Lately, I’ve been hearing a lot about learners that come to the classroom just to “check the box,” or get credit for course attendance, rather than to actually learn. It’s the classic intrinsic vs. extrinsic motivation problem we should address in any course design.
However, it’s gotten me thinking… there seem to be quite a few “check the box” instructional designers. You know who I mean… those individuals, teams, or entire organizations that are happy to simply deliver whatever the manager, client, CEO, or heaven-forbid CLO asked for. Assembly-line training development might be alternate way of describing this.
To these instructional designers, I suggest reading a recent blog post by Seth Godin. Then reflect on your last project and ask if it was Worth It.
The thing about effort is that effort is its own reward if you allow it to be.
Instructional design provides an opportunity to never stop learning. I’ve learned about topics I’ve written training for: sporting goods, project management, construction, leadership & professional skills, procurement, and so much more. I’ve developed skills in coding, design, UX, photo editing, graphic design, etc. I’ve tested multiple approaches for most of my tasks and learned when they’re appropriate to use.
I owe all of it to being curious and asking questions. What problem will running shoe training solve? Does the learner need to know about types of nails in order to provide hammer advice? How will writing a 5 page status report improve project performance? Since we don’t have the budget for a graphic designer, will you approve IT to install Gimp on my machine?
Don’t just check the box on your projects, strive to make them meaningful. I encourage you to put all of yourself into projects. Like everything else in life, you will only get out of something what you put into it. Make it worth it.