I recently created this simple instructional design storyboard template for an online course design project I developed. The template includes all of the essential information needed to begin designing an online course module. Feel free to add this template to your own Google Drive account and modify it or tweak it to your liking.
Recently in my Instructional Design course, I was asked to incorporate the lessons I’ve learned so far in order to refute a CEO’s decision to cut back on investing in staff training for a fictional organization. During a synchronous session, the CEO of the organization questioned the value of the company’s previous training methods and also dismissed the value of employing an instructional designer. The CEO believed that investing in annual training seminars was not a cost-effective solution for training staff members on how to increase their sales of the company’s products. I was asked to persuade the CEO into reconsidering her position by arguing the following points:
Training is a worthwhile investment;
Instructional design makes a critical difference in the quality of training;
Senior sales representatives may not be the best trainers; and
Cost-effective training methods exist that can be effectively developed and deployed in the corporate environment.
Below is my argument posed to the CEO of Insurance Co.
Convincing the CEO.
Cost Effective Training Methods Do Exist
Dear Mrs. CEO,
We all know that there are no guarantees to boosting sales and confidence within your sales staff through expensive seminars and in-house training. However, this may be imparted by the lack of a necessary and crucial component with respect to designing effective quality sales training. Investing in employing a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) to develop sales training materials would be a cost-effective and beneficial solution for your organization. Logistically, training seminars may not be the most cost-effective and productive means for training sales staff within your organization. With the recent launch of two new products and 14 satellite offices around the world, online synchronous and asynchronous methods of mediating sales training may be a more cost-effective and efficient way for reaching a broader number of sales staff. With an online method of training, it would solve the issues of logistics, timing and accessibility for more sales team members; providing the infrastructure for online mediation exists. Creating online content, training materials and setting up a technologically compliant network system will also be costly. However, it may be a cost-effective solution for future training and on-the-job training that could be utilized by all of your junior and senior sales staff. Training will also need to be set in place for senior and junior staff to learn the new online mediated tools. Support for this online system will also need to be considered and costs for this solution will be incurred. With the above online requirements stated, essentially a customized Learning Management System (LMS) will need to be created, developed and maintained to suit the needs of your organization.
Instructional Designer’s Make A Difference
It would be wise to employ a Subject Matter Expert (SME) in the insurance sales field and an Instructional Designer (ID) to create, develop and organize a plan for successful sales training within your organization. ID’s are agile and great collaborators. “ID’s understand the needs of the business, sales staff and training. They would work seamlessly with SME’s and upper management to provide the best training results from your staff. ID’s are generally responsible for getting a project done on time and within budget – without alienating the client or the project team” (Stein, 2015). Using Bates’ (2014) ADDIE model, an ID would ensure that the content for training is analysed so that the right amount of content is covered in each module of the training sessions. They would make sure that the training is logically designed and fluid so that the learning objectives are met with the appropriate use of materials and technology. ID’s would also ensure that the training provided is developed and implemented in a way that ensures the content is accurate, complete, clear and accessible for the participants of the learning environment; while paying close attention to utilizing qualitative and quantitative evaluation methods. Using the ADDIE model would suit the needs of the organization as it is tailored for the design and development of large groups and members within a learning environment.
Senior Sales Representatives May Not Be The Best Trainers
While there is no guarantee of increasing sales from either face-to-face or online training methods, involving a Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) who are knowledgeable of the latest technology and aware of cost-effective solutions for sales training would be highly recommended. With respect to all senior sales staff within your organization, we cannot assume that successful senior sales staff have the capacity and tech savvy skills required to develop and deliver effective sales training to your domestic and international sales team members. Senior sales members would be obliged to collaborate with marketing teams, sales departments and upper management—domestically and internationally—to ensure that they are knowledgeable of your newly launched products and future products. The cost of training senior staff to deliver effective sales training would also need to be taken into consideration.
Training is a Worthwhile Investment.
Training is a worthwhile investment. Whether it is through face-to-face seminars or using a blended online solution that includes synchronous and asynchronous methods of delivery. Investing in a qualified Subject Matter Expert (SME) and Instructional Designer (ID) will make a difference in the quality of training provided to your junior and senior sales staff members. As mentioned in our synchronous meeting, you stated that “Hopefully, the training by experienced sales staff will bolster the confidence of the sales team members and finally give us the boost in sales we’ve been looking for” (CEO, 2015). We cannot assume that because your senior sales staff are qualified to effectively sell your products that they would be the best candidates to effectively train and instill confidence in your sales team members; domestically and internationally. Rather than offload this responsibility to your senior sales staff, please reconsider investing in quality training for your future. Considering your latest expansion and future developments, it is advised that you invest in training through an online Learning Management System (LMS) that would be curated by an experienced SME and ID to provide quality sales training throughout the year to your sales force. Sales staff would be able to access training tools at anytime, anywhere in the world at their own convenience. Once the LMS and content has been fleshed out, you may then consider delegating successful and capable sales staff members to train sales members on how to work the LMS and how to share quality content using the online training tools. Incorporating online sales training within the organization should eventually become a more cost-effective solution to maintain overtime, which would meet the needs of your organization’s long-term goals.
