advantage that enables the organization to adapt, change, grow, and innovate. Talent development professionals who are savvy instructional designers (IDs) contribute directly to the business strategy and organizational goals. In AOE #2, we will focus on the following key knowledge areas:
  • Business strategy, drivers, or needs associated with possible  learning solutions
  • Need assessment approaches
  • Research methods, including informational scanning, data gathering, and analysis
  • Content knowledge or techniques to elicit content from subject matter experts
  • Learning theories
  • Instructional design theory and process
  • Various instructional methods
  • Various delivery options and media
  • Existing and emerging learning technologies and support systems
  • Individual learning modalities
  • Individual, group, and organizational differences that influence learning and motivation
  • Assessment methods and formats
  • Legal and ethical issues related to instructional design
Crossover in this chapter will be with AOE #3 Training Delivery and AOE #6: Managing Learning Programs, specifically the section on Legal, Regulatory, and Ethical Requirements. Roles in this area might be called: instructional designer, course designers, program designer, designer, instructional developer, eLearning specialist, or curriculum development specialist. There are so many more names--see my presentation “Who Designs Learning Today?” 

A few books I might refer to or mention in this area of expertise:
2.1. Business Strategy and Drivers

Learning Objective: Describe the value and purpose of understanding the business drivers that identify a need prior to designing the learning. 

Like other areas of your organization, talent development requires investment for your employees to encourage more production, sales, output, customer satisfaction, and more! If your professionals are being developed and engaged, it will increase the bottom line. Aligning goals and objectives of the company to instructional design, will allow you to justify the need for talent development professionals within your organization.

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Link Talent Development and Instructional Design to Business Drivers
Business drivers are internal and external forces that direct and influence the organization’s strategy, goals, business needs , and performance goals. Business drivers are often resources, processes, or conditions that are essential for growth and success of a company. The learning design and goals should be linked to these business drivers and strategies that might include:
  • Reducing expenses
  • Generating revenue
  • Building employee engagement
Design to Meet Business Requirements
Similar to the AOE #1 Performance Improvement (specifically Section 1.3. Business, Performance, and Gap Analysis and Section 1.4. Root Cause Analysis), you want the instructional designer (ID) to focus on designing learning that develops objectives, materials, instructional methods, timing, and participation that is related to focused business needs and requirements. This would include assessing the session length, cost of development, media needs, learning activities, the environment to learn, how to have participants practice skills, and more. To meet these business requirements, you will need to ensure that participants are prepared to learn and the ID meet the goal expectations by:
  • Ensuring the design incorporates steps prior to the learning experience that prepare participants for what will happen
  • Clarify with management what the participants are expected to do differently or better, and how this aligns to business goals
  • Identify what action management will take to support changes after the learning event, such a reinforcement and feedback
  • Design support in the form of both hard copy and online materials that can be used after the learning event
  • Ensure That participants know how their efforts will affect business goals
  • Be certain participants know what is expected of them and how they will be held accountable
  • Clearly identify the trainer’s role in support and follow-up
  • Be sure participants know how they can find assistance following the learning event
Design to Achieve Strategy
IDs and talent development professionals needs to understand the business to align learning with organizational goals. Practitioners developing learning and training can upgrade skills and knowledge for strategy by:
  • Providing services that support the organization’s business strategy
  • Learning to measure results or relating results to other internal measures
  • Becoming educated and educating others in strategic planning
  • Finding opportunities to serve on cross functional teams
  • Reviewing relevant documentation e.g. strategy/corporate plans
  • Working with leaders in other departments to learn about their problems and needs
  • Learning more about the industry by reading journals or checking the internet
  • Learning about the competition and how has the competitive edge
  • Staying abreast of the changes the organization is facing and anticipate the kind of support it will need
  • Determining how the organization is viewed externally and what customers say
  • Developing specific measurements for all courses or programs
  • Framing questions to be certain that all issues were considered in linking training to organizational business strategy and drivers
Note: More will be discussed in AOE #6 Managing Learning Programs; Section 6.1: Business Model Drivers, and Competitive Position in an upcoming episode
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