“Intellectuals solve problems, geniuses prevent them.” Albert Einstein
Instructional design-time guidelines are one of the keys to training project planning. A common industry standard used is a range of 25-60 hours (or days) of design/development time for one hour (or day) of instructor-led training. Of course, this ratio varies by delivery strategy. For example, in e-Learning, the ratio is higher (75-500:1). In spite of this standard, a consistent comment you hear from participants in a design workshop is “I wish I had that much time!”
As their expertise lies elsewhere, management and sponsors do not necessarily have a background in training. Therefore, their expectations on how long it takes to design effective training may be unrealistic. As trainers and employees, we are very solution-oriented. If someone asks us if we can roll out training by a given date, our answer is often, “Yes! Of course, we can.” But anyone familiar with all the parts of the Instructional Systems Design model (ISD) or Analysis, Design, Development, Implementation, Evaluation (ADDIE), knows there are many time-consuming steps necessary to design training that will be well-received by the learners and result in performance improvement.
How do we get the time necessary to put solid training together?
Here are three suggestions:
- Track organizational historical norms. What instructional design-time is typically allowed within your organization to design training? If a requested deadline falls well below the historical ratio, it certainly would indicate a discussion or negotiation point.
- Track results. By tracking the design-time that has gone into projects (both successful and unsuccessful), you may be able to link success to the resources, and more specifically, the time devoted to a project.
- Educate stake holders. Be proactive. Reach out to managers, decision-makers, and potential sponsors. Let them know what is involved in a design project and how much time it typically, or ideally, takes. Take advantage of the following opportunities:
- The Classroom: Offer to speak at new-manager training courses.
- Staff Meetings: Offer to make a brief presentation.
- Company Newsletter: Offer to write a short article.
The bottom line is, we will try hard to meet deadlines when addressing a training objective, but better organizational results will come from more generous organizational resources.
The organizational resource that should be at the top of the list? Time!