Canada Association of Tourism Employees

Studying Challenges Created By Tech & Solved With Educational Design

How instructional design solves common learning challenges created by tech

How has the diffusion of communication technology affected learning? The facts show that the established workforce learns new information very differently than their predecessors. Organization leaders, learner and development professionals, and individuals cannot expect today’s learners to interact with and ingest new information through drone lectures and in-depth PowerPoint presentations, even when presented through zoom or other video conferencing methods.

eBook release

The Future of Work: The Role of Instructional Design in Moving from VILT to eLearning in 2021

Learn how to convert classroom training and start an eLearning strategy based on solid ID methodology.

The paradigm shift

While these tools still have a basic use, most of the learners are no longer looking for one-stop sources of knowledge. Instead, your employees are used to accessing a whole network of resources. You can look through:

  • Podcasts
  • Youtube videos
  • Online articles and blogs
  • reviews
  • Social media
  • Online tools for file sharing

In short, learners are used to dealing with the world around them in very different ways. The change is a seismic paradigm shift in the way people process everyday information and a corresponding shift in the way we learn.

For example, mobile technology and the use of search engines have reduced the need for memorization. Instead, people expect resources to fill in knowledge gaps. In addition, communication between experts used to take weeks, now only minutes. Where visual aids and media used to be difficult to produce, anyone with a mobile device can create and access audiovisual resources anytime, anywhere.

The result is that modern technology has made education more accessible, but has also changed the learner, creating a shift that requires new methods of teaching design. Formal training and learning are less effective than on-demand performance support.

Instructional design and technology

It is time to harness our learners’ implicit ability to learn in a technology-driven world. This has many implications for the workplace shift to the digital environment. Instructional design best practices are required to make the transition successful and should be applied to engage with staff and build virtual teams.

When we take into account the fact that modern technology has endowed today’s learners with innate information processing skills that were previously unknown, we can shift our educational focus to the distribution of knowledge rather than the knowledge itself. Our interconnected professional networks and the ability to analyze data have created vast oceans of information available to us – we will run out of information in the near future. Such large stores of knowledge pose three different challenges when it comes to disseminating knowledge:


What knowledge or information do your employees need to support organizational priorities? What about individual priorities?


What is the most effective way to connect with a remote workforce and disseminate information in a way that supports the team’s purpose and mission?


How can we ensure that our employees have learned what they are supposed to learn?

We can meet all three challenges with instruction design and technology.

Instructional Design Methods to Engage Learners in the Age of Remote Work

When it comes to prioritization, we can focus on data collection and analysis with a strategic plan to use the data to improve the learning experience. Data mining through the needs analysis lens is the best way to use data, assessments, and other resources to make decisions about training solutions.

Approaching this process with a goal in mind, you can draw attention to data related to performance gaps or organizational challenges faced by employees. For example, if you’re looking to reduce employee turnover, data on the number of onboarding training courses employees are receiving provides a good insight into the direction your training should be headed. With a training program in place, don’t overlook the data collected from your users. Sitting time analyzes, progress statistics and participation rates are valuable tools for measuring the success of a training initiative.

Distribution methods

Once you have a goal in mind and gather data metrics, it’s time to turn your attention to the distribution. The methodology behind the sales effort you choose is more important than the knowledge you want to distribute. Establishing a safe, efficient pipeline of research-based methodologies for teaching design is the only way to get your expertise into the hands of your staff.

Each method of distribution has its own nuances, advantages and disadvantages. However, fully exploring the approaches and identifying the most appropriate method for your content and audience pays off in researching the best practices, time, cost, and effort involved in teaching design. For example, one distribution method that is becoming increasingly popular is the practice of continuous learning rather than individual training sessions. The practice is particularly useful for onboarding training because most employees do not reach their full productivity potential in their first year of work. Continuous learning enables learners to learn new concepts at a manageable pace.

In addition, the ongoing training offers learners numerous opportunities to discuss problems or learning barriers with their supervisors without appearing overly needy or giving the impression that they cannot solve problems on their own.

The importance of analytics

This interval training approach can be even more effective when combined with performance support measures that learners can access on the go. Modern technology enables us to quickly create searchable databases of information that may be beneficial to new hires who need assistance as they immerse themselves in their new roles. While timely and engaging training opportunities coupled with an on-site resource library are ideal for new employees, this technique works just as well for current employees who need to learn a new soft skill or refer to a practice that is not used frequently.

We can apply this knowledge based on teaching design methods in the following ways. As data analytics become easier to obtain and more robust, we can use this technology in our training programs to generate valuable information about our users and to measure the effectiveness of a given course. Data such as completion rates, exit surveys, participation rates and competence scores can easily be recorded with modern training programs.

Once this data is collected and sorted, it can be compared to success rates in related areas or to achieve specific goals. For example, if users have been offered optional web-based training to develop certain soft skills that will help them improve the effectiveness of their sales pitch, the number of employees participating in the training will only provide one data point. The employees who excel in the coursework can provide one more data point, and the employees who contribute information to their exit survey provide another one. This data can be compiled, analyzed, and cross-referenced to determine if the employees who took the training have become more effective salespeople.

Take the right approach

Given the technology available and available, choosing the technological framework for your learning solution can be a daunting task. It is easy to link relevance and effectiveness to the amount of excitement a particular technology receives, but not all technologies are created equal. After you’ve narrowed down your company’s needs and created a plan for meeting those needs, the next step is to choose a technology that does the best job. The ones most likely to put your learners on the right track are unique to your organization, but certain best practices still apply.

Download the eBook The Future of Work: The Role of Instructional Design in Moving from VILT to eLearning in 2021, discover the challenges of learning in a virtual environment and how you can use instructional design best practices to cost-effectively tackle them.

eBook Publication: AllenComm


AllenComm’s experts solve business problems with beautiful custom learning solutions. We bring creativity to the teaching design. We change behavior and influence decisions. We’re building a better workout.

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