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Instructional Design for the “Real” World

Fri, April 22, 2022 2:56 PM | Nancy Curtis (Administrator)

As I interact with my ATD colleagues and read ATD publications, I realize that my specific job mission is an anomaly within the larger instructional design community. Unlike many of you, I don’t develop materials to support learning within my own organization.  My company, Logical Operations, is more like a textbook publisher, but for commercial technology training rather than higher education.  That is, we create and publish curriculum that we then sell to thousands of schools, colleges, and commercial training centers worldwide.  Those organizations use the materials to deliver the instruction to their customers in turn.

This means that what I create must: be marketable to those training-delivery organizations; appeal to their customers; meet the needs of a broad population of instructors whom I will never meet or interact with; and address the expectations of a diverse population of authentic learners from thousands of organizations all over the globe.  And – oh by the way - it has to make money. 

I call it:  “instructional design for the real world.” We’ve been successful at it for close to 40 years.  We do it by following three broad principles:

  • Instructor independence.
  • Product consistency.
  • Rigorous instructional design. 

Instructor independence means that our product provides everything an instructor needs to deliver a great learning experience.  Naturally, instructors are free and encouraged to add their own touches and modify the materials to suit their own style and requirements.  But our goal is that a piece of curriculum should work “out of the box” for any instructor with appropriate delivery skills and subject-matter knowledge. 

Product consistency comes from our robust and sophisticated authoring and publishing infrastructure. This structured framework encourages efficiency.  It also ensures that every course we publish, no matter the duration, complexity, scope, subject matter, or target audience, will have a consistent look and feel and a common set of features and resources.  Any instructor who has taught from one of our products should feel equally at home with any of our others; no need to decode the product anew each time you download a fresh course.

And most important, our rigorous CHOICE instructional design model is the scaffold that shapes and guides all our development.  CHOICE, created in conjunction with industry experts and field-tested in hundreds of courses, uniquely blends process model and design standards to ensure that proper learning principles are “baked in” from the moment we launch a project to the moment it ships. 

The CHOICE model is how we fulfill our mission to improve people’s lives through technical training.  We’re proud to be part of the learning success of so many organizations, instructors, and students. 

ATD Rochester

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Rochester, NY 14692

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