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When senior leaders fail to grasp the importance
of instructional design, their organizations’ training and development
initiatives face sizable stumbling blocks, finds a new study from the
Association for Talent Development (ATD).
Instructional design (ID) has become a critical element of
effective organizational learning programs. ATD joined with the Institute for
Corporate Productivity to survey more than 1,100 instructional-design and
training professionals from organizations of all sizes in a variety of
industries. The results were published in Instructional Design: A New Age of Learning and
The survey quoted researchers at Utah State University to define ID:
“Instructional design is a technology, which incorporates known and verified
learning strategies into instructional experiences, which make the acquisition
of knowledge and skill more efficient, effective and appealing.”
While most of the survey respondents reported
that ID has become an essential element of their organizations’ learning and
development efforts, they also said there are still many challenges to making
instructional design more efficient and effective in their
The study’s researchers also found that
instructional designers don’t rate the success of their efforts very highly.
Only slightly more than half of participants in the study reported that their ID
efforts had a positive impact and helped their organizations achieve business
Senior leaders who don’t fully understand how ID
can support their organizations’ learning initiatives and rapidly changing
technology posed two of the biggest challenges to the effectiveness of a
company’s learning initiatives, respondents said.
When senior leaders’ understanding of ID and
efforts to keep the technology and learning tools up-to-date coalesce, ID
initiatives can reach their full potential and benefit every person in an
David Berz, head of instructional design at
LinkedIn, commented in the survey report that ID programs that reach this full
potential are much more effective in creating an organizational learning
It drives “a better learning experience. In my
group, we call ourselves the learning experience team because we don’t believe
in just designing a training course or a workshop,” he said. “We’re trying to
create real experiences for people—to meet them where they are. So they aren’t
just taking training, they are actually living it, experiencing it and being
excited about it.”
Bill Leonard is an online
editor/manager for SHRM. Follow him on Twitter @SHRMBillLeonard.
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