Suppose your child came to you complaining that they couldn’t see and their eye hurt. You realize they have a stick in their eye so you rush to the phone…to set up an eye appointment for glasses. Then you call school and ask that your child be moved closer to the front so they can see better. Finally, you offer them pain medication.
Ridiculous, of course! Any parent would take their child straight to the ER. And, excuse our over-the-top example, but it makes our point.
In the world of learning and development, our clients often act like the parent in this example. They miss the real problem in their organization—a natural reaction to crisis. But a reactive approach can lead to larger problems down the road. This is why Strategic Planning is one of our Five Elements of Excellence.
More than anything, Strategic Planning is key to the success of any project Inno-versity does. We, as the instructional design team, have the ability to step back and take a look at the big picture. When we do that, we are able to develop learning experiences on any project—regardless of how long we’ve worked with the client or how well we know them.
At Inno-Versity, we also work with projects large and small. For some clients, we do an occasional job; for others, we are deeply embedded in their organization and sometimes drive their entire learning strategy. The interesting thing we discovered is this: it doesn’t change our approach to strategic planning.
We hope that, whether you’re an instructional designer within an organization helping to set learning strategy, or working as an outside contractor, these questions will help guide you.
Here is the list of questions we ask, what those answers tells us about the organization, and what the learner may be thinking about the topic.
And this is only the beginning of the process of strategic planning. In our next blog post, we’ll explore specific steps in the process that may be helpful to you. In the meantime, consider asking these questions before you start your next project:
- What surprises you?
- How were you better informed from the beginning?