Being an Industrial Trainer working for a community college, I am frequently asked to provide instructional design and training to address specific problems for my clients. Not being “educators” these clients know what the problems are, but not the necessary instructional pieces required to address the learning and skills needed to meet those challenges. I usually spend sufficient time with clients discovering specific information so that I can write a proposal or scope of the learning project. The Project Proposal / Scope will become the document that defines what the finished product will be.
In my initial proposal for client consideration, I keep the learning outcomes specific to the declared problems but leave vague the instructional methods to be used. My proposals always include a statement concerning the necessary client input in every step of the development / training process. Wishing to keep my options open, I also suggest possible delivery methods to the client (Face-to-Face, Computer-Based, Live & Interactive Distance Learning, etc.).
I find that by engaging clients in all aspects of the instructional design process (asking for input, clarifications, and critiques), clients are not surprised at the finished product nor are being asked to pay for something they didn’t want. Clients who may have been vague about what the learning content will look like, should recognize it when they see it.