This week, we began our fourth course; Instructional Design. We are currently exploring the history of instructional media as it pertains to how instruction is presented to the learner. We were asked to read Reiser, R.A. (2007) chapters 1–3 and discuss which topics caught our attention in regards to the development of instructional media over the past few decades. It was pretty interesting reading through how the various innovations in technology were used to standardize, package, and efficiently deliver training to large numbers of people. For our weekly discussion, we were asked to reflect on two or more of the following questions after familiarizing ourselves with the resources and reading s provided:
What caught your attention this week? Why?
What was surprising? Why so?
What was exciting or inspiring?
What do you think the history of the field has to teach us?
Based on the history of the field, what are your hopes for the future?
Do you see anything in our materials that you want to examine in further detail, perhaps in your own time or in a thesis project
Below are my reflections on what I found exciting and inspiring within the readings and what my hopes are for the future of instructional media.
What was exciting or inspiring?
After reading Reiser’s (2007) discussion of the history of instructional media and the history of instructional design, I learned more about the performance technology movement, the increasing interest in constructivism, and the growing use of online instruction. What I found exciting was the history of instructional technology over the past 100 years. It seems that the technological advancements within media communication was closely linked to education. Moving from photo slides to audio and then blending the two to create motion film to deliver visual communication was intriguing. I didn’t know that the motion picture projector was the first media device used in schools. I always assumed the first form of media used in schools would have been in the form of audio. It was interesting to find out that the motion films used for instruction in schools were not accompanied with audio when they were first introduced. It would have been akin to teaching and learning from an old Charlie Chaplin film.
Thomas Edison (1913) proclaimed that books would soon be obsolete in schools. he claimed “It is possible to teach every branch of human knowledge with the motion picture.” This could be true of why we saw so many adaptations of novels and books turned into movies.
Even today, we are experimenting with various ways to pair the technology that we have in order to communicate with a mass amount of people around the world. It’s amazing how the computer—in combination with the internet—has allowed us to communicate in all of the ways that were once used previously. Nowadays, the internet has provided so many possibilities for online communication and training. In the late 90’s to early 2000’s WebCT launched and allowed the creation of online courses to be developed and spawned the development of Learning Management Systems (LMS), such as Blackboard. This helped create online content and make online instruction accessible. Learners can now communicate with instructors and peers through email, live chat rooms, video conferencing and audio casts from their personal computers and even mobile devices. I’m excited about combining the technology that we currently have to help create new ideas of facilitating instruction with media. There are so many possibilities that we can utilize and so much more that we have yet to see grow into it’s full potential.
Based on the history of the field, what are your hopes for the future?
There are many advancements being made in Machine Learning/Artificial Intelligence (Ai), and integrating the iOT (internet of things) to create and utilize interactive data that can be used to enhance the human performance technology movement. My hope for the future is that these advancements will not only be used for enhancing the productivity of humans but will also have an effect on the way we transfer knowledge and educate people around the world. We can now use mobile computing to deliver live visual and audio data via podcasts, stream live video to multiple devices for video conferencing, utilize cloud computing to provide real-time productivity tools, and simulate real-world environments via VR (Virtual Reality) devices to help individuals learn adapt and experience multiple training environments.
The big question is how do we get all of these wonderful tech solutions to be used within our current learning environments? While going through the readings, most of the technologies used in the past fell short of being implemented for long periods of time due to their extreme costs and maintenance. It’s safe to say that our technology is relatively cheaper to attain than it was decades ago. My assumption is that governments, institutions/organizations, and tech companies will need to figure out how to monetize the use of instructional media technologies so that they can be adopted within our classrooms. The use of technology has to be affordable, easy to maintain and easy train individuals who use the technology. However, it seems that the costs incurred to implement the technology within institutions far outweigh the return on investment. Institutions pay large fees to licence software and purchase hardware to integrate the use of technology within their learning environments and organizations. Along with a solid infrastructure, Google Apps For Education (GAFE), Blackboard, and mobile devices such as iPads made by Apple, Android and Samsung are all viable solutions that allow educators to deliver instruction using various forms of media. These solutions make it possible for instruction to be transferred to a large number of people through various mediums. My hope is that we will be able to afford and implement instructional media technology faster and more frequently in order to provide quality education for learners of the future.