Many Training Experts cringe at the thought of someone that is not trained in course/instructional design actually designing training material.


Because good instructional material doesn’t just happen:  It is designed and developed (according to good instructional design practises).

Where to Start?

One colleague pointed out:

“… experts typically don’t start with what they want students or workshop participants to KNOW or to be able to DO as a result of a course or individual lesson.”

This is more than just being goal oriented. AND it is more than being learner/audience centered as discussed in “Can you teach like a trained Professional? The ONE and ONLY Question.”

Instructional design considers the knowledge and experience base of the (typical or intended) audience. Think of this as a “starting point”. Considering the intended end result (in terms of the learner’s knowledge or skill base) of the session, appropriate instructional material is developed. (These “goals” are typically referred to as learning objectives or outcomes.)

Design to Illuminate

The instructional material created may take many forms: lecture, discussion, exercise, etc. However, it is KEY that the material, regardless of form, is at the appropriate level.

Have you ever attended an introductory course, which started out with introductory concepts and then delved into the depths with some technical how-to?  Well, I have. I thought to myself, “…how did that happen? Where am I? Did I fall asleep in the ‘101’course and wake up in the ‘301’course?? WHAT were they thinking??”

Good instructional design LIGHTS UP an IDEA. It brings the idea to life. It allows students/learners to “see”, to “grasp” ideas, concepts and skills and apply/perform them.

If the material is at an inappropriate level, it can either turn off your learners OR leave them in the dark. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

Can Subject Matter Experts design good Instructional Material?

It depends.

The ultimate goal for this blog is present some ideas and concepts that will illuminate those that aren’t professionally trained teachers/instructors or instructional designers.  I hope I am able to shine a light on some strategies and techniques that they can put into practise.

As one colleague put it,

Not all SMEs want to be a designer, or better yet–not all SME’s can be good designers.”

Stay tuned until next time when I give you an alternative to designing instructional material yourself. You can follow me by going to the right hand side of this page and signing up for a free email subscription to this blog.


Flickr Creative Commons Image by DeaPeaJay