Back to basics: starting a new instructional design project

Getting answers to these questions will save you valuable time and money.

A lot of hard-earned expertise in instructional design involves juggling information in the analysis and design ADDIE stages. Although the first three stages Analysis-Design-Development appear linear, they often aren’t, and instructional designers have to manage unknown and vague information even before starting a needs assessment.

Here are some tips on information to gather before starting, why it’s necessary, and how it feeds into analysis and design.

  • The “who” includes the project client, SMEs (Subject Matter Experts), and end users. Don’t assume that the person requesting the training is the client. The client pays the bills and has authority over the project. SMEs validate the content with instructional designers and often have valuable information on end users to feed into a needs assessment.
  • The “why” is the business goal or need that creates the training request. The client is best able to answer that question. If there’s isn’t a business need behind the training request, training may not be required at all.
  • The “what” is the proposed training content. If the content is unstable, or not known, you’ll need to account for that in an estimate as that often requires more SME time and effort. You’ll also want to consider the resources to apply to a short-term or temporary solution.