5 Learning Tips For Instructional Designers Το Pick Up While On Vacation
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5 Tips For Instructional Designers Το Deploy Even While On Vacation

1. Focus On The Adventure

For some work-weary travelers, a trip’s mission is to just chill by a beach or a pool. Other travelers may want to "see everything" or seek specific opportunities, including cultural, historic, or scenic sites. Maybe a mix of everything? Your goal may differ, depending on whether you are visiting a new location or returning for more adventures.

Consider what you want out of your trip. Of course, there may be a few surprises (pleasant and unpleasant), but having a plan can help immensely.

The Learning Link

Always target specific outcomes. To ensure relevancy, learning should be customized differently for new learners versus those who have already visited the topic and want to explore more about the subject.

2. Give The Big Picture Overview

On a recent trip, we used a combination of resources (TripAdvisor, Yelp, Travel Books) to come up with a rough itinerary. These tools helped us get the big picture and then drill down to details.

Printed and online maps provided a high-level overview of key locations and the distance between places. To customize our trips, we referred to guidebooks that summarized highlights including "best beaches" and "best hikes". I especially liked the books that listed the top ten attractions right on their maps.

As we traveled, we got help along the way from our friend "Waze", who made sure we got to our destinations, while avoiding traffic.

The Learning Link

Provide the lay of the land with Advance Organizers. These tools prepare learners for the upcoming learning experience, activate prior knowledge, and show how different components connect. Advance organizers may be presented in text, graphics, or multi-media. When you design your learning, you can refer back to these organizers. Ruth Clark refers to this as the Zoom Principle.

Always include performance support in your learning design to help the learner apply their knowledge and troubleshoot.

3. Explore The Inside Story

One problem with guidebooks is they dispense generic information, causing large groups to flock to the same places! To solve this problem, seek out locals. They may be friendly people you meet along the way, or in restaurants, hotels, and shops. Locals can tell which crowded places to avoid, the best time to visit a place, weather/beach conditions, and of course, where to eat!

Always listen to insider information. On one day of our travels, we left too late for a popular snorkeling spot and had to fight the crowds. On another day, we followed advice from a local and had A-HA experience, which we could not have found in a guidebook.

The Learning Link

Provide insider information from Subject Matter Experts. Think about who has worked in the trenches, and gather their knowledge in formal experiences (ILT, VILT, and eLearning) and opportunities for novices to learn from others through coaching, mentoring, and social media forums.

4. Use Experiences As A Springboard

What is the similarity between learning and travel? They are both excellent springboards for further research because they provoke curiosity, which leads to asking questions and seeking answers.

On a recent trip, we visited a World War II memorial. It provoked many questions, which led me to seek out a World War II book to read on the way home.

The Learning Link

Create new opportunities for digging deep. Learning deliverables at a minimum should provide the content to meet objectives. Go a step further by designing or referencing experiences that encourage more learning. Like all good performance support solutions, resources should be available within 2 clicks.

5. Find Opportunities To Capture The Journey

The highest level of Bloom’s Revised Taxonomy is 'creating'. This involves constructing, designing, or generating something tangible based on your knowledge.

When a travel experience ends, you are left with precious memories. Photo albums are a traditional way of documenting the journey. Travel diary videos are a fabulous way of combining different types of media.

The Learning Link

Encourage learners to document the journey. Here are some examples:

  • A commitment to change behavior could be documented in an action plan.
  • During an ILT, participants could be divided into groups to complete a project mirroring a real-life task.
  • At the end of a lunch workshop, participants can come up with a song based on their knowledge.
  • Employees who have just completed a milestone at a company can make a video for new hires sharing what they wish they had known when they first started.
  • An eLearning course can provide a template, which learners complete during the course and submit for final approval.

Wishing you happy travels and learning design experiences!

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