I recently attended a Broadway musical that relied heavily on audience participation. It was such an interactive and engaging experience, that I’ll never forget it! It got me thinking about how audience engagement is a key element for both playwrights and instructional designers.
Creating engaging training can be a difficult task and it’s easy to focus on designing the materials first; however, that can be a “tragedy” in the instructional design world. So, how do we create effective training that engages our learners right from the “opening act?”
A solid instructional design process is essential—it gives you a step-by-step procedure you can rely on for creating quality courses whether you’re a new or experienced instructional designer. The ADDIE model can be broken down into three phases or “acts” that will ensure your design process targets learner engagement and creates a Tony award-winning course!
Phase 1/Act 1: Planning & Analysis
Begin by conducting a task analysis. This process identifies the sub-tasks and steps required to perform a task, and becomes the teaching points for the course.
Phase 2/Act 2: Design & Development
Start by designing performance-based application exercises that give the learners hands-on practice. Create presentations that give them the chance to interact with the content—avoid long periods of lecture or data dumps.
During this phase, you’ll want to match the best methods of instruction to the content and learner’s needs. Putting your learner’s needs center-stage allows you to make design decisions that consider their success during the training, resulting in job performance improvement.
Just like a Broadway production has a balance between songs, dialogue, and acting, a successful training session needs to have a balance of Presentation, Application, and Feedback or PAF. Ideally, you want to create courses that consist of ⅓ presentation, ⅓ application, and ⅓ feedback. Adhering to this format gives learners the opportunity to actively practice and successfully apply the new skills they’re learning.
Phase 3/Act 3: Implementation & Evaluation
Before you roll out your course, make certain it includes the best practices of adult learning principles. These principles, developed by Malcolm Knowles, remind us that adults share certain characteristics that make training more effective for them. Incorporating these principles into your training ensures learner success and engagement.Adult Learners…
- are self-directed
- come to training with a wealth of existing knowledge and experience
- are goal-orientedwant training that is relevant
- want training that is task-oriented
- learn when they see “what’s in it for them”
- want to be respected
Conduct a Tony Award-Winning Review:
1. Does my content contain step-by-step procedures that are aligned with the objectives? Is it lean, containing only the “need to know” content?
2. Does my training follow the PAF guidelines for presentation, application, and feedback?
3. Does my training incorporate the adult learning principles?
By validating your course design through these lenses, you can assess whether your course objectives are met, and if the training is also meeting the needs of the learners. Use these strategies during your next instructional design project and your audience will be sure to ask for an encore performance!
What other tips do YOU have for designing training that addresses learner engagement? I’d love to read more about them in the comments section below.
Interested in more instructional design strategies? Check out Langevin’s Instructional Design for New Designers workshop. If you focus more on course design for the virtual classroom, our Instructional Design for the Virtual Trainer workshop can help!
Hello from sunny Orlando, Florida! I’m Dawn Lang. I grew up in the Midwest (Iowa, Wisconsin, Missouri, Kansas, and Nebraska) and raised my two daughters in Colorado. My passion for teaching started in third grade and I’ve never looked back!