Bringing Instructional Design To Life: Lessons from 5211

This course has been challenging and has definitely changed the way I approach a training project. Early learnings came from systematically going through several rounds of analysis and needs assessments with the client. Although I do some needs analysis in my current role, I was missing out on the opportunity to gather critical information early in the project. By implementing some of the analysis questions from the course text and by seeing what we missed between the analysis and the development phase with our client for this course, I now have a pre-prepared assessment tool that I am confident will yield better results on the job.

The other lesson I learned over the past several weeks is that you benefit by sharing often and early with the client. When we did meet with our client, she was very forthcoming, provided great input, and was able to answer questions we had about the process. The problem was we did not meet with her often enough nor did we share developed content until we were very near the end of the course.  I think our course would have been even better if we had time to incorporate the client’s refinement requests. As it is, our course is good and meets all the requirements, but it may be looking the corporate look and feel the client would have preferred.

The biggest take-a-way from this course for me is learning more about using an LCMS. In my current role 90% of the content I develop is online, self-directed training for managers. I create the courses in DreamWeaver using HTML, CSS, XML, and Java script. Although we have some templates available to us, the process of creating everything outside an LCMS is time consuming and it is easy to make mistakes that are hard to find. For example, today I had to go through lines and lines of code looking for one missing <tag> that was preventing one element in my module not to work. I finally found the error, but lost half a day. Working in Canvas has shown me the benefit of using an LCMS where you can use built-in widgets and WYSIWYG interface to create training content. I also like that in an LCMS you can repurpose content and you can create workflows to help guide developers through the development process.

All in all this has been a great course and worth all the time and effort it took to create the final project. I want to give a special acknowledgement to my peers in team Corporate. Without the help of Cheri and Greg, I would not have made it through this course. And that is another lesson learned. It is easier to collaborate on large training projects and leverage the strengths of each individual team member. In our case Greg was the Canvas guru, I was the organization and documentation queen, and Cheri became a great subject-matter-expert for one of the primary content areas.  Thanks team!

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