An instructional designer tasked with solving a ‘training problem’ in a business environment is often actually being asked to solve an operations-learning-technology problem. The instructional issue is often just a partial subset of a bigger challenge.
Lack of a long view may result in challenges partially solved, frustration for both ID and stakeholders, and failure. Realizing this, I deliberately spent time as a software business analyst to add the business analysis to my skill set and broaden focus.
In the project discussed here, nurses at a children’s hospital were justifiably reluctant to leave care of sick kids in order complete required instruction in front of a learning management system.
While we all have to take continuing instruction, one can hardly fault these dedicated staff for wanting to spend more time with their young charges than with often roundabout and relatively time inefficient e-learning.
The solution we devised was to shift small incremental skills updates into performance support rather than formal instruction, and track this activity via a learning record store rather than the more traditional learning management system route.
In this way nurses would be able to get the information they needed on the fly, maintaining the highest standards of patient care, and regulators would have the necessary legal paper trail.
The best solutions to performance challenges are often not instruction, rather performance support or other interventions. Keeping an open mind and starting with business analysis can result in time and effort saved and better interventions.