Instructional Design – Engaging and Motivating Learners

With limited user time, interest, attention and motivation, we (as Instructional Designers) are challenged to design and develop engaging, memorable, enlightening and ‘lively’ course content.

Our objective is simple – have learners connect, actively participate and get them excited about the content and method of delivery.

Whether a self-paced online course, virtual (web-ex like service), a video or audio recording or the traditional in-person experience; we need to design very targeted content that will inspire, and “quickly” enhance the skill set of our audience.

A few areas to consider when designing and delivering targeted content:

  • Who is the audience: IT, Sales, Marketing, Finance, R&D, HR, .… each of these groups value varied content and learn in different ways. Some are great at learning direct from text, some need video/audio reinforcement; others need a balance of both along with some context. Spend time with your client and potential – learn more about their learning objectives along with an approach that will work.
  • Apply “lessons-learned”: Always use experiential learning (apply concepts/techniques) to reinforce content. Use case studies, role play, scenarios, and assessments (e.g. knowledge checks) to ensure learner is using (new) skills and applying them to ‘real-world’ situations.
  • Methodology/Design Approach: Think as a “learner” – aim to inform, persuade, teach, engage and most importantly motivate and inspire. Always focus on establishing rationale for new learning; provide specific job function examples on how these concepts will be applied. Lastly highlight how these new concepts will benefit both the ultimate customer (internal or external) as well as the employee.

In addition, design using a mix of text, graphics, video, audio, examples, and assessments throughout. This will support “learning by doing” as well as provide a nice varied (design) approach to maximize engagement and maintain a high level of interest.

Module/content should be brief; plan to have the learner absorb the information quickly, apply to appropriate scenarios and reinforce through examples and relevant assessments. Aim to build upon previous topics as a “story” would continue to enhance your understanding of the overall learning goal.

Enjoy the opportunity to support others through learning with your inspiring design and words…


Sandy Becker

About Sandy Becker

Mr. Becker’s background includes experience in Instructional Design, Training Development, Assessment building and Project Management. He has worked in the Biotech, Pharmaceutical, Telecommunications, Financial Services, Manufacturing, and Broadcast industries. In addition, he has experience in Product Management, Marketing Communications, and Sales Management. Recently, Sandy has had projects in Instructional Design, curriculum development and online learning for a variety of organizations focusing on Leadership Development, Product, Sales, new hire and compliance training. Sandy has held roles in the Pharmaceutical and Telecom industries as Project Manager, Instructional Designer, Brand Manager and Sales Manager. Mr. Becker has been a presenter at a variety of trade shows, SHRM events, and industry conferences.

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