Instructional Design for Content on the Go!

Most corporate training is for employees who have performance gaps.

How do you best describe a performance gap?

A performance gap is the difference between an expected output and an actual output. A detailed analysis will reveal several factors for the same.

Often, the most common and most overlooked factor is the employee’s inability to perform on the job and deliver a measurable output.

Training courses to reduce performance gaps also address skill areas, which influence an employee’s performance on the job.

How would we design the best eLearning to address performance gaps?

At one extreme, we create simulations where the user enters a virtual environment and simulates the entire job task to understand how to optimize his/her performance. Another way is to create simple branched scenarios with decision points, which will help the user identify actions and consequences. Both of these are treatment options that usually require Flash and a high graphical output.

Now, with HTML5 or mobile delivery platforms, these approaches become critically inapplicable. Thus, as instructional designers, we need to innovate and suggest an instructional approach to address similar content for mobile and new technology platforms.

If your target learner is in the field, such as a salesperson, or takes the course as a certification, then he or she will tend to be more comfortable using a smartphone, tablet, or other portable computing platform. Most of these do not support high-end flash runtime environments. So, how do we create exciting content for these platforms?

The idea is to engage the user while he or she is on the move. Keep in mind, the user is accessing learning in a possibly highly distracting environment.

We have to deliver content “nuggets” which a learner can view and interact within a span of 15-20 minutes or less.

We not only have to engage the user, but also deliver retention-value content.

Let’s explore options with entertainment value and higher retention?

Our Options

Short videos

Audio podcasts or Audible

Text based content nuggets with low-end graphics or no graphics

Comic based applications

Small learning games


Comics with minimal graphics are another exciting approach. They are shorter, have conversation, context, teach value of scenarios and are continued on a daily basis. Dexter and Calvin and Hobbes are examples of the same.

Can we provide a simulation without Flash and yet make it engaging?

The art of theatre has been low since the popularity of other media. The drama form is the best simulation that we have witnessed over the eons. Can I create a small drama to address my audience? The instructional designer can create a script, with characters and storyline, to record as an audio podcast or short narration video.

More and more, instructional designs need to adapt and innovate with their approaches to learning and deliver with it new tools and new technologies.



Karuna Sanghvi is Instructional Design Practice Lead at MRCC.  She currently operates her own blog, Design Gyan, at  This blog entry was originally published on Design Gyan on 12/27/11.

Be Sociable, Share!
  • more

    Leave a Reply